The Hot Spring:
Whitehorse Hot Spring as many of the locals call it, or Willow Creek Hot Spring as it is named in the books, is a gem in the southeastern Oregon high deserts. The remote desert location, adjacent camping with a nice outhouse, and two different temperatures of water are an amazing combination. We have visited this spring many times and it has become one of our favorite places to soak because there is something special about this water.
There are two pools at Willow Creek, one hotter, and one cooler, divided by a concrete dam. The hot water bubbles up from under the smaller pool at about 115 deg F. Usually the average temperature of the pool is between 103 and 106 deg F, but it can cool off in cold and windy conditions. The second larger pool is the overflow pool from the hot pool and is usually somewhere between 80 and 90 deg F. Bouncing from the hot to the cool water makes for a great soak, and the cooler pool is very refreshing during the mid-day summer heat.
Even though it seems like nothing is out in this part of the country, Whitehorse gets quite a lot of visitors, and many of them stay for a week or two. During hunting season the campground can get packed with excited hunters. Because of this popularity, camping is prohibited within 100 yards of the springs and limited to 14 days. The springs are accessible year round but the last couple miles can get very muddy in wet conditions. Another thing to remember is that the water can cool to below 100 deg F in the winter, and it can get very hot in the summer.