Cougar Hot Springs

Cougar AKA Terwilliger Hot Springs Near McKenzie Bridge in Oregon

As of May 4th, 2021 – FSR 19 Closed Due to Rockslide Again!! Cougar Hot Springs remain accessible from the South via Westfir, but be prepared for a very long haul and possibly snow.

Covid Update Cougar Hot Springs is back open with the following restrictions: Up to 15 people allowed in at a time. The maximum soak time is 2 hours. The day-use fee is $7. Access is first-come, first-served.

Located deep beneath the canopy of a primeval forest, clothing-optional 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 is slightly cooler than the other starting from 112 and ending near 90 degrees.

Pictures of Cougar Hot Springs

Above Photos Courtesy Alison Catanese Tompkins

General Information

Cougar Hot Springs is open year-round and lies in wait at the end of a 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 $7/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 number of vehicle break-ins and vandals that have plagued this hot springs for years.

Cougar Hot Springs reopened on Monday, July 1st, 2019 along with Aufderheide Drive AKA Forest Road 19 after a 10-month closure due to wildfire damage. Please treat this area with care.

Nightime Closure

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 8 am to 12 pm for cleaning.

Cougar Hot Springs Map and Directions

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.

Terwilliger Hot Springs Videos

Cougar Hot Springs

A profile on Terwiliger Hot Springs in Terwiliger, OR.

Terwilliger / Cougar Hot Springs Music Video

Video series about Cougar hot springs, Oregon. Piano music “Summer Stream” by Bill Pease. The place never ceases to amaze and inspire me.

Cougar AKA Terwilliger 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 ($7/day or $60/year)
Restrictions: Nighttime closure, only 15 people allowed at the hot springs, max soak time is 2 hours
Usage: High
Visibility: Moderate
Temp: 112-85
Water Clarity: Clear
Odor: n/a
pH: n/a
Area Features: Cougar Reservior, Rider Creek Waterfall, near Belknap Hot Springs
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
Instagram #CougarInstagram #Terwilliger

53 thoughts on “Cougar Hot Springs”

  1. I will be in Oregon in March and I want to know if there are any changes, new rules, or new fees I should be aware of. Thank you so much.

  2. I went here on a Saturday in mid-march and it was fairly crowded. About half nude and half clothed. The water wasn’t as warm as I expected and the bottom pool was completely cold. Decent drive in though the roads are narrow on a semi windy road. Beware of deep potholes right past the “Loose Gravel” sign. Nearly took off our front bumper. Beautiful scenery and great experience though.

  3. went today around 3pm-5pm. It was fairly crowded, the trail was somewhat muddy. With a small group of friends it was fun, however, the largest and warmest pool was overcrowded with nude people, which was fine, but not our style. The water was kind of gross but could have been worse.
    Overall enjoyable experience, would have been more fun without the nude crowd, but we knew what we were getting into.

  4. Not really into being totally naked around strangers but met some nice girls , who were, and had a good time talking to them and visiting with the crowds that started filtering in. The water was a little cooler than say Bagby but it was good clean fun, no drugs or effing on site which was nice. Very ideal picturesque nature area, sad that there are so many dams out there, but its not as overran as Mt Hood National forest tends to be and there are some good fishing runs down there.

  5. Just what’s up there this weekend and the road is still closed they haven’t even started to move it rocks out of wood be a couple months

  6. Access to Cougar has been CLOSED winter and spring 2018 due to a massive rockslide on access road Jan 2018.
    Here is latest from FS

    “3/26/2018: Access to Terwilliger Hot Springs and the west side of Cougar Reservoir and from Forest Service Road 19 (Aufderheide Scenic Byway) remains blocked due to rockfall. There is no safe way to reach the hot springs at this time. Forest Order 06-18-01-18-06”

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