Juntura (Horseshoe Bend) Hot Springs - Hot Springs in Oregon

A high-altitude desert where various cultures intermingle.

It is a hot spring on an island in a river in the desert.

Cultural Crossroads

At 3,365 miles long, Route 20 is the longest road in the United States.

Entrance 01

Near Juntura in eastern Oregon, an old road runs parallel to the current highway.

Juntura is a small settlement of about 30 people of Irish and English immigrant ancestry.

Entrance 02

"Juntura" means "junction" in Spanish, derived from the fact that the Malheur River branches off in this area.

U.S. Route 20

The first Europeans to visit Oregon were Spanish explorers, so naturally, there is a cultural influence.

Bridge 01

The word "malheur" is derived from the French word malheur (bad luck).

French Canadian trappers and evangelists reached the area in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and many place names are of French origin.

Malheur River 01

Why "bad luck"?

It is said that the furs were hidden near the river, but someone stole them.

A large number of country names appeared.

A true cultural crossroads.

Dirt Road 01

To get to the Juntura Hot Springs, get out of the car at the old road bridge closure and hike 0.5 miles one way.

Topographically interesting, the hot springs are located in the middle of the Malheur River at a point where the river meanders almost 180 degrees.

River Crossing 01

Therefore, it is necessary to walk across the river.

Flows are high throughout the year and are especially dangerous in the spring as the snow melts.

When the dam at Warm Springs Reservoir upstream releases water, the water level rises rapidly.

Malheur River 02

I was ready to give up once I saw the raging river.

However, after witnessing an old woman holding hands with her child successfully crossing the river, I decided to give it a try.

I'm scared.
She was of Mexican descent, by the way.

Hot springs on the river island

Horseshoe Bend 01

The island they crossed in desperation was a barren wasteland.

Horseshoe Bend 02

On the other side of the island, we found what looked like a rock pool buried in weeds.

Hot Pool 04

The mound in the back is said to be a memorial to a young man who drowned in the hot springs in 2005.

Horseshoe Bend 03

The pond over there is the hot spring, but, strangely, it springs on the sandbar.

A concrete slab set up for changing clothes was tilted and buried in the ground.

Hot Pool 01

While the surroundings were muddy, the clarity of the water was impressive.

Water Temp 01

The pond water was 115 degrees F, clear, colorless, tasteless, and odorless.

Hot Pool 02

Due to the high temperatures, it is only possible to soak here during the cooler months.

Riverside Pool 02

Near where the hot water from the spill flowed into the Malheur River, it mixed with the river water and became lukewarm.

A rock pool built by volunteers.

Soaking 01

It was unfortunate that the river water was muddy, but I enjoyed a wild soak.

Riverside Pool 01


Juntura (Horseshoe Bend) Hot Springs, Juntura, Oregon, U.S.

My rating

Type: Undeveloped

Rule: Clothing optional

Chemical use: No

Water temp: Up to 115 degrees F

  • Writer

Hot Springer Ken

A hot spring enthusiast based in Japan. Toured over 300 North American hot springs while working in Texas from 2016 to 2022. For updates, visit X or Instagram!

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