Umpqua hot springs are accessible year-round, except it can be slow going and somewhat tricky in the winter when the trail is packed with ice. When the snow is really deep, it may be better to follow the shorter route over the bridge along the road to the recreation site. In the winter of 2008-2009, a boulder was placed on the far side of the bridge to restrict wheeled access. The foot bridge back over the river from the recreation site was still missing as of the spring of 2009. A log crossing with an attached board has been fashioned, but that may pose some risks when it is slippery and the river is raging. A safer and more scenic route is along the North Umpqua Trail through the forest. It is south facing and melts sooner in the spring than the road. It is also a great mountain biking route. You can also take a short hike down from Upper Mountain Meadow once the snow has melted to allow access. The area is right at the winter snow line. So, the winter access will depend on how recent cold storms have moved through the area. You should be able to get current information by contacting the Toketee Falls Ranger Station for the Umpqua National Forest.
The hot springs are popular and well-maintained. You can have it to yourself on most off-season weekdays, but expect to find other people enjoying the springs. Wayne, one of the people who routinely clean the pools, can be a bit nosey. But if you don’t want to share your name and life story, make it up! He’s usually gone in the summer. It is posted clothing-optional.
Check out nearby Toketee Falls and Watson Falls. After a severe winter storm in December 2008, the trail to Toketee Falls was closed and remained closed into 2009 until repairs can be made to make the trail safe again. Nearby Toketeee Falls Campground is open year-round and generally has sites available except possibly during summer weekends. There are some great sites with a few along the water, but no drinking water. It gets 4 bars of Verizon cellular covereage. So, it is a prime remote office location! There is plenty of other nearby camping in the summer. Although, it may be somewhat busy during the weekends and holidays. Nearby Diamond Lake is good fishing again after it was intentionally poisoned to remove invasive species and then re-stocked in 2006. Nearby Mt. Thielson (the lightning rod of the cascades) is easily and breathtakingly hike-able up until the last 1/2 mile of loose boulders and the last 60′ which should be a done while roped. There are also a lot of good hiking and mountain biking opportunities nearby Crater Lake National Park. So, why not take a couple of days off and check it out!
Watson Falls is a few miles up the road from Toketee Falls turnoff.
You can see the shelter at Umpqua hot springs just slightly off the North Umpqua Trail.
The hottest and clearest pool is behind the shelter and is about 108F.
The shelter is fairly pleasant. I think it would feel like you are soaking in someone else’s bath during a busy season as it is not real hot and the flow is very slow. Fortunately, we had it to ourselves on a nice sunny day and enjoyed the deck on our own.
The pool on the side of the shelter is a nice spot to catch some sun, but perhaps a bit cool otherwise.
Tell Wayne he needs to do a better job keeping the lower pools clean!
N43.29400 W122.36700, 2631′ elev