by Joshua Savage
Nothing rejuvenates the mind and body quite like natural hot springs. Oregon is lucky enough to have many of them scattered across the state. Some are popular retreats with yoga classes, restaurants and other luxuries on site. Others are simply small pools with rocks placed around them, barely big enough to sit in.
In Eastern Oregon, about half an hour south of Burns, lies Crystal Crane Hot Springs. Somewhere between extravagant and primitive, this destination has much potential, yet remains nearly perfect as it is now, neither overcrowded nor overpriced and still offering a comfortable getaway.
Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, the oasis sits surrounded by acres of sagebrush. Lodging options like RV sites, tents and minimalist cabins await. If lucky, you might be able to reserve a Tipi or cabin with a personal soaking tub, but then you may never want to leave your lodging and get a chance to meet new, friendly faces of both the staff and other visitors.
The large spring-fed pool is open 24 hours for lodgers. Take a peaceful morning walk around the property where ducks and other birds frolic in nearby ponds. Then, soak in the pool as long as your body allows and return to your lodging for a short nap or rest.
The inviting common area is full of books and board games. Coffee and tea are readily available. Perhaps you will be alone with your thoughts while chilling or possibly the room will be filled with lively conversation, and kids might be playing on the floor nearby with Legos.
Community bathrooms, showers and changing rooms offer privacy near the steaming waters. Guests can better prepare by bringing extra towels, floats for the pool or maybe some glow sticks for the kids. Most of these items can also be rented or purchased at the office.
Unless you plan to leave the property, bring your own food to eat or cook in the kitchen, which is well equipped with essentials and a fridge. The tiny town of Crane (population 129) is less than 10 minutes away. It has a café, but its hours vary. If up for the trip, Burns is only a half hour away. Try the Pine Room, a restaurant that serves oversize portions and has friendly servers.
At night the stars brilliantly illuminate the sky. In the dark High Desert, devoid of city lights, the Milky Way dominates the sky. The bluish neon lights and the rising steam give the pool a cinematic vibe. Guests often sit and chat around fire pits. Sometimes musicians are on site, and other times the landscape remains quiet and empty. Whatever the mood of Crystal Crane, you are sure to find much-deserved relaxation and rejuvenation. Chances are you will return.
Book your visit to Crystal Crane Hot Springs at cranehotsprings.com. Learn more about visiting Harney County in Eastern Oregon at harneycounty.com/7-wonders.