The phrase a new year, a new me has not stood the test of time. Every year optimism begins to bubble up as you think of all the ways you’ll improve. The gym will be swamped, friends will think twice before going out to eat, and you’ll definitely be consistent with a new hobby. Instead of setting expectations you might not make, focus on finding a new adventure.

Eugene is uniquely situated in the Willamette Valley. Drive an hour in any direction and you’ll be sure to stumble onto a natural wonder. The Terwilliger Hot Springs is one of those wonders.

As Highway 126 twists and turns, following the McKenzie river, skeletal trees draped in snow towers of the cars racing along the highway. When the scenic route through the Willamette National Forest is the only one, the hour-long drive goes in no time.

The Terwilliger Hot Springs may have one of the most picturesque parking lots. With views of the Cougar Reservoir and seemingly endless greenery, it is hard to look away. However, once you begin walking to the trail, the Terwilliger Falls cascades down a steep ravine. The sound of the rushing water fills the area. 

To get to the hot springs there is a half-mile hike into the forest. The chances of slipping are much higher in the winter especially if there is snow. Railings provide guidance throughout the way. This quick hike is not overly strenuous, but there are definitely some rolling hills. 

At the springs, it is hard not to gasp. All worries melt away when there is something so striking right in front of you. In the winter, snow-covered trees tower above the springs, insulating them from any wind.

 There are four pools, the warmest reaching about 105 degrees and the bottom pool is about 85. Alongside the pools, there is a small stream that runs parallel and offers cool relief to anyone who is overheating. 

The Terwilliger Hot Springs will provide much-needed warmth in Oregon’s cold and gray winter. When everything around you is covered in snow, warm pools welcome you in. The steam thaws the snowy path around these natural springs. Natural rock formations create waterfalls between each pool, bringing warm water to all. The sulfur-rich waters refresh your skin and can help ease any pain. 

Kayla Krueger went on a day trip to the hot springs and said, “The drive is beautiful and you can really get away from the city and be in nature. The people that operate the hot springs are super nice, and the hike is short but worth it. The pools were so cool. There were multiple, which was nice to avoid overcrowding. Although it was snowy, the hot springs were super warm. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a day of relaxation and adventure.”

Before going to the Terwilliger Hot Springs there are a few important things to keep in mind. There is a 10-dollar entrance fee, this fee will be good for two hours. With a 50-person limit, lines develop during peak times. These times are often in the afternoon on weekends. Going early in the morning will give you better odds. Something to take note of is that this is a clothing-optional space. While many people do wear swimsuits, this is something to keep in mind, depending on your level of comfort. Additionally, the springs are open from sunrise to sunset every day except Thursday.  

As we enter the new year, take advantage of the free time you have. A trip to the hot springs can bring a sense of excitement as well as an opportunity to find peace. Set yourself up for success this year. New adventures can contribute to self-growth and develop connections. Take a day and spend it on yourself.