7-Day Forecast for Scenic Hot Springs Area (2,900 ft near beginning of Trail Head)


Great news!!!! Scenic Hot Springs is once again finally back open for regular general reservations. This means that we are once again allowing the communal use of our soaking tubs as they were meant to be the same time by separate groups of people. For those of you who have waited long and patiently to reschedule your cancelled visit during the initial 2020 shutdown, you are more than welcome to finally reschedule your missed visit. Get your visit request or reschedule request in as our calendar will fill quickly once word spreads we have reopened for regular visits again.


Request For Access - 2022

For those of you not familiar with Scenic Hot Springs, here is a link to a very well done video filmed by some of our guests. Scenic Hot Springs is located on forty acres of private property in-holding, bounded on all four sides by National Forest near Stevens Pass.  This private property has been dedicated to remain in as pristine a state as possible while still providing an opportunity for people to enjoy the unique relaxing and therapeutic experience of soaking in natural hot springs.

Scenic Hot Springs is nudity-friendly, as is typical of wilderness-situated rustic hot springs.  You may wear as much or as little clothing for your comfort as you wish within the property (including the trails and springs area).  However, lewd activity (or any activity that discomforts others) will not be tolerated and will result in your expulsion from the property without recourse.

Scenic Hot Springs request for permission to visit.

We have an availability calendar in the right-hand side bar of our website. Our maximum number of permitted daily guests is 10 people. Groups of 8 or more we require an exclusive access reservation to be made in order to visit.
  We operate on a first come-first served basis and we do not hold space until you have booked and confirmed your reservation. That being's best to reserve space as soon as you hear back that it is available.

Copy steps 1 through 3 of this text and send it with the requested info, along with a statement saying you and your guests have read and agree to abide by the Conditions of Access. Then make a contribution of $10 a person per day via PayPal through our website    
Forward us a copy of your transaction receipt from PayPal when completed. When all this is verified we will email you permission to access the property.

To gain access:

Step One: READ THE CONDITIONS OF ACCESS FOLLOWING THIS SECTION BEFORE ASKING IF IT WOULD BE POSSIBLE TO VISIT. Supply the following information in an email to Be sure to include a statement saying that you and your guests have read and agree to abide by the Conditions of Access required to visit Scenic Hot Springs.

Name of Responsible Party: _______________________________
Contact Phone #:_________________
Emergency Contact #: _____________
Desired Date & Time of Visit: ___________________ 
Number of People:_________

Include a statement saying that you and all the members of your group have read and will abide by the Conditions of Access while visiting  Scenic Hot Springs.

Step Two: Give back. If the date you requested is available, make a contribution via the PayPal button on the Scenic website at to help offset maintenance costs. Give a least a few days advance notice to process your request. If short notice request, make sure to email a copy of the completed PayPal transaction to to expedite the process.

A contribution ($10 a person per day) of $___________ ,

Supply the make, color and license number of the vehicle you plan on using:

Step Three: We will email you permission good for only the day you request.

In the event you decide to reschedule your reservation, we require a minimum of 24 hours advance notice prior the date of your scheduled visit. Contributions are non-refundable.

By going through the above steps you acknowledge that you have read the Conditions of Access below and that you and all members of your party agree to accept them. You also acknowledge that you are 18 or older.

Conditions of Access

Scenic Hot Springs is PRIVATELY OWNED PROPERTY and you must agree to abide by the owner’s wishes, terms, and conditions, prior to being granted conditional access. Submitting an application for a reservation constitutes acceptance of the following terms and conditions:

1) You acknowledge the rugged nature of the terrain you wish to visit and the nature of soaking in natural hot springs. You understand that the hot springs are not chlorinated and that sanitary conditions can not be guaranteed in such a primitive location. You will be appropriately prepared for changing and unpredictable weather conditions as well as steep, rough terrain. You assume for yourself and your guests, any and all risks, implicit and explicit, while on the property known as Scenic Hot Springs. Your guests, by accompanying you, acknowledge and accept these risks and likewise release the owner and stewards from any and all liability.

2) Minors under the age of eighteen (18) must be accompanied by a legally-responsible adult guardian. Parents or guardians are responsible to control the behavior of their children.

3) No children under the age of six (6). Young children do not have a fully developed thermoregulatory system, making soaking in the hot temperatures of the hot springs a potential danger of hyperthermia or heat stroke with few warning signs.

4) The pools are for soaking. Do not horseplay, wrestle, or dive in the pools! Keep your head above water to avoid inadvertently inhaling water and the algae present in all natural hot springs.

