If finding accessible, clean, and piping hot hot springs is your thing, then this post is for you. About two and a half hours east of Bend, Oregon is Crystal Crane Hot Springs and an overnight stop here is a must. They have a variety of lodging options plus tent and RV camping.
This hot springs pool is enormous (9728sqft!) and varies in temperature throughout but averages 101 degrees. We found it easy to find hotter or cooler spots and when you really need a warm up you can head to the streams of falling water where the exceptionally hot water enters the pool. The depth in the center of the pond can be 6’-7’ deep and they allow pool noodles. There are outdoor showers to use before entering the pool and private showers are available as well. One of our most favorite aspects is the 24-hour access to the hot springs! It was incredible to relax in the hot water under the stars. We saw several shooting stars and the undeniable haze of the Milky Way.
We dry-camped in our RV in the tent area which gave us some grass around our site. There are also individual picnic tables and fire rings. In our opinion, this was nicer than the full hook-up spaces for RVs which was on gravel with sites fairly close together. We were in site #9 which was a pull-through site on the end. Our door looked out onto an open field with unobstructed sunset views. We should note that there is no dump station here (or water spigots) so we arrived with the water we needed and emptied our tanks afterwards at the nearby Crane Store & Deli for $7. There is a camp kitchen available to everyone with stove, sink, etc. so we did fill some jugs of water in there. We had LTE AT&T service and the WiFi at the campground was surprisingly usable (and I think our campsite was about as far from the office as you can get).
At the time of this writing we paid $35/night to dry camp plus $3 per pet/night. The full hook-up sites were about $10 more per night. There is no extra fee to use the hot springs. You can check availability and book online through their website – although when we used it there was a bit of a glitch that showed the dry camping area to be unavailable even several weeks out, so we ended up calling to check. They also have private soaking tubs for rental, and they do offer day-use rates if you’d like it to be a quicker stop – but we think soaking under the stars is something not to be missed.
This is a fairly remote area so it’s best to arrive with plenty of fuel, food, and water but as mentioned above the Crane Store and Deli is only about 3 miles away and serves hot food for dine in or to go plus it has a small convenience store. If you are planning to explore more of eastern Oregon there are the Steens Mountains, Alvord Desert, and Malheur National Wildlife Refuge all within reach – and more hot springs to find!