Cougar (Terwilliger) Hot Springs
Located in the Willamette National Forest near Eugene, Oregon, these hot springs flow down a tiered grade, with pools below cooling as they become further and further from the source above.
Type: Natural Hot Springs
Hours: Day Use Only
Fee: $5. Forest permit / day use. Contact the McKenzie Ranger Station for specific details.
Driving Instructions: The Rider Creek Arm of Cougar Reservoir and Terwilliger Hot Springs are 53.3 miles East of Eugene. From the intersection of I-5 and I-105/Highway 126 in Eugene, head east on Highway 126 to the end of the divided highway, 6.6 miles. Turn left onto Main Street, continuing on Highway 126, and drive to the Cougar Reservoir turnoff, Forest Road 19, 39.0 miles, between mileposts 45 and 46. Turn right and drive to a dam, 3.4 miles. Turn right at the dam to go around the west side of the reservoir to the parking lot near the hot springs trailhead, 4.3 miles.
Cougar Hot Springs Map
Hiking Instructions: From the parking lot, backtrack on foot to the Terwilliger Hot Springs Trailhead sign on the other side of the road. Take the path along the outside of the railing, less than 0.1 miles along the way to the springs, a spur trail goes to the left down to a swimming area.
Comments: Probably the most popular "free" hot spring spot for Eugene residents, it inherits much of that city's culture and is often a stop of the Rainbows (Not the football team from the University of Hawaii). Nudity can be expected at both the springs and the swimming hole. The hot springs are constructed, but very rustic, pools set into the hillside. The source and top pool is the hottest, with the temperature cooling as it travels from pool to pool down the hill. There are eight pools ranging from 3-12 feet across and about 2-3 feet deep. The source is 112 degrees F and cools accordingly. Mostly on bedrock, the floor does have some gravel, sand and debris at the bottom. The area is day-use only and sees an abundance of use. Please do your part to keep the site pristine.
The sign that marks the trailhead for Cougar Hot Springs.
Aerial view of Cougar Hot Springs. (Links to interactive Google Map)