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For other uses, see Breitenbush (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 44°46′53″N 121°58′33″W / 44.78143°N 121.9758°W / 44.78143; -121.9758

Lodge at Breitenbush Hot Springs

Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat and Conference Center (pronunciation: BRIGHT en BUSH), commonly called Breitenbush Hot Springs or simply Breitenbush (or even "The Bush" by locals), is a worker-owned resort community featuring holistic and spiritual retreats. It is surrounded by the Willamette National Forest in Breitenbush, Marion County, Oregon, United States, 10 miles (16 km) east-northeast of Detroit along the West Cascades Scenic Byway and 12 miles (19 km) northwest of Mount Jefferson. The closest metropolitan area, Salem, is approximately 60 miles (100 km) to the west. The resort is located at the site of the Breitenbush Hot Springs, which drain into the adjacent Breitenbush River.


Breitenbush Hot Springs Hotel

Breitenbush Hot Springs has long been the site of natural geothermal springs. It was a frequent gathering place for local Native American groups.

The hot springs stem from precipitation on the surrounding Cascade Range. Analysis of the mineral and chemical content indicates an average subsurface temperature of 356 °F (180 °C) and a migration time of several thousand years.[1] The water's long contact with aquifer rock at such temperatures saturates it with dissolved minerals such as sulfate, calcite, analcime, anhydrite, chalcedony, microcline, muscovite, quartz, wairakite, and the elements potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, and lithium. The surface temperature of the springs is about 180 °F (82 °C)—the lower temperature due to heat transfer to cooler rock near the Earth's surface.

Heat for the buildings is from one of two wells. To prevent mineral precipitation in the pipes, the wells are fitted with heat exchangers using closed loop water circulation. The drilled wells are approximately 500 feet (150 m) deep and produce circulating water at about 190 °F (88 °C) which is distributed through radiators in each building.


Inside the Lodge at Breitenbush Hot Springs

Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat and Conference Center is known for hosting many counterculture, holistic, spiritual, and New Age retreats; most are open to the public by advance reservation. The current resort has been in operation since 1981; it includes springs and affiliated spas and sauna, which are all clothing optional.

Spread across a meadow overlooking the Breitenbush River and the thickly wooded evergreen hillside are three rock-lined pools that can accommodate six to ten people each; closer to the river, four tiled hot tubs lie in a concrete patio, each comfortably seating four to six people. The temperatures of the hot tubs are regulated, ranging from 101 to 109 °F (38 to 43 °C). A small wooden house with a slatted floor is positioned over a hot springs creek, forming a sauna that seats up to twelve people.

Other features include more than 20 miles (32 km) of hiking trails, a lodge, rustic guest cabins, tent platforms (in summer), a meditative labyrinth, a sanctuary, a gift shop, and a conference center. Guest services include massage, yoga classes, meditation, EDGU, and other healing arts programs.

According to the resort's operators, Breitenbush is focused on sustainability.[2] The resort generates its own electricity (hydropower with diesel back up); appliances such as hairdryers are not permitted. The surrounding mountains prevent operation of cell telephones and reception of non-satellite radio and television. Geothermal energy heats all buildings at the resort; Breitenbush is the largest private geothermal facility in the Pacific Northwest. The resort serves only vegetarian meals (vegan on advance request). Alcohol, recreational drugs, and pets are not permitted.

Occasionally the resort is closed for organized group events. It also closes midweek and some weekends during the late fall, winter, and early spring. Demand is high during the summer—advance reservations of several weeks are frequently needed. Day use, including meals, may be arranged on short notice if the resort is open.


After being encountered by trappers arrived from the Hudson's Bay Company, Breitenbush was homesteaded by Claude Mansfield. The homestead patent was granted on August 16, 1904, by Theodore Roosevelt. Breitenbush was named for one-armed Dutch explorer Peter Breitenbusher.[3]

In 1927, the site was purchased by Merle Bruckman, who constructed the resort and operated it for twenty years. Over the years the site changed hands, closing in 1972 after two devastating floods.

