Ritter Hot Springs, including the hotel and general store (now used as a hotel administration building), has been in operation for over 100 years. The general store's sign boasts of its establishment in 1894. It is one of the only places that is open to the public along this stretch of the Middle Fork of the John Day River. It serves as both a destination for hot spring seekers and a central hub for the community that lives along Ritter Road.
Relaxing in the natural hot springs means crossing the river on a small suspension bridge and walking up the hillside to four small concrete cinder block tubs that are painted blue and earthen-red. The tubs are open to the sky, but they are otherwise enclosed to offer privacy in what is primarily a religiously-minded (and very welcoming) Seventh-day Adventist community. The hot springs also feed the newer and less-sulfuric pool at the hotel, which is open to both visitors and hotel occupants. Visitors can use the hot springs for $3.00 and the pool and hot springs for $5.00.
Every summer, a new caretaker looks after Ritter Hot Springs and stays in one of the hotel rooms. Rooms are often full in the summer, but RV camping is available. The pool is closed from Friday evening through Saturday in observance of the Seventh-day Adventist sabbath.
If you are looking to cool off after your soak, check out the Ritter Road Swimming Hole just down the road.