Willow Creek Hot Springs also known as Whitehorse Ranch Hot Springs is located in the isolated part of eastern Oregon, at the southeastern edge of the Alvord Desert. Nonetheless, it is still comparatively easy to find if you follow the driving directions provided below. The route to the historic Whitehorse Ranch is a good gravel road, but the final 2.5 to the hot springs is dirt and can become impassable during wet weather.
Many miles away from the nearest civilization, Willow Creek Hot Springs comes with two adjoining pools with crystal-clear blue waters. A refreshing oasis in the middle of nowhere, near the rocky hill, surrounded by the high-elevation desert plain, offers an incredible soaking experience allowing to enjoy picturesque views of the flat desert, bright low sky, and mountains ridges in the background.
Geothermal mineral water at 110-degree Fahrenheit emerges from the sandy bottom of the man-made pool. The pool is 14 feet in diameter and waist-deep (about 30 inches). A temperature averages between 100°F and 105°F, depending on air temperature and wind. Separated from the main pool by a dam, the second largest pool is receiving water from the main pool. The temperature of the largest pool is a few degrees lower and ranges between 85°F and 95°F.
Willow Creek Hot Springs with its depth and near perfect 102°F temperature at all times is an extraordinary high desert indulgence. Besides hot bathing, visitors can also enjoy some of the wildlife sightings like wild horses, rabbits, deer, coyotes, and pronghorn antelopes.
Free camping is allowed on the public BLM land around the hot springs, on a first come, first served basis but prohibited within 100 feet of the hot springs. The 5-mile hiking trail is excellent for long hikes, short walks, and wildlife viewing.
The best time of the year for these trips is from March until October when the roads are accessible.
In order to keep Hot Springs gratifying experience, be sure to pack out all trash.
Willow Creek Hot Springs | General Description
Location: Alvord Desert
Services: None except a vault toilet
Accommodations: Camping is allowed on BLM land, do not camp within 100 feet of the hot springs
Distance from the parking: Short
Road Access: Any vehicle when dry, a road can be inaccessible during wet weather
Day-use fees: None
Popularity: Low to moderate
Elevation: 4,495 ft (1,370 m)
Willow Creek Hot Springs is located:
- 34 miles east of Fields
- 60 miles northwest of McDermit
- 138 miles southeast of Burns
- 419 miles southeast of Portland.