Cougar Hot Springs

October 11, 2008

Cougar Hot Springs Near McKenzie Bridge in Oregon

Located deep beneath a canopy of primeval forest, clothing optional Cougar AKA Terwilliger Hot Springs features a chain of stair stepped pools fed by a small cave in a wooded ravine. Each of the 5 rock walled pools are slightly cooler than the other starting from 112 and ending near 90 degrees.

Cougar Hot Springs is open year-round and lies in wait at the end of an quarter mile stroll through the Willamette National Forest. Northwest Forest Passes are no longer accepted here, the only way to soak is to pay a $6/day fee or purchase a season pass for $60/year.

Despite the presence of a manned kiosk, Cougar maintains it’s station as one of Oregon’s finest. The current commercial operator American Land & Leisure has helped reduce the amount of vehicle break-ins and vandals that have plagued this hot springs for years.

Cougar Hot Springs is closed from sunset to sunrise and heavily patrolled day and night. Because of Terwilliger’s colorful history, brutal fines are doled out to all violators. FYI, Cougar is closed every Thursday from 8am to 12pm for cleaning.

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Cougar Hot Springs Map and Directions

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Travel east 4 miles on Highway 126 from Blue River and then take Forest Road 19 AKA Aufderheide Drive 5 miles to the signed Terwilliger Hot Springs parking area. Hike 1/4 mile west on Rider Creek Trail #3319 to Terwilliger Hot Springs.

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Cougar Hot Springs Soak Stats:

Season: All (check roads during winter – frequent closures)
Type: Hike
GPS: 44.083 122.233
Map Quad: MCKENZIE BRIDGE 15 or Willamette National Forest Map
Elevation: 1,700
Land: Willamette National Forest
Fee: Yes ($6/day or $60/year)
Restrictions: Nighttime closure
Usage: High
Visibility: Moderate
Temp: 112-85
Water Clarity: Clear
Odor: n/a
pH: n/a
Area Features: Cougar Reservior, Rider Creek Waterfall
Closest Food/Gas: Eugene/Bend
Trash: Moderate-Low
Bugs: Moderate-High (seasonally)
Wildlife: Moderate
Camping: Nearby, no on-site
Clothing Optional: Yes
Pit Toilet: Yes

15 thoughts on “Cougar Hot Springs

  • I LOVE this hot springs!! I came here with some friends for the weekend – we rented a vacation cabin at nearby McKenzie River mountain Resort. We did some hiking on the surrounding trails and then relaxed the afternoon away each day here at the hot springs. Quite possibly my new favorite place!

  • Cougar Hot Springs is a place the rainbow Gathering took over for years. Wish I could of been there then!! One of my best friends, bless her soul, April Leper took me here over 30 times, rain, snow, hot, cold, we always had a blast. Sneak, sneak into the springs after dark and watch the stars, climb up into the cave that the hot water comes from and make love. The hot water is running under you as Ice cold water trickles from the top ;of the cave and makes a great rolling around spot., and no I did not mean to go there against the rules and not pay the fee and go with candles up the trail late at night and defy the authority by looking at the stars and moon while sitting and soaking making your skin ever so soft. Like my dad always said, pick up more than you brought in and maybe it will be there the next time you want to go!! Many campgrounds up past the hotsprings. Watch out for the raccoons are getting vicious and I mean seriously. Was waving a long stick light with fire on the end and they were still hissing and jumping at us as they were taking all our food. They kept coming at us. The best we could do was stay in out vehicle and let them take it all. Or make sure u have a pellet gun/bb gun and a couple dogs!!!

  • Had a blast on Saturday morn. The air and vibe was perfect. The top tub next to the cave was closed and the water was not as warm as I was hoping for. I pretty much spent a good deal of time letting the waterfall hit the back of my neck and pour over me in the second tub cause it was almost warmer then the top tub. All in all clean fun relaxing and blissful. Until the woman came who wanted to talk about her toenail that was turning black and blue and about to fall off. Sheesh really.

  • Hi, I was here today with my husband and daughter and left my sunglass case with my credit card and my daughter’s hat. I was wondering if anyone has found it? If so, please let me know! Or if you happen to know where I could ask, that would be really helpful! Thanks so much!! June

  • My wife and I went yesterday, all the pools were open, and we had a fantastic time! The scenery on the drive in is amazing, and it only gets better when you’re sitting in the pools! This has been our favorite hot springs so far! I would definitely recommend checking these ones out, and will be sure to go back!

  • There is a $6 fee/person I believe. There is a small hut at the beginning of the trail and a fee collector person to greet you. If he isn’t there you will most likely run into him on the way down, as he keeps the place clean. Closes at dusk. Great spring but can get crowded

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