Fantastic and unique Antelope Hot Springs, also known as Hart Mountain Hot Springs is nestled in the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge at an elevation of 6,000 feet.
The 278-acre Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge was found in 1936 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt for the conservation of the endangered pronghorn antelope, the fastest land mammals in North America. Pronghorn antelope can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour (96 km/h); this is slightly less than the fastest mammals in the world African cheetah with the ability to run at 61 miles per hour (98 km/h).
Other 340 protected species of wildlife include 69 species of mammals (California bighorn sheep, mule deer, coyotes, and rabbits) and 246 species of birds.
The Hart Mountain offers a variety of activities including hunting, fishing, rock hounding, wildlife observation, and, of course, soaking in the hot mineral-rich water. A collection of the hot springs is located perfectly in the middle of the refuge.
The hot springs are man-made. A rancher is said to have stuck a stick of dynamite into a rock with bubbling water spouting out of it.
Enclosed by walls made from the natural rocks, the main pool is 8 by 11 feet across and 4 feet deep. This pool features a concrete walkway, a small ladder, and two sitting benches. The walls provide some sort of privacy and protection from chilly winds. The spring's water is bubbling from the bottom at a temperature about 100-degree Fahrenheit.
Located 100 yards away, the smaller pool with an uneven trapezium-shape is a few degrees warmer. Though this pool is free from any improvement like walls, it offers a great view of the mountain ranges and meadows. This pool has a sand bottom and is 6-foot in diameter and one-foot deep. The spring's water is coming from the pool's base.
Open year-round, the Antelope Hot Springs is the perfect location for camping during the warmer months of the year (summer, fall, and spring). Due to the hot springs are located in the high desert, conditions can be extreme. So, be well prepared. Temperatures often fluctuate dramatically from day to night. You can expect 60-70-degree Fahrenheit during days and a temperature below freezing at nights. Visiting Antelope Hot Springs during the cooler time of year will make escaping the cold weather in hot mineral water even "cooler".
Antelope Hot Springs | Facts
Location: 67 miles northeast of Lakeview • Southeastern Oregon • USA
Open: 365 days a year
Development: Semi-developed and primitive
Services: No services are available, except pit toilets
Hiking distance: Short
Road Access: Any vehicle on the maintained roads
Day-use: Yes, free
Elevation: 5,930 ft (1,807 m)
N 42°30.096' W 119°41.370' | 42.5016,-119.6895
- Head OR-78 East to OR-205
- Turn right onto OR 205 South and drive roughly 67 miles to Rock Creek Road
- Turn right onto the gravel Rock Creek Road that becomes Frenchglen Road
- Drive on Frenchglen Road (41 miles from OR-205) to Refuge Headquarters
- Turn left onto Hot Springs Road and continue 4.4 miles to the Hart Mountain (Antelope) Hot Springs and campground.
- From the north end of Plush, take Lake County Road 3-12 or Hart Mountain Road toward Hart Lake and Mountains
- Continue 23 miles to Refuge Headquarters, the road is mostly gravel
- Bear slight right onto Hot Springs Road and travel 4.4 miles to the Hart Mountain (Antelope) Hot Springs and campground.