The Hot Spring:
The Umpqua Hot Springs are a gem in the cental Cascades of Oregon. It is under a quarter mile from an official campground (which is a good and bad thing) and about one hour from the I-5 coridor. The hike from the campground is short but steep. In the winter the hot springs are still accessible but road is not plowed so you hike 2 miles in the snow down the road, or on the other side of the river along the path (they plow to the bridge over the river). We have been to Umpqua several times because it is a convinient stop when driving between Seattle and California which we have done several times and in several different seasons. It is always soakable but getting there is a bit harder in the winter.
The hot springs are on top of a tan orange mineral deposit formed by the minerals in the spring water (mostly a calcite deposit). The mineral deposit has built a mound on the north side of the North Umpqua River is about 150 feet tall. From the springs you look almost directly down to the river but you can scramble down the mound if you want too (but shoes are better than bare feet).
The main pool is carved into the mineral deposit and measures about 4 feet by 5 feet and is about 2-3 feet deep. The bottom of the pools is smooth and curved making nice sitting spots but can also be really slippery when trying to get in or out. The pool has a wooden roof and partial walls built around it to protect it from the weather or the sun and has a deck built out towards the river to change on. The walls that are there are carved and have artwork drawn on them and the surface around the pool is flat for drinks and has a couple of cup holders carved into it.
The water is brought to the pool in a garden hose that is stuck into the spring source about 15-20 feet away from the pool. The water is 106-108 degrees farehieght which is perfect for a nice hot soak but you can also remove the hose to cool the pool. The water has a neat opaque and hazy look from the minerals and feels really good. The water flows out of the tub and down the mound in a couple of spots. There is usually a scrub brush and a siphon hose under the deck to clean the pool but sometimes people have left them out around (please put it back under the deck if it is left out).
There are several other pools carved into the mineral deposit that are big enough for about 2 people and the water all comes from a second spring which also has the hazy look. The water flows from one pool to the next along carved flow forms so the water temperature gradually decreases from pool to pool. The first pool is above the wood covered pool and the water flows directly from the spring into the pool at over 110 degrees farenheight and there is no way to cool it off besides moving to a lower pool. Even though about 5-6 pools are carved into the mineral deposit usually only the upper 3-4 are used so the lower pools can get a bit dirty and algae filled.
The only bad things about these springs are the close proximity to the campground and that the springs seem to be pretty well known. This makes it so sometimes there can be large (or small) groups of very loud disrespectful people. On time a group of three showed up to the campground at 2 am and yelled to get up and party appartenty not realizing or caring that there were other people sleeping. Also several times we have arived to the springs to see beer cans all over the place. Some soakers have told us they think there is also a meth problem in the area so groups of people all tweaked out can show up at all hours of the night. Because of these problems we have tried to go to these springs on weekdays. There always seem to be some people there but even on weekends we have always been able to find a camping spot and get into the pools without waiting.