Bagby Hot Springs
44.9354° N, 122.1736° W
The springs are named after Bob Bagby, a prospector and hunter who found the site in 1880.
The old, weird Oregon still lives on. For proof, one need only take a journey to Bagby Hot Springs, the legendary retreat built by the state’s hippie elders under the tall canopy of Mount Hood National Forest. To get there, take a dramatic drive through the roads outside small-town Estacada, beyond the grasp of cell phone towers and past ad hoc signage and mossy forest walls.
Rugged and raw, the slightly dangerous lore of Bagby has been mitigated in recent years by low-impact privatization in the form of a $5 parking fee. From the Bagby trailhead, it’s a breathtaking, easy 1.5-mile hike deeper into the wilderness. Take it slow. Ponder the mushrooms and bridges.
Barring disastrously extreme weather, Bagby is arguably best in wintry months. The crowds are thinner, but the water boils hot just the same. Consider quitting your day job so you can go on a Tuesday, thereby maximizing your chances of privacy as well as having close encounters with the wildlife. Nudity is allowed. Littering and drinking are not, but attitudes are generally lax.
That tends to be the case when you submerge your bones in the ancient heat of nature’s mid-winter hot tub.
Writer: Marjorie Skinner // @mjskinner800
Photographer: Amanda Leigh Smith // aleighsmith.com // @a_leighsmith
Stylist: Tashina Hill // tashinahill.com // @tashinasparkles
Skye Sengelmann // @demonicunt
Eulalie Welsh // @eulaliewelsh
Nichole Vella // @seaunicorn
Kelsey McNeice // @hungov3r_and_pr3gnant
Tashina Hill // @tashinasparkles