Belknap Hot Springs, on the banks of the upper McKenzie River, is the last of a number of hot springs resorts that were developed as "Mineral Spas" in Lane County in the late 19th Century. Apart from a closure from 1968 to 1978, the resort has operated continuously since it was first developed in the 1870s. Belknap was the last stop on the stagecoach route up the McKenzie River until 1913, when the trip from Eugene took 16 hours. In its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s the resort was visited by Clark Gable and Herbert Hoover.
The spring itself is on the north bank of the river, and the 185-195 degree water is piped across the river and used to heat two soaking pools. The larger pool is on the south bank of the river next to the lodge and is available both to overnight guests and to visitors who can pay by the hour or by the day. The smaller pool is away from the river and is reserved for overnight guests only.
In addition to the hot springs, Belknap offers rooms in the main lodge, private cabins, RV sites, tent camping, and a small general store. There is no restaurant on the premises, although an outdoor food counter occasionally operates in the summer. You will find extensive gardens and numerous short, flat, hiking trails across the river from the lodge. The McKenzie River Trail skirts the resort, offering access to 26 miles of stunningly scenic hiking and mountain biking.
The resort can be crowded during the summer, especially on holiday weekends. Although the rustic resort atmosphere may not appeal to everyone, Belknap is an accessible, family-friendly place to enjoy a hot soak within earshot of the rushing whitewater of one of Oregon's most beautiful rivers.