The Hot Spring:
Mickey Hot Springs is a very active geothermal area out in the middle of the Alvord Desert in the Mickey Valley. The BLM has built a fence that surrounds the entire 20 acre area and there is an obvious parking area with an informational sign and a path to the water. Sometimes there is a plethora of geothermal activity here and sometimes it all just dried up empty holes depending on the season and recent rainfall. In the winter and spring there is water in the pools and at usually some steam vents and bubbling spots especially after a rain (May 2010). But in the summer if its been very dry the whole area can dry up completely and all you see are a bunch of empty holes (August 2005).
Most of the time there is the large 15-20 foot diameter over 10 foot deep bubbling source pool, that overflows down a dug trench to a little dug out soaking box. This little pool is the only real soaking opportunity at Mickey and it is usually pretty hot ranging from 105 to 115 and higher so make sure to test the water before soaking. The water is really mineral rich and it makes your skin feel silky. Down the hill from the main pool is where the rest of the geothermal activity is. If the time is right the ground hisses with steam in several spots, the water bubble and boils from lots of seeps.
Mickey Hot Springs went un-noticed for most of its life, probably because it is too hot to soak most of the time and very seasonal. That all changed in the early 1990's when there were many wet years in a row. One of the bubbling spots became a little geyser throwing water a couple feet into the air every couple of minutes. Then in the spring of 1992 it got up to 6 to 8 feet high and got national attention as the only natural geyser in Oregon. Unfortunately the increase in visitors also brought a tragedy when someone died of a heart attack in the little soaking tub in 117 degree F water. The BLM built a fence around the entire 20 acre area in 1997 to protect it and put signs all around warning about the dangerously hot water.