Breitenbush Hotsprings * PO Box 578 * Detroit, OR 97342 *www.breitenbush.com
A very restful and relaxing intentional community and resort nestled in the Oregon wilderness. It is a retreat and a conference center that is a worker-owned community specializing in spiritual retreats and holistic healing. Surrounded by the Willamette National Forest, it is indeed a piece of paradise in the woods. It is located 10 miles up in the hills from Detroit, Oregon, and about 50 miles away from the capital of Oregon (Salem). The resort was built atop the natural geothermal springs known as the Breitenbush hot springs, which feed into the Breitenbush River. It’s a serene and beautiful place with great spots for meditation, healing, and contemplation. It certainly gave me the rest and relaxation I needed for the leg of my pilgrimage to Faerieworlds. Unfortunately, I didn’t take many pictures, as I wasn’t sure what the policy was, and I only took pictures when no one was around, which was an extremely rare occasion. Especially since it is also a naturalist resort down by the water at least, which is usually symbolic of no-photography. According to the resort, the springs were a frequent gathering place of local tribes. The tribes were apparently pushed out by Hudson’s Bay Company trappers who homesteaded it in 1904. Merle Bruckman purchased the site in 1927 and created the resort. It closed in 1972 after two devastating floods. It was purchased in 1977 by Alex Beamer, who wanted to host a full-time community on-site.
The community took it over in 1985. The average temperature of the spring’s subsurface is 356 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius), and it contains minerals such as sulfate, calcite, analcime, anhydrite, chalcedony, microcline, muscovite, quartz, wairakite, potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, and lithium. The surface temperature of the springs is about 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius ) – the lower temperature due to heat transfer to a cooler rock near the earth’s surface. The buildings at the Springs are heated from one of two of the wells. The retreat and conference center, founded in 1981, is a very counter-culture popular venue for many events, gatherings, festivals, and holistic/spiritual/New Age retreats. The grounds have springs, spas, hot mud baths, and saunas – plus a river for cooling off – all clothing optional. There are 7 hot tubs, a sauna open to the guests, and a private one for the workers. The sauna is a small wood house with slatted floors over a hot springs creek that sits 12. There are over 20 miles of hiking trails, rustic cabins, a lodger, tent platforms, a meditative labyrinth, a sanctuary, a gift shop, and a conference center. Services include massage, yoga classes, meditation, community vegetarian dinners, and other healing arts. The community is based on sustainability and generates its own hydropower electricity. Cell phones, televisions, and non-satellite radios do not work, and there is no internet. All buildings are heated by geothermal energy. The community runs and manages it year-round, living on the 154-acre site. There are roughly 50-70 community members. New members are accepted by a community consensus after a year of work and paying a deposit. The place is pretty amazing and definitely one of my new hotspots to visit. Rating: 4 stars out of 5. (August 2009) Another visit, this time during winter towards the end of January 2010, I found a very pleasant visit with brisk dips in the hot springs, a steamy sauna, and catching up with friends. The Vegetarian buffet in the main hall was delicious. Definitely a wonderful time. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5. (1/29/2010)