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Bagby Hot Springs

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Cedar tub at Bagby Hot Springs (bobcat)
Bathhouses, Bagby Hot Springs (bobcat)
Hot water emerges out of the ground near the bathhouse (cfm)


What can we say about Bagby? It's a natural wonder complimented by incredible rustic architecture. At the same time, Bagby has developed a reputation as a trouble spot that is at least partially deserved.

Native Americans used Bagby for centuries. Legend has it that the springs had healing powers and all weapons had to be left some distance away, so the various tribes could share the healing power. The first European to visit the springs was Robert Bagby. Opinion differs on the exact year, but it was sometime in the late 1870s or early 1880s. Early in the 20th century, a bathhouse was built with five round cedar tubs. This bathhouse tragically burned in 1979, and two of the original tubs were lost in the blaze.

Today, Bagby is managed by the Forest Service in cooperation with a concessionaire. There are three bathhouses. The largest tub is the "Community Tub", which holds 6-8 people. Clothing is optional only in the bathhouses these days; otherwise, cover up while strolling around. For those seeking a more private atmosphere, the "new" bathhouse has five semi-private stalls, each with a tub carved from a log in a style reminiscent of Indian dugout canoes. These tubs are about 10 feet long and are comfortable for a couple. Visitors typically hang their clothing on pegs, and it's possible to see which stalls are occupied by looking at the hanging apparel. The largest tub here is called the "Honeymoon Tub". The "lower" bathhouse, has the three remaining original tubs and one large tub in an open deck environment. A third tub exists 100 yards upstream along the creek beyond the cabins. The tub can hold up to 6 people and sits idyllically on an open deck with a covered changing area.

Bagby is located at an elevation of 2280 feet in the middle of an old growth forest of douglas fir, hemlock and cedar trees. The naturally hot water flows from two springs at approximately 136 degrees. The spring water flows to the tubs in open "pipes" made of hollowed out logs with wooden levers controlling the flow of water. Some of the tubs are also plumbed with cold water and buckets are available to mix cold water from a nearby spring at the other tubs to create a comfortable soaking temperature. The Friends of Bagby ask that visitors don't use soap and that they clean the tubs with the provided brushes. The best visits are during the week and in the winter when there are fewer people.

The darker side of Bagby is result of its overpopularity. Most visitors are cooperative and respectful, but the sheer number of visitors ensures that occasionally a less cooperative group works into the mix. There are occasional reports of violence, but the intervals between violent incidents are measured in years or decades. More commonly, conflicts are limited to people looking to escape our busy, modern world clashing with others bringing some of the world with them. There are occasional problems with loud music and drunkenness. Alcohol is not permitted, but this rule is often ignored. Law enforcement agencies visit often and patrol the parking lot very often.

No fires or camping are permitted at the springs, but there is a good camping area about a quarter mile further up the trail. Drinking water should be carried in as there is no potable water at the site. There is also a Forest Service campground next to the trailhead.

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Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

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