In 1977 Alex Beamer purchased Breitenbush Hot Springs, intending to host a full-time community to operate the resort. The desire of logging interests to exploit Breitenbush timber posed a threat to the site that continued until the Clinton Forest Plan of 1993 designated it a Late Successional Reserve.[4] In 1985, Beamer sold the facility to the community which began hosting resort guests shortly thereafter.[5]


The resort is structured as a worker-owned cooperative whose workers and their families live in community year-round on the 154-acre (0.62 km2) site. The permanent community has 50 to 70 individuals. New members are accepted by community consensus after a year of work and paying a deposit.[5] The community is entirely supported by revenue from resort operations; adult members are expected to contribute by participating in the resort's operation. Pay is less than at similar resorts, but housing, utilities, and food are provided. Member turnover is high, but comparable to other resorts.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Michael Manga, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, California. "Using Springs to Study Groundwater Flow and Active Geologic Processes" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-08-08. 
  2. ^ "Sustainability at Breitenbush". Breitenbush Hot Springs. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Fainberg, Denise. Restored, Naturally. New York Times. 20 Oct. 1996.
  4. ^ Tim McDevitt and Michael Donnelly. "A Natural History of Breitenbush". Retrieved 2006-08-08. 
  5. ^ a b "The Breitenbush Community—Who We Are and What We Do". Retrieved 2006-08-08. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breitenbush_Hot_Springs — Please support Wikipedia.
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494 news items

Statesman Journal

Statesman Journal
Sun, 30 Aug 2015 21:29:27 -0700

The site is called Lower Breitenbush Hot Springs — not to be confused with the privately-owned Breitenbush Hot Springs and Retreat Center less than a mile upstream — and these days it looks like something out of a horror movie. Corroded bathtubs ...

Statesman Journal

Statesman Journal
Thu, 15 Oct 2015 13:04:29 -0700

The future of Breitenbush River's forgotten hot springs will begin to take shape during a meeting in Gates next week. Once home to a resort bathhouse and 35 cabins, the facilities at Lower Breitenbush hot springs were abandoned in 1979 and have fallen ...

Statesman Journal

Statesman Journal
Wed, 04 Nov 2015 13:37:23 -0800

DETROIT — The future of Lower Breitenbush Hot Springs is beginning to take shape. In online surveys and at meetings, more than 100 people provided input on how the U.S. Forest Service should rehabilitate the troubled site on the banks of Breitenbush ...


Fri, 05 Feb 2016 11:07:30 -0800

Oregon. A scenic view from the hot springs at Breitenbush Hot Springs and Retreat Center in Oregon. Susanne Brent/Special for The Republic. A rock concert in Place de la Bastille in Paris. Paris. A rock concert in Place de la Bastille in Paris. Rebecca W.
Jefferson Public Radio
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 13:33:26 -0800

Mahogany Aulenbach, who lived at Breitenbush Hot Springs, first visited the area in 1986. He backpacked into the area and was intrigued enough by what he saw to continue his exploration over the years. A couple of trips later, he and friends Reed ...


Tue, 05 May 2015 11:56:15 -0700

It's an age old tradition. From Japan to Iceland to the dusty backcountry of the American west, people have been soaking up the geothermal magic provided by wild hot springs since time immemorial. Interested in taking the ancestral dip? These wild hot ...

The Seattle Times

The Seattle Times
Sun, 23 Jun 2013 09:14:38 -0700

Breitenbush Hot Springs. Somewhere between camping and Belknap Hot Springs, philosophically, is Breitenbush Hot Springs, a lightly developed resort catering to health-conscious folks seeking a retreat. The resort has charming 1930s-era wood-shingled ...

Statesman Journal

Statesman Journal
Fri, 07 Nov 2014 21:03:48 -0800

BREITENBUSH HOT SPRINGS. This wonderful local spot northeast of Detroit is a favorite among Salem residents and those seeking to unplug. The Meadow Pools are lined in smooth river rocks and four spiral hot tubs offer varying temperature. Day use is ...

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