ROSEBURG, OR – Umpqua National Forest Service staff announced that a temporary gate to the Umpqua Hot Springs, near Toketee, will be closed once the snow falls. The gate is located just past the junction of Forest Roads 34 and 3401, and will be closed to prevent vehicles from getting stuck in the snow on the way to the hot springs.
Visitors planning to soak in the Umpqua Hot Springs should plan to hike, snow shoe, or ski the last 2.5 miles after it snows at the 2,500-foot level. Visitors are cautioned that as snow melts near the gate, often icy roads and snowy conditions exist further up the road to the hot springs.
Closing the gate will address public safety by limiting vehicle access to a parking area at the junction of the two roads. This action comes at the request of the Douglas County Sheriff's office and Toketee residents to reduce adverse impacts on the Sheriff’s office and search and rescue personnel. Douglas County responded to about 165 calls for service at the hot springs from 2003 to 2010, resulting in multiple search-and-rescue calls. In 2011 and 2012 there were a few vehicles that got behind the gate during winter, and got stuck, requiring assistance from Search and Rescue. However, once the gat e was reinforced and remained closed in 2012 “there were no further incidences of vehicles being stuck in the snow on that portion of the road leading to the hot springs,” said Kevin Woods, Lead Developed Recreation Technician.
Visitors are encouraged to be prepared for adverse weather and winter road conditions when heading out to enjoy the winter beauty of the hot springs. “There are no trash receptacles at the site, so, whatever you pack in please pack out, so that we can maintain the beauty of the site,” stated Woods. Temperatures at Umpqua Hot Springs range from 92-102 degrees Fahrenheit.
To find out if the gate has been closed or re-opened as well as local weather and driving conditions, call or visit the Toketee Ranger Station at (541) 498-2531, open Mondays-Fri days, 8 a.m. 4:30 p.m.