Workamping takes us to some really hidden gems!
Cougar Reservoir is an Army Corp of Engineers impoundment. I guess it’s actually on the Cougar River, which flows into the McKenzie River. You get to it via Hwy 126, the McKenzie Hwy, just east of Blue River, Oregon. Head west toward Cougar Dam. Then continue on Aufderheide Dr to the trail head. It is paved most of the way. One section of road, maybe 50 yards, is gravel with some pretty good potholes. But go slow and hang in there because you are almost there. Although I wouldn’t try it on a snowy day without a 4-wheel drive. Besides, the colder the air temp, the cooler the hot springs get. Maybe its all relative?
In 2012 it will cost $6 per person to go up to the Hot Springs. Or you can buy a Season Pass for $60. Drive past the Fee Booth, across the bridge, to the parking area. The Fee Booth may look different now. They had to rebuild it after vandals destroyed it last summer 😦
Take time to admire the huge waterfall south of the bridge. There will be more photo ops as you traverse the trail to Terwilliger Hot Springs. The trail is a 1/4 mile, moderate, hike through old-growth forest. If you bring a pet, it must be leashed, you’ll have to tie it up in a designated area about 100′ from the springs.
Terwilliger Hot Springs are “clothing optional”. There are several pools; which are cleaned once a week. The springs are closed during cleaning as they must be drained and scrubbed. Signs are posted for the closure. There are 2 vault toilets near the springs. NO ALCOHOL is allowed. Only idiots take glass in the springs. I mean, doesn’t everyone go barefoot?
Personally, I’d like to see them designate certain days of the week where clothing was NOT optional, so families could enjoy them too.