East Lake Hot Springs is located in Newberry Caldera near a small town La Pine, 40 miles southeast of Bend. The caldera was formed thousands of years ago after a series of volcanic eruptions, when the overlying volcano's dome collapsed and a huge hollow has been formed. Now, the 5-mile in diameter Newberry Caldera is home to East Lake and its twin Paulina Lake. Both lakes receive water through snowmelt, infalling precipitation, and heated ground-water flow.
Heated underground by rocks near magma, most of the thermal springs are secured by the lakes, but a few of them are available on the south lakeshore of East Lake and on the north side of Paulina Lake.
The farthest and largest pool is situated about 0.4 miles west of the Hot Springs Boating site. Walk around the lake to the prominent cliff, jutting out into the lake. It will take about 15 minutes. Go around the cliff and huge boulder and soon you will see East Lake Hot Springs. On your way to the soaking area, you will find smaller bubbling pools with the distinctive smell of sulfur. Do not use them for soaking.
The best time to visit East Lake Hot Springs is during the late summer and early fall when the lake's water level is low and the hot springs are exposed and easily accessible. During time when water level is high, the hot springs are submerged with the lake. The trail near the cliff might be also covered by water.
Another way to get to the hot springs is a boat.
The actual temperature of the water in the pool depends on the time of year. Typically, it ranges between 104 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature of the source located directly beneath the pools has been reported as high as 176 degrees Fahrenheit. The thermal water emerging from the ground is near 140-degree. It cools down quickly at the elevation of 6,350 feet; also you can add the cold lake water if needed for your comfortable soaking. The hot springs water has no sulfur odor.
USDA Forest Service, who is managed the area, asks to use the existing soaking pools; digging new pools is not allowed.
A Brief History
Built in 1915 on the southeast shore of the lake, the East Lake health resort used the natural mineral water for disease prevention and overall healing. The bathhouse received the thermal water directly from the springs. The resort had four cabins and a small bathhouse. Unfortunately, in 1923 the resort was destroyed by a fire.
There was another attempt to build a health resort in 1942. However, ten years later another fire burned down the property and all plans of owners to develop a large health resort.
East Lake Hot Springs | Facts
Location: 40 miles southeast of Bend • Central Oregon • USA
Open: May - mid-October from sunrise to sunset
Clothing: Swimsuits would be handy
Service: No service
Accommodations: No camping near the hot springs; East Lake Resort on the East Lake shore, RV and tent sites around East and Paulina Lakes.
Hiking distance: 0.4 miles
Road access: Any vehicle
Managed: US Forest Service
Day-use fees: Yes
Elevation: 6,350 ft (1,935 m)
- Travel approximately 23 miles south on US 97 to Paulina East Lake Road
- Turn left onto Paulina East Road and drive 17 miles east to the Hot Springs boat ramp
- Turn left to the Hot Springs boat ramp.
If the water level is low, from the boat ramp, hike west 0.4-mile along the East Lake shoreline.
Points of Interest Nearby