Carson Hot Springs Golf & Spa Resort is located in the old-growth forest of the Columbia River Gorge, 50 miles to the east of Portland and 14 miles east of Bonneville Dam on Washington’s side of the Columbia River Gorge. This hot mineral water resort is not just an amazing weekend getaway, it also has a long, interesting, and tragic history behind it.
In 1876 Isadore St. Martin discovered hot mineral water coming out of the ground on the bank of the Wind River. He made sure to keep his discovery to himself until he got property rights to the land where the hot springs are located.
Martin’s main goal was to use hot spring water to help his wife Margaret deal with the neuralgia she was suffering. Once property rights were obtained by Martins, Isadore dug a natural tube around the place where steam was coming to fill it up with mineral water. Margaret used this make-shift bath and it significantly improved her conditions. Over time, people living in the surrounding area found out about hot springs and its beneficial properties.
Isadore decided to open a hot springs resort to the public. He built a bathhouse and opened the resort in the 1880s. The hotel was built and open later, in 1901. This hotel is still in operation.
Isadore St. Martin’s life tragically ended in 1910 when he was stabbed to death by one of the resort visitors. Martin's family managed the property for 64 more years after the tragic event.
In 1923, 14 one-bedroom houses and an additional bathhouse were constructed. The old bathhouse is still in operation. Bathhouse visitors are charged per hour. Males and females have a separate area of the bathhouse to use. Usually, the bathing session is 25 minutes long and if follows by 25 minutes of traditional linen wrap to soothe the body.
An indoor pool with mineral water has added chlorine in it and it can be used by overnight guests without any fees while day visitors need to pay a day-use fee.
Each room of a recently built new hotel has the private bathtub on the balcony where guests can enjoy bathing in chlorine-free mineral water. Guests staying at the old hotel building have very limited amenities. There are no refrigerators, TVs, coffee makers, and microwaves in the rooms, but the lobby of the main hotel building has a microwave and a coffee maker.
Carson Hot Springs Resort | Facts
Location: 50 miles east of Vancouver • Washington • USA
Development: Swimming pool, bathhouse, private tubs in some rooms
Clothing: Required in swimming pool
Services: Spa services, a clubhouse with dining options, golf course
Accommodations: Lodging at the resort
Hiking distance: Short
Road Access: Any vehicle
Day-use: Yes for fees (hourly)
Elevation: 300 ft (90 m)
- Take Highway WA-14 and travel 47 miles east to Wind River Highway
- At a traffic circle, take the third exit onto Wind River Highway and drive 1 mile to Hot Springs Avenue
- Turn right onto Hot Springs Avenue and continue 0.9 miles to St Martins Springs Road
- Turn left onto St Martins Springs Road, go 0.3 miles and then bear left.