Belknap Hot Springs, is a great weekend get away, or a place you could easily spend a week checking out what in my mind what I thought Oregon would look like before I moved to Portland. Very lush, green, forested, simply beautiful. Belknap, an hour east of Eugene is a developed hot springs resort that is accessible to any budget. Belknap offers many lodging options ranging from hotel rooms in their main lodge to secluded camping spots by the McKenzie River and all points in between including RV spaces, and cabins ranging from single room to large enough to sleep 10-12.
First time I visited Belknap was in 1999, at the time I had just got engaged to my husband and we were undecided where to have our wedding, after touring the beautiful grounds of Belknap we knew this would be our spot.
Belknap features two hot pools, one is directly behind the main lodge adjacent to the McKenzie River, the other is the “upper” pool which is closer to the majority of the cabin sites and the upper gardens. The lower pool is definitely more scenic and worth the short walk if you are not staying in main lodge.
Lower pool pictured to the left, upper to the right.
There is a bridge that takes you across the McKenzie River to extensive gardens (this is where we got married). There is a Japanese garden, a Secret Garden with an amazing gravity fed fountain and a huge meadow area with an abundance of plantings. The story I heard is that the owner (ex-logger) loved Butchart Gardens in Victoria and that inspiration guided the development of the grounds and wanted to emulate the Butchart Gardens feel in Oregon. Across the clearing from the Japanese Tea House we planted a Hemlock Tree at our wedding (it should be about 10 feet tall by now). To check it out from the Tea House follow the path into the woods that cuts through the center of the grassy area, our tree is just to the right before the path takes you into the woods.
There is lots to do at Belknap, outside of vegging out by the hot springs. Outside of exploring the beautiful gardens, the McKenzie River Trail runs through Belknap. This trail is absolutely amazing. When you start on the trail you go along side road 126 for a little while, but you quickly tuck into the woods along side the amazing McKenzie. When the sun shines on the river you see the most amazing hues of green and blue.
Belknap is right around the corner from probably the most amazing scenic drive in America mile for mile the McKenzie Pass which starts off in the most lush of lush Oregon dominated by Douglass Fir, peaks out at the pass at a volcanic lava field where you can see 5-6 mountain peaks on a clear day and virtually no trees then slowly transitions to the drier climate of Central Oregon and Pines and drops you into Sisters a quaint Western feeling town.
Also make sure to check out Clear Lake where you can rent boats…..
And Sahalie Falls right up the road for an amazing double water fall hike.
Enjoy your trip and be sure to rub our tree for good luck!