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Alvord Hot Springs Ultimate Guide

Most travelers focus on the beautiful green coast of Oregon. Hardly anyone knows and reaches the remote Alvord Desert in Oregon. And even fewer people know that Alvord Hot Springs is in this wilderness, far from the beaten track, far from civilization. Alvord Desert Hot Springs is a hidden gem of Oregon. The road is long and challenging, but worth your effort. So, check out our essential tips on how to prepare for this adventure. In our Ultimate Guide to Alvord Hot Springs in Oregon Desert, you will find how to get there, and what to expect.

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Agnes Stabinska, the author, soaking in Alvord Hot Springs and admiring mountain view.

What is Alvord Hot Springs?

It is a geothermal spring located in Harney County in southeastern Oregon, on the western edge of the Alvord Desert, into which the spring flows and eventually evaporates. To the west of the springs is the Steens Mountain Range. Alvord Hot Springs lies at 4,078 feet (1,243 m) elevation.

The closest know attraction is Crystal Crane Hot Springs near Burns.

Two concrete pools offer a simple rustic structure, desert air & mountain view. When you are soaking in the hot pools of Alvord Hot Springs, you can feel the serenity and the spirit of the old days.

Our Experiences

My partner Chris and I spent the entire day lazily relaxing at Alvord Hot Springs during one of our Oregon road trips. We also had the opportunity to spend the night at a nearby campsite while traveling with a camper truck.

We were on an almost year-long trip around the US at the time. So, in this article, we share our observations and experiences; all photos presented in this article are ours.

rustic structure of Alvord Hot Springs in Oregon.

How To Get To Alvord Desert Hot Springs?

First, you need to know that Alvord Hot Springs is in the middle of nowhere. It is a remote area of the Alvord Desert. Moreover, there is no coverage most of the time, so you should take a good paper map or GPS. Before you go on the trip, fill up with gas; there are no services on the road for a long time.

You will find gas stations in Burns. Then, heading south from Alvord Hot Springs toward the Nevada border, you will stop at Fields. If you are in Burns, you should also stop at Crystal Crane Hot Springs.  

From Bend, it is 237 miles, and driving takes about 4 hours. Take US-20 E to Burns. Then, in Burns, turn Highway 78 (OR-78 E) until Folly Farm Road and take it south for 43 miles. This road turns into Fields-Denio Gravel Road. It is a dirty, gravel road, so be prepared for a slow ride.

If you are going from the south – from Fields, drive 23 miles north to reach the signed Alvord Hot Springs.

Even though the road is quite long and challenging, the views are fabulous. The Steens Mountain Range and the Steens Mountain Wilderness will run along one side. On the opposite side, you will have the emptiness of the Alvord Desert.

Agnes Stabinska, the author, in yellow sweater and red hat on the gravel road to Alvord Hot Springs with mountain view.

Alvord Hot Springs Rules


The place is the private property of the Davis family. There is a small reception with the store where you must pay for your visit. It’s open during normal business hours.
Day-use admission was $10.00 per person during our visit.
Children under 12 and all US Military – Soak Free.

Small General Store sells drinks, ice, bath towels, propane, and bottled water. There is also a restroom next to the store.

The Soaking Pools

There are two soaking pools side by side. They were built in the 1940s and modernized over the years. One is under a simple shelter, and the other is open to the elements.

Rectangular concrete soaking pools are 3 feet (1 m) deep. One is 25 by 50 feet (7.5 x 15 m), and the second pool is 10 by 20 feet (3 x 6 m).
All construction is straightforward & rustic, with corrugated sheet metal and wood elements.

The water comes out of the ground at 174 degrees F (79 °C) and gets cooled when mixed in the soaking pools. Both pools seasonally fluctuate between 100-110 degrees. The average water temperature is 105.0 °F (40.5°C).

Moreover, there are two pipes feeding water into the pools one is hot and one cold. So, you can control the temperature of the water to feel comfy. The smell of sulfur, characteristic of natural hot pools, is very delicate and does not interfere with soaking.

There is a tiny changing room with a bench where you can leave your belongings next to hot pools. There are also outside benches by the pool.

