Cougar Hot Springs
Cougar Hot Springs is a cascading series of six natural rock pools with warm waterfalls, surrounded by old-growth forest, moss laden limbs, abundant ferns and friendly, gentle people. It is entirely clothing-optional, including the trail, sunbathing beach and swimming lagoon. Most people choose to enjoy the Springs nude. The swimming lagoon is only warm enough in July and August, but the Hot Springs are enjoyed year-round. Natural mineral water flows out of a cave at 112 degrees. There is no need for chlorine or any additives because of the cleansing flow-through effect of the water. The rock bottoms and edges of the pools are hand scrubbed weekly (summer) or bikweekly (winter). The trail is a quarter mile hike. It is located in the Willamette National Forest and is open every day, sunrise to sunset. Elevation is 1,852 feet above sea level. A $5/person day-fee is collected at the trailhead.
Typically there are 5-20 people soaking in the various pools. Much of the year, the pools run 95, 97, 100, 103 and 106 degrees. In the summer they can all run up to 5 degrees hotter, and vary by time of day because the sun has a significant effect in summer. The source temperature remains constant. In the winter, the pools cool from surface rain water. If it rains for two weeks steady, the hottest pool can even dip to 97 degrees, but it's more typically 102-104 degrees. The water contains trace minerals, including lithium.
Kids really enjoy Cougar and are welcome. Cougar attracts a diverse crowd of people. Visitors range in age from infants to kids to teens to adults to seniors in their 80s. The largest group is 20-something and high school and college kids. With many people 30-50, too. On weekends, there are usually a half-dozen kids 2-5 and 6-12 years old. Kids under 7 are admitted free. One third of the visitors are from Eugene and closer; one third from elsewhere in Oregon; and one third from elsewhere in the U.S. and around the world.
The atmosphere is typically blissful as the waters are an absolute delight. This is greatly enhanced by the incredibly beautiful surroundings. People appreciate the nudity as a sacred part of this natural, healing experience. The sense of freedom is wonderful.
Cougar is an Oregon treasure. A world-class hot springs tucked in an old-growth forest where nudity is as natural as nature and healing waters caress the skin. Grateful people with cheerful faces, friendly smiles and blissful sighs. It is a sacred paradise for meditation, relaxation and rejuvenation.
And while soaking, one feels how healing it is to be immersed in nature.
Many thanks to the hundreds of Cougar volunteers who built and have maintained the Springs area for more than 100 years. Their dedicated work has kept Cougar safe, clean and natural.
o Bring water to drink while soaking so you don't become dehydrated.
o Watch out for deer in the road when driving back after sunset.
Cougar Code of Conduct
Camping and Lodging