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Posted on Feb 11, 2014 | 2 comments

A Romantic Getaway to Bagby Hot Springs

A Romantic Getaway to Bagby Hot Springs

Bagby Hot Springs in Mt. Hood National Forest is one of those places that we’ve been meaning to go to for as long we’ve both known about these hot springs, but hadn’t until recently. In an effort to spend 2014 seeing and visiting all the places we’ve always meant to go to in the Pacific Northwest, we set off on a winter’s day to visit Bagby Hot Springs.

Get There Early

We headed out early to Bagby in hopes that the hot springs wouldn’t be too crowded and we’d have no problem getting one of the private rooms. It was clear and cold with ice on the ground, a sign we took as meaning less people would be at the hot springs.

When you arrive at Bagby, there is a parking lot with an attendant. The hot springs have been taken over by a private company that specializes in management of hot springs in state and national parks. With this new management, there are now on-site employees to collect fees and keep the peace for all to enjoy Bagby.

When we arrived at 9:30am, there was only a few other vehicles and no parking lot attendant. How many cars are in the parking lot will give you an idea of how many others got there before you.  Since the attendant wasn’t there yet, we used the drop box they have set up to be able to pay our fee of $5 per person. Make sure to bring exact change and a pen for the payment envelope.

Bagby Hot Springs

Once you get to this bridge, you know you don’t have too much longer to go.

Hike to the Hot Springs

From the parking area, it’s 1.5 miles to the hot springs. The well-worn trail and stunning scenery make for an easy hike through the forest along the Collawash River. Except for one other couple, we never saw anyone else on the trail.

Bagby Hot Springs

One of the bathhouses at Bagby Hot Springs.

Bath Houses at Bagby Hot Springs

When we arrived at the site we found three bath houses. The main bathhouse had five semi-private rooms with cedar log tubs. The lower bathhouse had four round tubs on an open deck. The upper bathhouse was about 100 yards away from the other two bathhouses with one large tub on an open deck and a stunning view of the forest.

Bagby Hot Springs

Drew grabbing us one of the private rooms.

Drew grabbed us one of the cedar tubs in a private room. Since we arrived so early, there was no wait for the tubs. Drew gave our log tub a rinse before starting to fill it while I got our belongings situated.

Bagby Hot Springs

Filling the tubs at Bagby Hot Springs is easy.

How to Fill Your Tub

Filling the log tubs is quite easy- Simply pull the handmade wood plug from the top of the tub and let the water from the hot springs delivered through an open-air system take care of the rest. Before doing this, be sure to put the other wood plug in the drain to keep the water in your tub.

Bagby Hot Springs

There’s cold water on the deck outside to cool down the tubs.

Be careful as the water comes out around 136 degrees and is much too hot to get into without adding some cold water to cool it down. There is a natural cold spring on the deck near the other tubs for you to fill up provided plastic buckets to add to your tub. We added 4 buckets of cold water to our tub to make it cook enough to get into.

Bagby Hot Springs

Adding 4 buckets of cold water to the hot water made the temperature perfect.

Once the tub was ready, we stripped down to our bathing suits we had under our clothes and slipped into the hot water. Nudity is not allowed at Bagby and bathing suits are required. Having your bathing suit already on under your clothes will make it a lot easier for you.

Bagby Hot Springs

There’s plenty of room for two in the private tubs.

Private Tubs at Bagby Hot Springs

The hand-carved cedar log tubs are long, wide, and comfortably fit both of us. We were both able to lay back, stretch out, and relax. It was refreshing to have the cool air from the open roof keep us from getting too hot.

Bagby Hot Springs

Enjoying the view from the tub through the open roof.

About an hour later, a line stated forming outside the bath house deck that made us happy we had arrived early to be able to walk right in to one of the private rooms. We gave it half an hour more and then decided to pack up to let someone else have a chance in the hot springs. We drained our tub, gave it a rinse with a bucket of cold water, and got dressed.

Bagby Hot Springs

Each room is provided with hooks to hang your clothes. We found it fitting that ours read, “Let go of your belongings…”

Our hike back down was as beautiful as going up. This time we passed many hikers on their way up to the hot springs. This made us happy we arrived early and avoided the crowds and wait.

Bagby Hot Springs

Our dog, ChiChi, cuddled under coats while we soaked in the tub.

Dogs at Bagby Hot Springs

Dogs on leashes are allowed at the hot springs. We brought our own dog with us and she lay on the bench in our room while we soaked in the tub. Many others brought their dogs up, as well.

Bagby Hot Springs

Bagby Hot Springs is the perfect place for a romantic getaway for the day.

A Romantic Getaway

Bagby Hot Springs are a romantic getaway for the day. They are a perfect and economical way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, a birthday, or any other celebration. Pack some candles to place around one of the private tubs and add some natural bath salts to the water for a special treat. Pack up a picnic to enjoy before or after your time in the tubs together.

Bagby Hot Springs

A nice swimming hole to take a deep in during the warmer months.

Bagby Hot Springs Tips

  • Arrive early to get a private tub and to not have to wait in line.
  • The cost is $5 per person. Bring exact change with you.
  • Bagby is open 24 hours per day. However, there are no lights along the trail or in the bathhouses.
  • Camping is not allowed at the hot springs.
  • Alcohol is not permitted.
  • Bring a swimsuit. Nudity is not permitted.
  • Dogs are allowed, but must remain leashed at all times.
  • Forest Service Roads to Bagby are well maintained, but are not plowed for snow during the winter.
  • Do not leave any valuables in your vehicle.
Bagby Hot Springs

Even though Bagby Hot Springs has been cleaned up, there are still signs of wild party days.

Bagby Hot Spring’s Bad Reputation

In the past, Bagby has had a pretty bad reputation. Big parties happen there at night different times of the year and like any place, sometimes, not the best people choose to hang out there. Thanks to the company now managing the hot springs and the on-site attendant it has greatly improved the company kept at Bagby.

Have you ever visited Bagby Hot Springs?

All photography by Kimmy Hayes © 2014.

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About Kimmy Hayes


Kimmy Hayes is the founder and editor-in-chief of AfterGlobe; a site on becoming debt free and traveling the world as a married couple. In 2012, she planned and coordinated her own do-it-yourself destination wedding on the beautiful island of Maui while serving as a moderator for the on-line community, The Knot. She is passionate about traveling to experience new cultures, snorkeling the waters of the world and reading with her toes in the sand.

2 Comments

  1. God Bless You Kimmy may you rest in peace. Such a sad loss of life and taken so young. Thanks for all the inspiration and love you shared with all. It is also a great shame that you’ll no longer be able to share the joys of Valentine’s Day.

    Sending love, prayers and support to you Drew. I hope you recover quickly and find the strength to face the future knowing that the 2 of you have and always will mean so much to so many.
    The Guy recently posted…A Review Of The Radisson Hotel AntofagastaMy Profile

  2. Looks like a lovely spot and one I’ll have to visit when I get to Portland. I’m glad you and Drew got a chance to enjoy this together. What a great way to enjoy time together.

    I’ll miss your posts and your positive outlook in life. You tragic death at such a young age struck a cord in me. Know you are an inspiration to many, including me. Hope you can to do all in your afterlife you did not get to do in this one.
    Robin recently posted…Goodbye AfterGlobeMy Profile

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