Clothing Optional Hot Springs

Twin pools are separated from each other with a sheet of metal and wood, so you can’t see your neighbors. But if more people come at the same time, you have to share the hot pool with them. Swimwear is optional.

It depends on you and others whether you want to bathe naked or in a swimsuit. Just be respectful and polite. We soaked naked and enjoyed the Alvord Desert and Steens Mountain view.

Be Aware of Hot Pools Capacity

The capacity of concrete tank pools is limited. One pool can fit 2-6 people. If there are more folks, it is worth waiting to respect other people’s space.

Keep Quiet & Be Open Minded

People want to soak themselves in hot springs, relax, and admire nature. So, everyone should respect the serenity, and no one should be too loud.
Be nice to other people. If you’re taking pictures, don’t photograph naked people.

Keep it Clean

Don’t use cosmetics in the pools. Even the biodegradable kind. Don’t use soap or shampoo. Natural springs and connecting waterways cannot support cosmetics. So respect this.

Leave No Trace

Respect this place and take away all your rubbish. Don’t leave any food waste, not even the banana peel. So, bring a trash bag and pick up left-behind trash.

What to pack?

Unlike Umpqua Hot Springs, there is no challenging hike here. There is a simple, flat path. And it will take you three minutes to walk from the parking lot to the hot pools.

So, remember a quick-drying towel. You don’t want to catch a cold after getting out of hot water into cold air, and there are large temperature differences in the desert.

Bring plenty of water to keep you hydrated. The water temperature in the pools can be 105 degrees Fahrenheit, so be careful not to dehydrate.

If you are going in autumn or winter, a thermos with hot coffee or tea will also be perfect when you finish your bath.

Pack extra dry clothes and an extra pair of dry socks.

Alvord Desert in Oregon.
Agnes Stabinska, the author, is soaking in Alvord Desert Hot Springs.
Agnes Stabinska, the author, in hot pools

Alvord Hot Springs Camping

If you want to find Alvord Desert camping, there is one next to the Alvord Hot Springs. It’s also private property. Campsites start at $50 per night. They have sites located close to the hot springs and throughout the property, allowing for a variety of settings.

Most of their sites are located in a level gravel area and include a picnic table and a fire ring. Thay can accommodate RVs (no hookups). Check more details on the official website.

It is an excellent idea to stay there overnight. After a long drive, it’s an ideal place to enjoy serenity and nature. It’s only 8 campsites available, so it’s worth booking it online, directly on the Alvord Hot Springs website. The amenities offered at the site include a parking lot, bathroom, showers, and a store.

Alvord Hot Springs Bunkhouses

Moreover, there are 6 simple bunkhouses you can rent for a night. But bedding is not provided.

The bunkhouse starts at $100 per night for 2 people and includes A/C. It can accommodate up to 4 adults. Check details and the photo gallery of the bunkhouses on their website, and book them.

Oregon Hot Springs Map

Touring Hot Springs Washington and Oregon is a must-have for hot springs fans. It featured over forty of the best hot springs in the Pacific Northwest remote wilderness hot springs and spas. You will find detailed directions, maps, and descriptions of each hot pool.

The other one we love is Hiking Hot Springs in the Pacific Northwest: A Guide to the Area’s Best Backcountry Hot Springs. Because it also describes hot springs in Idaho and British Columbia. It lists over 162 unique hot springs and over 80 amazing hikes—a well-documented book with good descriptions, advice, and tips.

We still have dozens of places on our bucket list with this guide. So, If you want to find the best and the hottest springs in the Pacific Northwest Region, this book is number one.

If you are looking for an excellent paper map to plan your Oregon road trip, we can highly recommend the Oregon Road & Recreation Atlas, which we use. It is very informative and detailed. Thanks to this atlas, our trip was more interesting, as we could quickly learn what was nearby and plan our trip.

There is also lots of information about less popular places. It’s a useful alternative to GPS maps when traveling because, in this area, coverage is limited.

