Hot Lake Springs and Hotel is located 9 miles southeast of La Grande in the southern part of the Grande Ronde Valley of Union County. An example of the Colonial Revival style, a historic hotel on the shores of the hot lake was built over 150 years ago. Hot Lake Springs has a long and fascinated history of prosperity and decline.
The hot lake was called Ea-Kesh-Pa by the Native American tribe Nez Perce. Before 1812, it was a sacred place for nursing sick or injured people. The man from the Hunt-Price expedition discovered this steaming hot lake in 1812.
Hot Lake Springs became a popular destination for the early fur traders and slowly grew to be a rest spot for those traveling along the Oregon Trail.
In 1864 Newhard with his partner built the first wooden structure. The 'Town Under One Roof’ progressed into a covered shopping mall and later, by the end of 1908, into a grand three-story brick hotel.
In 1917 Dr. Phy purchased the Hot Lake Hotel and made a hospital on the third floor known by the name of 'Mayo Clinic of the West’. The crowds flocking towards the Hot Lake continued to grow until a sudden Sunday fire that destroyed the eastern part of the resort.
Over the next 70 years, the property was the beneficiary of multiple grants as well as changed owners several times. However, Hot Lake Springs never returned to its former grandeur. During World War II, the property was turned into a Pilot’s School and Nurses Training Center.
As time progressed, multiple business models were adopted to restore Hot Lake Springs and all were unsuccessful. In 1994, the Hot Lake property was parceled out and Hot Lake Springs and the RV Resort became separated units with different owners.
In 2003 David and Lee Manuel bought the Hot Lake property and started a long restoration process. In 2010 Hot Lake Springs opened its doors for overnight guests.
Hot Lake is located towards the northern base of a small treeless hill. In the northern direction, the view encompasses a massive sweep of a complete mountain lined the Grande Ronde Valley. The Blue Mountains are situated towards the west with the Wallowa to the east.
The large hot lake is divided by the road leading into the historic hotel. The restored Hot Lake Springs & Hotel is complete with 22 rooms, public hot tubs, Restore Salon Spa, art gallery, two-floor museum, Magnoni’s Fine Italian Dining, coffee shack, Cackleberries breakfast nook, ballroom, gift shop, and a movie theater.
Art lovers would enjoy the Bronze Sculpture Gallery and Artist Market Place. Finally, for those just looking for a relaxing getaway, the mineral spring soaks and the ReStore SalonSpa are available.
The artesian hot springs are located in the small building on the shore of the lake, producing almost 3 million gallons of 200°F geothermal water per day. There's no day-use option. Soaking for walk-ins is $25/hour per person. Unlimited soaking is reserved for overnight guests.
Hot Lake Springs | Facts
Location: 9 miles southeast of La Grande • Northeastern Oregon • USA
Development: Resort, hot tubs
Service: Restaurant, museum, art gallery, spa
Accommodations: Hotel, Grande RV Resort a half mile west
Hiking distance: Short
Road Access: Any vehicle
Day-use: For overnight guests only; walk-ins option $25/hour for a person
Elevation: 2,800 ft (853 m)
- Take exit 265 to OR-203 toward La Grande
- Follow 5.3 miles to OR-203 S, turn right onto OR-203 S and continue for 5 miles to the destination.
Address: 66172 Oregon 203, La Grande, OR 97850