Located on the northern end of the Alvord Desert, Mickey Hot Springs are a series of small thermal systems, that can mostly dry up during dry seasons. After wet years and rainfall, the springs transform into an active thermal area with mud pots, steam vents, and the only natural geyser in Oregon. The soil is dusted with sodium borate (Salt Flat), that, according to BLM, is safe for contact. Mickey Hot Springs received national attention in 1992 when the geyser became active and reached a height of 8 feet. Today Mickey has been designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern by the US and placed under the management of the Bureau of Land Management, Burns District.
Mickey Hot Springs is known as Oregon Miniature Yellowstone. The scenes might not be as gigantic as Yellowstone, but watching the colorful hot pools inserted naturally among a series of small boiling mud pots is exceptionally refreshing. Located at the northern edge of the Alvord Desert, to the east of the Steens Mountain, Mickey Hot Springs are among the most notable features of southeastern Oregon.
The best time to see the thermal area in action is springtime, in years when there has been a lot of rainfall. If the time is right, pressure vents hiss with steam, mud pots bubble, steamy creeks flow through the grass, and the mini-geyser releases its power. There are colorful deep rainbow pools of different shapes and sizes (15-20 feet across) with bright yellow-orange edges. The temperature of the clear bubbling water of the pools varies from season to season and can be between 120-206°F (49-97°C). The clear streams running through the mineralizing desert heat up as much as 180°F (82°C).
No service is available in the hot springs area. The closest gas station and store is located in Fields, 39 miles south.
Camping is not allowed within the fenced area, but you can camp at the Mann Lake Recreation Site, 8 miles north of Mickey Springs or anywhere on BLM land in designated camping areas. No drinking water is available, be sure you have enough with you.
Soaking at Mickey Hot Springs is dangerous due to the scalding temperatures and steam. BLM warns that the fragile ground surface could "break under your weight and expose you to boiling water. Injuries and death have occurred to pets and humans". Keep your children and dogs a safe distance away from the thin edge of the hot pools and vents.
Region: Alvord Desert • Eastern Oregon • US
Access allowed: Year-round
Development: Undeveloped, fence
Service: No services are available
Accommodations: Not allowed within Mickey Hot Springs area
Distance from parking: Short
Elevation: 4190 ft (1277 m)
GPS coordinates: 42.6787, -118.348
Phone (BLM): (541)573-4400
Water temperature: 120°F (49°C) - 206°F (97°C)
Water acidity level: weak alkaline (pH=8.1)
Type of spring: sodium bicarbonate chloride with sulfate
Directions to Mickey Hot Springs
From Burns, take OR 78 and follow southeast about 65 miles to Fields-Denio Road (also known as Folly Farm Road and East Steens Road). Turn right onto Fields-Denio Road and continue 31.5 miles south to the junction with the Mickey Hot Springs access road. Turn left and continue 6.9 miles east around the southern edge of Mickey Butte to the parking area near a fence and BLM signboards.
From Fields, take OR 205 North and drive 1.4 miles to Fields-Denio Road. Turn slight right onto Fields-Denio Road and continue 32 miles north to the junction with the Mickey Hot Springs access road. Turn right onto the access road and drive 6.9 miles east around the southern edge of Mickey Butte to the parking area near a fence and BLM signboards.
Fields-Denio Road (East Steens Road) is accessible all year by any types of vehicles but the Mickey Springs road may become impassable during rainfalls.
October 1996. A 35-year-old Kevin Williams, who went to Mickey Hot Springs to watch the lunar eclipse, died from hyperthermia in a southern pool. Spokesman.com
April 2017. Brent Torchio from California received second- and third-degree burns over 20 percent of the body, trying to rescue his dog Remnar. It is unknown if the dog jumped or fell into a near-boiling water of the geothermal spring. The dog died in a few days later in an animal hospital. KTVZ.COM
Whether you're searching for a family hot springs resort or an isolated natural soaking pool, Touring Washington and Oregon Hot Springs, 2nd Edition will guide you to a truly memorable geothermal experience.