Austin Hot Springs

General Description: A bunch of really hot water bubbling up next to the Clackamas River.
General Location: East of Portland in the Mount Hood National Forest.
Pool Type: Sand and Gravel
Pool Temps: Lobster Hot (110° - 115° F), Extremely Hot (106° - 110° F)
(Click to enlarge.)
Accessibility: All year, but roads may be closed in winter
Restrictions: No camping, and soaking is currently illegal
Elevation: 1750 feet.
Distance from road: 0.00 mile.
Map Reference: Mount Hood National Forest Map, or Fish Creek Mountain OR USGS 7.5 minute quadrangle.

Videos

The Hot Spring:

  Austin Hot Springs consist of a bunch of hot water seeps along the Clackamas River that bubble up into rock lined sand and gravel pools in the river.  There are many seeps all along either side of the river engulfing the river in steam creating a very cool hazy look.  The water is extremely hot and mixes with the cold water of the river in a series of pools (always check temperature before getting in).  It is so hot that if the cold water does not mix it can be scalding hot and has given people burns who did not check the water before jumping in.  The temperature can be changed by altering the rock wall configuration.  Some of the pools also have carpets on the bottom to protect your butt from the extremely hot water.  There are also reported to be a couple soakable pools across the river but we could not make the river crossing when we visited the springs.

  Today the springs are privately owned and closed to the public because the owners were sewed in 2008.  A woman got 2nd degree burns on over half her body at Austin Hot Springs and is sewing for 2.8 million dollars because it was not adequately signed, even though she was trespassing. In the past Portland General Electric owned the springs and allowed access but vandalism and littering caused the company to eventually close the area to the public also.  Despite the closure, and danger the springs are still located directly off of a paved road and are therefore commonly used and abused.  The area appears to continue to be a party location where people do not respect the land leaving large amounts of garbage around the springs.  Please be careful at this site if you decide to visit and try to leave it cleaner than you found it.

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Just visited Bagby, took a

Just visited Bagby, took a ride up to Austin as well. Here's my report: http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/

Hi Anonymous,   The

Hi Anonymous,

 

The description here isn't entirely accurate.  Austin Hot Springs (some sources refer to it as Carey Hot Springs) was originally PGE property (that much is true) and was evaluated as a potential geothermal site due to the high water temperature.  Water temps at the source are scalding - 130-140 degrees F.  In the soaking pools, the water "mixes" with river water, but since the flow rate isn't constant, it's very possible to get badly scalded.  In addition to the incident listed above, there have been a number of other scalding incidents, typically one or two each year.

 

Sometime in the 1990s or 2000s, the property was sold to an out-of-state retirement fund who is the property owner that was sued in 2008.  The area is private property, and trespassing on it is illegal.  So it's not just "what is soaking" - merely pulling off the road and walking into the area is against the law.  Typically, USFS and Clackamas County Sheriff's Office will warn offenders and make them leave.  The property owner has made multiple efforts to restrict access to the property over the years, by creating earth berms and setting boulders to prevent drivers from pulling off the road onto the property, and by posting "No Trespassing" signs which are frequently vandalized and removed by forest users.

 

Basically, you are breaking the law and taking your safety into your own hands if you visit the site and use the pools.  The only legal public area is the river itself, so technically if you used water access to get there, it'd be (in theory) legal.  The site typically has a lot of strewn trash and there are almost always 3-12 cars' worth of people parked at and near the site - it sees heavy use much of the year despite being closed private property and a safety risk.

 

The pools themselves typically have a number of pieces of carpet laid in them, in various states of decay, in an effort to prevent visitors from being scalded.  If you go there, I'd recommend sandals or river shoes, as well as keeping a sharp eye out for rusty cans and broken glass.

Hi I had a question I was

Hi I had a question I was looking for a place to take my family and found Austin hot springs but I wasn't able to find any recent info for 2014 and was wondering If it's still open and also if your able to get inside the water because on the top it said soaking was illegal and I don't know what it refers by "soaking" but hope you could help thanks .

We may also try these things

We may also try these things that could actually be something that might work great for us especially at times when we need the customary relaxation. - Marla Ahlgrimm

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