The Hot Spring:
Hart Mountain Hot Springs are up on top of the Hart Mountain Plateau where Antelope herds, bighorn sheep, and wild horses roam. The springs are maintained by the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge and provide camping with out houses. The main pool is a 6 by 9 foot, 4 to 5 foot deep, bedrock pool with an uneven rocky and sandy bottom. It is surrounded by a concrete platform and has a small ladder with wooden steps into the pool. Concrete walls surround the pool to provide privacy and protect the pool from the cold wind. 98 to 100 degree F water bubbles up from a crack in the bedrock and the pool usually stays around that temperature thanks to the walls.
A second primitive pool is about 100 yards to the west of the concrete box in the grassy field dotted with aspen trees. The pool is smaller and shallow at about 1 to 2 feet with grassy edges. A hotter source at about 105 degrees F, keeping the pool around 102-104 degrees F makes for a nice hot soak in the open high desert.
Legend says that the pool was originally created by a rancher that placed a piece of dynamite where a small hot seep was located. The resulting hole from the blast is what is now surrounded by concrete. Later in the 1930's when the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge was created, a citizens group was formed to provide volunteer assistance called the Order of the Antelope. They cleaned up the refuge of barb wire fences and first built the structures around the hot springs. Later in the 60's the group was ordered by the governor of Oregon to remove all structures despite all the volunteer work provided, because the group was more well know for its large parties, than its services. In 1992 the Order ceased its association with the refuge leaving only stories from the days of old.