Explore the South Central Oregon Outback Written by Mike.G on August 12th, 2012
Summer Lake, Oregon Outback

Summer Lake, Oregon Outback

My spring break was spent in South Central Oregon at Summer Lake Hot Springs. The trip was meant to celebrate my ten year wedding anniversary. My wife picked out the hot springsbecause they are in the middle of nowhere, and our dogs could stay in the cabin with us. I never expected to find the entire region another gem of our state. The area offered an ideal combination of dramatic landscapes and solitude. If you haven’t been to this part of Oregon plan a road trip sometime soon.

Summer Lake Hot Springs is located just north of Paisley, OR. Camping and cabin rentals are available on site. The springs sit just under the Winter Rim near Summer Lake. It is similar to the Alford Dessert Hot Springs which sit below Steens Mountain. The main pool is located in a neat, super old barn style structure. Two outdoor pools are also available for views of the surrounding Mountains and desert.

Running at Cove Palisades

Running at Cove Palisades

The entire region is so huge, and far from any major cities, that we found more solitude than expected. Almost every business was eager to share neat things to see and do since they don’t seem to get enough visitors. We had a hard time picking the best places to hike on our trip down from Portland, and on our trip back. First, I ran the classic Tam-a-lau Trail in the Cove Palisades State Park. Then on our way back we played around at Fort Rock State Park. So many more options are available. We will probably spend a lifetime exploring only a small portion of the area.

If you do plan to take a trip into the Oregon Outback of South Central Oregon, be sure to bring along layerable clothing . The temperatures vary widely. Additionally bring hiking or running shoes , a swim suit , head wear , and sun glasses . Lots of books can give you ideas as to what is available in the region. Just make sure you allow yourself enough time to enjoy settling into the place. Oh, and feel free to keep this place a secret to protect its solitude. I currently feel guilty telling you about it, so heed my warning.

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