The cluster of natural hot springs adjacent to the rushing Clackamas River, Austin Hot Springs is an extremely popular destination in close proximity to Portland, the largest city of Oregon. The thermal water emerges from several spots on both banks of the river and, also, directly from the river bottom.
The main Austin soaking area with a few pools is built by visitors along the roadside of the Clackamas River near and above the hot springs sources. The pools have different sizes and different water temperatures. The hot springs can be extremely hot, over 190 degrees Fahrenheit. So, be careful and always check the water if you decide to soak.
Austin Hot Springs is highly unpredictable. The volcano-heated water at a high temperature can emerge at any time from the pool's bottom. One moment you may be feeling good and relaxed on the warm water and the next few minutes you may find yourself being rushed to the hospital because of an injury that you have succumbed to from boiling water.
Reports have shown that each year there are people who gain access to this locally heated water that percolates near the Clackamas River have ended up suffering from serious burns.
The hot springs pool that is nestled on the opposite side of the river, a few yards upstream is considered safer because the hot water flows out of a cliff and can be easily mixed with cold water.
Austin Hot Springs is privately owned, and technically it is illegal to use this area without the owner's permission. However, for decades many visitors find this site attractive because of the hot mineral water and the fact that it is located just 37 miles southeast of Estacada. Despite Austin Hot Springs is a private property, hundreds of people annually visit this site, construct soaking pools, bring concrete, old rugs, and dirty carpets.
According to Jan Barkley, Schmidt trustee, many signs that they have put on the property warning people that it is a private property have not helped much. All gates and signs that warn people from accessing this site have been brought down by determined people who want to access the spring at all cost.
Austin Hot Springs | Facts
Location: 32 miles southeast of Estacada • Mt. Hood National Forest • USA
Amenities: No services are available
Accommodations: Camping is not allowed at the hot springs
Hiking distance: Short
Road Access: Any vehicle
Day-use: Private property
Elevation: 1,750 ft (533 m)
From junction OR-224 and OR-224E in Estacada,
- Travel 25.3 miles southeast on Highway 224 to Forest Road 46
- Highway 224 becomes Forest Road 46, bear right after the Ripplebrook Ranger Station and after you cross the bridge
- Drive 6.4 miles on FR 46 along the Clackamas River to the huge iron gate on the right.