The mental image that comes to mind when we think of hot springs, is a large pool of steamy, sulfur-infused water. Terwilliger Hot Springs, better known as “Cougar Hot Springs“, definitely delivered that. What it also delivered, was a saturated man-made, fancy forest public pool.
The drive to Cougar Hot Springs was, needless to say, AH-Mazingly beautiful. We drove a few miles on a curvy route 19, high above the Cougar Reservoir around 7:30am. It was a brisk, 35° and the sun was just coming up to melt the ice that was formed on the road. Steam was rising from the guardrails as the morning light touched them, and when we got to the dam, the view was just breathtaking.
Once we arrived, we were a little disappointed to see that there was already a handful of cars in the parking area. But, that was not going to make us turn around. Parking was free, with a $6/person admission charge, which of course we were more than happy paying. The hike to the springs is an easy, 1/4 mile hike. It’s a very worn trail, and seems to be kept up pretty well.
The hike abruptly stops at a small covered area for people to change out of their clothes before soaking. Clothing is optional, and people relish on that. There was already around 10 naked people soaking, so we decided to hangout by the lower 2 of 5 pools. Neither of us got in the water as it was way to cold for Geoff and Dava didn’t want to soak solo, but we at least touched the water to say we were in it.
Dava even got a little wild…
We split up to explore individually and met back to view what each of us shot with our Canons. All in all, we would probably come back to this spot. It’s about 3 hours from Portland, so for us, it was better as an overnight trip. Maybe next time we’ll be stay a little longer to get the full experience of Cougar Hot Springs and the area surrounding it.