Breitenbush Hot Springs
Updated: Jun 26, 2018
Twice this year I flew from Alaska to Oregon with my youngest to spend time with friends and soak at Breitenbush hot springs. I used miles for the first trip in February on Alaska Air and then flew for the first time on Jet Blue in May. Jet blue offers a seasonal route to Alaska and my round trip ticket was only $112. Not only was it incredibly affordable but Jet Blue flights are spacious and are not overly crowded. It was so nice to fly so comfortably.
Breitenbush is east of Salem and tucked inside the Willamette National Forest and is a holistic and spiritual retreat center. It features three upper rock lined pools that overlook a meadow and Breitenbush River. There are four lower tubs called the spiral tubs set in concrete with varying temperatures from warm to very hot. The Sauna is extra special in the way it sits above one of the springs with a slotted floor to allow hot steam to fill it continuously.
The main lodge features a dining hall, a library, and an event area. The food is advertised as sumptuous organic vegetarian cuisine and truly it is amazing. The spread was so diverse and flavorful that I was pleasantly surprised at how filling it was. I am quite the meat-eater and was worried about eating vegetarian meals but all I can say to perspective visitors is that you will be pleasantly surprised too.
Lodging options include rooms in the main lodge, RV sites and camping or cabins. A few of the cabins have bathrooms but most share a communal bathroom in the cabin village. Geothermal energy heats everything at the resort by circulating water through radiators in each building.
Our first stay was in one of the cabins and while it was basic, it was warm and cozy. We planned on staying in a cabin on our second visit but there was a mix up with reservations and when we arrived there were no cabins available.
The staff knew we had a baby and had come all the way from Alaska to unwind and relax and they ended up giving us the river yurt, which is usually reserved for retreats. It was such a blessing to stay there because it was the perfect baby proof room for my adventurous crawler. And since it was right next to the spiral tubs, I didn’t have to go far for a soak.
Breitenbush is a kid friendly place that’s drug and alcohol free and asks for respect when in the pools. My older boys are pretty rambunctious and I purposely left them at home but I observed a few other family’s that fit right in and were enjoying the springs. It was easy with a baby because babies love water and relax right into it. Each time Wren would fall asleep I would bundle her up in her stroller and enjoy some quiet soak time. On our last morning I was lucky enough to sign up for a free massage with a class that was there on a retreat. I timed it for Wrens nap but she hadn’t fallen asleep when it was time to start and the staff was wonderful and held her and rocked her to sleep so I could get my massage. I couldn’t speak higher of a place than Breitenbush. There is such caring and compassion there. A real mindfulness of good health and organized focus on building a community of healing. I walked away from this place feeling like I truly had experienced something special and it’s kept with me all the months since.
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