The Hot Spring:
Wind River Hot Springs is one of the best soaks in Washington but is only available a few months a year, and have access issues. The water is about the perfect temperature and makes your skin feel silky smooth. The location next to a cold river and surrounded by a forested valley and waterfall up river make perfect scenery, and the possibility of hot/cold therapy. The springs are technically located on public land because they are below the high water line of the wind river. Because of this the springs are under the river water most of the year and are only available during low water months.
The hot springs consist of two bedrock pools along the wind river with the hot water bubbling up from the bottom of the pools. The larger pool is a bit hotter with the water emerging at 106-107 degrees Fahrenheit keeping the pool at about 105 degrees Fahrenheit, and the smaller pool is a couple of degrees cooler. About 4-5 people can fit comfortably in the larger pool and about 3 people can fit in the smaller pool. During the late summer some smaller, sand and gravel pools are sometimes built along the stream bed with mixing hot and cold water. However most of the time the only soaking opportunities are the two bedrock pools.
Access to the springs are difficult because the private property owners adjacent to the spring no longer allow access through their property. In the past they provided parking for a small fee, but because someone slipped on the rocks and injured themselves (but did not sue), Mr. Gunderson became frightened of the danger of a lawsuit. Now the Gunderson family does not allow access and will tow any car on Indian Springs road even if it is not labeled as a "no parking" turnout. We have had a few interactions with the Gundersons with negative results. The other easy way to access the springs involves crossing a bridge that is illegal and risks getting a citation from DNR officials. So the only legal ways to access the springs are to swim across the swiftly flowing stream or to walk up the stream from a hopefully safe parking spot.
These springs are well known to locals and pacific northwest hot springers but is not known by most of the public. This makes it so on a weekday you can usually get the place to yourself and if there are people they are usually good people. The busiest time of the year is during fishing season, when it is normal to see a fisherman or two in the stream. This area is also in transition and may be added to the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area. This could safeguard the springs from commercial enterprises but also may add restriction. We will just have to see what will happen to this very special location.