Explore The Alvord Desert Hot Springs Oregon – Complete Guide

A hot spring hidden deep in the Oregon desert is reserved for the brave and courageous people only. Like many others in Oregon, these pools are surrounded by beautiful scenery, providing a very unique soak!

To get here, you’ll have to travel quite a distance from major towns such as Bend, Oregon, or Boise, Idaho, and even then, it’ll take at least four hours.

If you have the courage to hike it all the far out, you will be rewarded with breathtaking vistas of the Steens Mountain range and a soothing soak in the all-natural, nearly-primitive Alvord Desert Hot Springs.

Where is Alvord Desert?

The Alvord Desert is a desert in Harney County, Oregon, in the United States. It is located in southeastern Oregon.

Before we get started, it’s vital to note that while most of the Alvord High Desert is public land, the location of the hot spring is actually private.

Day entrance is $8.00 (current as of March 2018), or you can camp for $20 a night and have access to the pools 24 hours a day.

We recommend staying the night the journey alone is impressive, and you can see the stars while relaxing in the hot springs on a clear night!

Alvord Desert

When is the best time to visit the Alvord desert?

The best time to visit the Alvord Desert is in the fall, as summer is too hot, winter is too cold, and spring is when the area receives the most rainfall, leaving the desert bottom muddy and difficult to navigate.

What to pack for a trip to Alvord desert?

The things that you should pack for a trip to Alvord Desert are as follows:

  • Thermal Underwear
  • Warm sleeping bags
  • An extra blanket
  • Tent
  • Utensils
  • Stove
  • Hiking shoes
  • Flashlight
  • Headlamps
  • A first aid kit
  • Plenty of water
  • Food

Alvord Desert Hot Springs

In southeastern Oregon’s Harney County, the Alvord Desert is an isolated desert. Steens Mountain, which looms over the lake bed to the west of the desert, provides a magnificent backdrop.

Alvord Desert Hot Springs

At the height of around 4,000 feet, the Desert is located (at 1,200 m). There was once a 100-mile-long lake here, but it has since dried up. The Alvord lake Oregon is now a dry lake bed measuring 19 by 11 kilometers and 12 miles long and 7 miles broad.

A Playa is a name given to this type of desert environment. With an annual rainfall of 7 inches (180 mm), it is the driest spot in the state. It’s one of Oregon’s most remote and unusual landforms. It is dry because it is separated from the Pacific Ocean by two mountain ranges: the Coast Range and the Cascade Mountains including Steens Mountain.

Hiking, camping, stargazing, and bathing in eclectic and rustic hot springs are all popular activities while Alvord desert camping.


From either the north (from Burns) or the south (from Alvord), the Fields-Denio Road (East Steens Road) leads to Alvord (from Fields). From the north, go Highway 78 south for about 41 kilometers on the dirt Fields-Denio Road. To get to the Alvord Hot Springs, drive 23 miles north (12 miles paved) from the south.


Fees I’ve read on every blog that day use costs $5-$8. The cost per participant was $20. I’m not sure whether the price varies or if anything has changed since COVID-19, but plan on paying $20 for day use and $40 for camping.


For overnight guests, the hot springs are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When the sun sets, the day’s use comes to a close. We arrived shortly before sunset, and the proprietor was gracious enough to extend our stay.


Water, drinks, propane, snacks, and souvenirs are all available at the front desk. When you first arrive, there is also a bathroom linked to the exterior of the office area.

Alvord Hot Spring Reviews

  • “Just was there and the caretaker charged us 8 dollars apiece!?”
  • “Excellent experience! A must-do.”

Alvord Desert in Winter

Alvord Desert in Winter

The Alvord Basin’s winter temperatures are changeable. The daily average temperature is between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit (4 and 10 degrees Celsius). Temperatures rarely fall below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius). The temperature drops to about 20 and 30 °F (7 and 1 °C) during the night.

Alvord Desert Hot Springs – FAQs

How do you get to the Alvord Desert?
If coming from the north, take the Fields-Denio Road to Alvord, or from the south, take the Fields-Denio Road to Fields. From Highway 76.1, it’s roughly 40 kilometers on unpaved Fields-Denio Road.
Can you drive on Alvord Desert?
You can enter the desert by a number of dirt access roads, one of which is the route from Alvord Hot Springs. This route cost $10 to enter the desert. You might not have to pay to visit the desert if you stay at their campground overnight. You can, however, use one of the public highways.
When should I go to the Alvord Desert?
The best time to visit the Alvord Desert is in the fall, as summer is too hot, winter is too cold, and spring is when the area receives the most rainfall, leaving the desert bottom muddy and difficult to navigate.



I would definitely recommend Alvord Hot Springs and Alvord Desert camping. One day is enough to explore this fantastic place. Here’s an experience I won’t soon forget: a lovely summer night spent stargazing!

If you’re going to put this on your bucket list, go ahead!

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