A Retreat at Breitenbush Hot Springs

Breitenbush Hot Springs

Before I was born, my parents built a summer cabin near these hot springs not far from Detroit, Oregon. When I was a little kid and we stayed at our cabin, we’d go over to “the resort” and swim in the hot springs pool.

Today, it’s a conference and retreat center. An intentional community of caretakers owns it. You can stay in the lodge, one of their cabins or tents, camp with your own gear, or  come for day use to soak in the hot springs pools and enjoy the organic vegetarian food. Two years ago I stayed in a lodge room for 4 days, and last July the new owners of our family cabin were kind enough to let me stay there.  So I went over to the hot springs every day for five days for meals and to soak in the various pools. I had the best of both worlds, as it is a busy time of year at the hot springs, but the summer homes area was deserted during the week.

It’s a short walk through the deep woods from the parking lot to the guest areas. No cars are allowed here, but the residents have bicycles and there are golf-cart style vehicles and tiny trucks for maintenance work.
These buildings date back to the late ’20’s and early ’30’s when people first started coming to use the hot springs as healing waters.
IMG_3038The lodge, which used to be the hotel, now houses just two rooms for guests but has a dining hall, a large library, comfortable sitting areas, and a spacious room for various well-being classes. They are in the process of updating the rest of the building as it’s not all up to code for guests to stay  upstairs.

IMG_3033 I was quite taken with the flowers, as hollyhocks are some of my favorites.



IMG_3532Seeing all the towels hanging out to dry always makes me smile. Sometimes visitors forget their towels, and they are sold for $5 as “re-purposed” in the gift shop.

During meals people spread out to the picnic tables on the deck, which is built around the trees.

IMG_3339 I love the colors of the wood on this wall. The water spigot is for filling water bottles. From their website:
“We generate our own electricity from the river and supply our heating needs from geothermal wells. The hot springs and wells provide the mineral water for our hot tubs and steam sauna. We have over 100 buildings on the property which include: the Lodge, a large dining and conference building, a kitchen and small dining space, a massage / healing arts building, staff dwellings, guest cabins, a Sanctuary, the Forest Shelter, Budha’s Playhouse, Cedar River Yurt, and various other structures.”
There is no public phone or internet access here for guests. But you can drive to Detroit (ten miles)  for a phone, or to Mill City (farther than that) for cell service.  IMG_3215This is the kitchen, close by the dining hall end of the lodge.
“We see ourselves as guardians of Breitenbush Hot Springs, safeguarding the earth and healing water, assuring their continued availability to all beings who respect them. Our primary service is to provide a healing retreat and conference center which promotes holistic health, spiritual growth, and facilitates the gathering of people in celebration of the experience of life.


IMG_3152I think this view would make a great watercolor painting.

IMG_3158Although none of the emphasis on service to others was present here when I was a child, it feels like a home to me because of its proximity to “our cabin” and my great childhood memories of playing in the woods. I actually feel like I belong here more than the people who live here just because I’ve been coming out here since way before most of them were born!

I’ll be posting more photos from here as well as some from around the cabin as time allows. In the meantime,  take a look at their site to find out more.

Breitenbush Hot Springs







5 responses to “A Retreat at Breitenbush Hot Springs

  1. I can smell the fresh air, water and pine trees already. Looks wonderful–all of it. Wonderful pictures. Thank you. Hmm. I haven’t seen hollyhocks forever around these parts. 🙂

  2. What a fantastic place, Jeanne. That really does look and sound like a piece of Heaven on Earth.
    Cheers, Alen

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