It's Always Sunny in Southeastern Oregon. . .


This post was written about a trip taken November 2011.

Growing up driving to western Idaho every summer to visit my grandparents I often wondered why anyone would want to live east of the Cascades. After all it was brown, hot, dusty and lacked any "real" towns. Western Oregon was much better in every way. Naturally as my love of the outdoors grew this belief changed.




The abundant visible wildlife is reason enough to make the drive out here. Bighorn Sheep, Pronghorn Antelope, Mule Deer, and wild horses are everywhere. 

Pronghorn Antelope


Traffic jam in Southeastern Oregon


My love of the Alvord Desert and surrounding area begun in early 2011. After leaving Hawaii and spending about two months under the clouds in western Oregon I was in desperate need of some sunshine; warm or cold. Nearly a year later I hadn't been back because of my time on the Pacific Crest Trail, so it seemed time to seek out the sunshine, solitude and hot springs of the Alvord. 

Eddie and I loaded "Sasha" with firewood and everything we needed for a few days in the high desert and set off from Eugene. We left a little later than planned so ended up getting to Alvord Hot Springs well after dark. Driving down "highway 205"( which is dirt road) at night while bats dodge the headlights and rabbits dodge the tires was eventful to say the least. When we finally arrived it was cold, somewhere between 15-20, and windy. We immediately headed for the hot spring. I do not suggest getting here after dark unless you have a good GPS or have been before. The pull out and camping areas can be hard to find in the dark. Alvord Hot Springs Map/Directions



The hot spring it's self is a "bathhouse" made of concrete pools poured sometime in the 1930's. The "cooler" pool has the tin around it. The open pool is much warmer but is exposed to the often bitterly cold wind in winter, so you'll be spending most your time nearly under water!


The next day we headed down to the town of Fields. Which is a hotel, store, and gas station all in one. They have some great milkshakes and diner food. It has definitely become a must stop when I head this way. Also for the craft beer snobs, this place has a great selection of Oregon beers. Oakshire, Ninkasi Hopworks. . . it changes often, but they also have their share of lesser beers.


With our supply of cold beer replenished we set out for Whitehorse Hot Springs(also known as Willow Creek Hot Springs) for the rest of day and to camp if we liked it. Whitehorse Hot Springs is southeast of Fields and is even further off the beaten path, which I didn't know was possible. Finding the hot spring wasn't difficult like some websites mentioned. But the road in would be very tricky after rain or snow. You could easily end up stuck a long way from cell service or a paved road if you weren't careful. We were lucky and the drive was easy. I loved it when I realized we could pull right up to the pools and camp anywhere nearby we wanted. There was a guy cleaning out the pit toilet when we showed up, but he didn't stick around long.  Whitehorse Map/Directions

The Hot Spring( the close pool was much warmer)


BLM Campground at Whitehorse Hot Springs

If you're burnt out on rain, people or just want to soak in some of the best hot springs in Oregon Southeastern Oregon is the place to go.

Sunrise at Whitehorse

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