Juntura (Horseshoe Bend) Hot Springs

General Description: Very hot water bubbles up in a large shallow pool on a gravel bar island in the Malheur River
General Location: Central Eastern Oregon near the town of Juntura
Pool Type: Sand and Gravel
Pool Temps: DO NOT SOAK (Above 115° F), Lobster Hot (110° - 115° F), Extremely Hot (106° - 110° F)
(Click to enlarge.)
Accessibility: Year Round, depending on snow level for the roads, and crossing the river when high can be very dangerous
Restrictions: None, be free
Elevation: 3000 feet.
Distance from road: 0.00 mile.
Map Reference: Vale District BLM Map, or Stemler Ridge OR USGS 7.5 minute quadrangle


The Hot Spring:

  Juntura Hot Spring is a unique spot because the spring is located on a gravel bar island in the Malheur River.  The spot is also nice because it is close to the Highway but on a bend in the river that takes it away from the road, so you feel like you're out in the middle of nowhere.  It is called Juntura because of the nearby town, or Horseshoe Bend because that is the name of the bend in the river on the maps.  When the water level is low you can drive through the river onto the gravel bar island and directly next to the spring.  But when the water level is high you park next to the tree where the road goes over the river and walk across the river.  Crossing the river can be very dangerous and the safest spots to cross are at the top or bottom of the island.  Because the spring is so easily accessible and has abundant camping it is very well know with hunters during the Fall hunting season, and with hippies other times of the year.

  The hot water bubbles up on the far side of the gravel bar from under the main large, about 15 feet wide by 30 feet long, shallow 2-3 foot deep pool.  On one side of this pool are two concrete slabs to rest on directly next to the pools edge.  The water is generally very hot at Juntura Hot Springs.  During the winter months, or when the river level is very high, the main pool is around 109-111 deg F so it is soakable and very nice in the cold air.  During the summer the main pool gets to around 115 deg F, and sometimes higher, making it barely soakable (maybe only a feet soak).  You can try to cool the upper main pool by adding buckets of cold water from the river (bring your own bucket), this usually works depending on how hot it is.  The overflow from this pool goes down to the rivers edge where it mixes with the cold river water and some other springs that bubble up from the sand.  This is the main soaking area in the summer, where you can shift the rocks blocking the cold water to create whatever temperature you want.  

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