If you’re planning a trip to Oregon, please check out some of the other great places we describe in related posts:

soaking pools
soaking pools
Oregon hot springs


  1. I had never heard of Alvord Deser but I love the idea of some hot springs in the middle of pretty much nowhere. That image of the pool looks beat up but still weirdly cute. I would totally be up for camping there and to get the private pool for the night! It would be the ultimate adventurous couple romantic getaway. 

  2. Alvord Hot Springs looks like a lovely place to visit. Great tips on respecting the nature of the area. It would frustrate me so much if people were being loud and not respecting others who had come to the area to relax. And leave no trace is a great policy for any outdoor areas. Visiting the springs will be on my list if I am ever able to visit Oregon. 

  3. A warm natural swimming pool – sign me up right away. The temperature seems perfect and the facilities just right to make it a pleasing experience. I loved all your tips and especially the one where you admonish people to avoid taking pics of others naked. I seriously wish people realize this even without anyone telling them that, especially at places like these and the holy ghats of India where they do their dips to offer their prayers.

  4. The hot springs sounds like the perfect getaway. We’re planning a trip to Oregon so I’ll have to include it in our itinerary. Great tips to have a full tank and paper map. Hopefully we can go when there isn’t anyone else because the clothing optional part throws me. 

  5. I’ve visited Oregon quite a few times and absolutely adore all the natural hot springs there. Definitely adding this to my list and love that it’s not as well-known. Great tip about bringing water as I tend to forget for going to hot springs/saunas although I think a cup of tea after would be even nicer!

  6. Oh my God look at that view! I would love to be that hot spring seeing such spectacular views. I have never heard of Alvord Desert but I will definitely add it to my list now. And I have been to hot springs only once and i would love to visit the Alvord Desert Hot Springs and I also I love the camping experience so would definitely be a place for me.

  7. I love remote places and as Alvord Desert in Oregon is hidden gem, I would surely go for it. As it also has hot springs, then it is really must go for me. Alvord hot springs is private property and having some entrance fees too, good to know that as I thought it is a public property. But paying 10 dollars for whole day is not a big deal. Good to know that reaching here is not a challenging hike and also to take extra pair of clothes is a good tip.

  8. Thank you for this information, guys! I am doing a road trip in Oregon soon and will definitely add this to the list. Just a question: I am traveling with my dog. Do you think that will be a problem? Have you seen pets in the campgrounds? My dog is really well behaved but I don’t know if they have rules for pets. Thank you so much!

  9. I just love natural hot springs, although I’ve never been to one before where you could actually adjust the temperature yourself. Plus all the others would not have allowed nude bathing, so this is also new to me. Thinking about Oregon, I naturally think about the coast more but didn’t know about the Alvord hot springs. Camping in this area also looks like a lovely option.

  10. I didn’t know Oregon had hot springs – what a great getaway idea! I love hot springs they’re so relaxing

  11. thanks for sharing this beautiful hot spring, it looks so remote and lovely, great photos. Love the option of camping nearby, and thanks for adding a link for the booking. I got to try this 🙂

  12. Another hot spring to add to the list once the borders open! I love road trips and can’t wait to explore Oregon some more once I’m able to 🙂 I also love that these ones don’t have a challenging hike to get to them, that’s a definite bonus 😉

  13. I’ve not heard of Alvord before but the idea of a hot spring in the middle of no where sounds like a perfect getaway. Great tips here especially ensuring a full tank! 

  14. This hot spring looks good, if it has some natural minerals dissolved in the water, then these hot springs are too good for health purpose. It seems you had a nice time while soaking yourself in the hot spring.

  15. A remote natural hot spring is up my street and from your pictures on Instagram, I could tell you had a great time. The tips will come handy for travellers to Alvord Hot Springs.

  16. Alvord hot springs sound like the perfect indulgence after a tiring day, thanks for all the useful tips packed in this post besides the cool pics! 🙂 

  17. I will start by saying I really never knew there was a desert in Oregon.  But since there is a desert in the British Columbia interior (Osoyoos), I should not be surprised.  I love the idea of soaking in a hot springs looking out over the desert.  Good to warn people that one pool is clothing optional.  A great way to not ruin your swimsuit in the hot water! 

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