5) Do not soak in the pools if you have open sores, an infectious skin condition, or suffer from intestinal distress. These pools are communal and you have a responsibility to fellow soakers. Make restroom breaks before entering pools. Rinse yourself off before entering pools.

6) No Nighttime Soaking: Myself, and my guests will be OFF THE SITE before sunset. For our purposes, sunset is defined as the moment the sun dips below the mountain ridgelines as seen from the springs. Give yourself adequate time to be off the property before darkness descends abruptly in the deep canopy of the trail.

7) No Fires or Campfires: I understand that this is a fire restricted area.

8) No Dogs or other pets, No Camping, No Firearms, No Glass Containers, No exceptions.

9) Alcohol in moderation (preferably none). If your alcohol comes packaged in a glass bottle, transfer it to a shatter proof container.

10) Respect the site by soaking quietly and respectfully of other soakers who may be up there.

Stay on the trails and take all litter out with you, leaving the site clean. Clothing optional is the norm and you should expect that you will experience nudity in the pools and often on the trail up. Lewd behavior, however, is not tolerated.

Winter Conditions (Additional Requirements)

During winter conditions the owner and the stewards of Scenic Hot Springs reserve the right to close access to the property when conditions, in our sole judgment, are too dangerous. Anyone who has a Scenic Hot Springs reservation during winter conditions is required to check the Scenic Blog just prior to heading out for closures. In the event of a closure, any guests who have reservations for that date will be given an opportunity to reschedule for a future visit. 

During winter cold weather conditions, visitors are expected to carry sufficient clothing and survival supplies in the event you are stranded by deep snowfall or a sudden change in weather.

1) Practice layering of your clothing. Do not wear cotton as cotton, wet, saps body heat. Wear a hat and gloves, as needed.
2) Carry three days worth of food. Keep yourself hydrated.
3) Carry at least three different ways of lighting a fire in an emergency.
4) Carry your cell phone. Cell phones often work at the hot springs site.
5) Snow can get very deep at Scenic during the height of winter, making snowshoes an essential.

Scenic also has steep slopes that may present snow-slide hazards in addition to severe icing of the trail. Spikes and/or crampons may be necessary.

Large Bookings & Exclusive Access

A request for access does not grant your party exclusive use of the springs. Your request simply allows you access during the daylight hours of the day you want to reserve. On busy days, such as weekends, you may be sharing the hot spring pools with other groups. To reserve individual time-slices for reservations is unworkable and limits enjoyment of the springs.

However, on occasion we will allow a large group to have Exclusive Access to the springs if there are not already existing requests or reservations. We generally do this for cultural, social and fraternal groups. If you would like to reserve Exclusive Access to the springs for your group, contact the stewards directly with the following considerations:

1. The contribution for an Exclusive reservation is $150. We will not make or accept any other reservations for that date.
2. Consider how you will make parking arrangements as we cannot allow unsupervised vehicle access beyond the gate. It is suggested that your group take full advantage of car-pooling.
3. We will supply you with Hot Springs Closure signs to post at the gate to deter casual trespassers but we cannot guarantee that trespassers will not try to crash your party. You will however have your confirmation email to show to trespassers and urge them to leave.
4. If there is time, one of the stewards will siphon and flush the pools in advance of your visit; and also post signs.

During the pre-permit phase, Scenic Hot Springs is not a commercial, for-profit venture. The cost of ongoing maintenance, clean-up, and county-mandated control of access is partially offset by donations by those who request and would like to visit that keep the site available, controlled, and maintained.

Your request will be determined primarily on your attitude, on acceptance of the Conditions of Access, on the number of pending requests, and our ability to maintain reasonable conditions (and conditions depend highly on contributions). If we, as stewards, are unable to control access or the conditions of the site due to inadequate contributions, then we must restrict access severely......we are, after all, not required to grant access to anyone. Your donations keep Scenic open.


Black Bear up at Scenic

A black bear
One of our groups headed up to the hot springs was spooked by the sight of a black bear on the property .this past week

Black bears are common on the lower slopes of the Cascades . . . and Scenic is no exception.  Bears are territorial and over the years the lower slopes below Scenic have shared the area with noisy humans and a bear just trying to get enough food to feed her cubs.  The lone bears . . . female . . . have denned in the lower areas north of the clearcut.  Every couple of years we are blessed with sighting of cubs or yearlings.

Momma Bear likes to either tear up tree stumps for insects in the clearcut . . . or head up higher in search of berries.  As an aside, the areas slightly west toward Scenic Creek have a bonanza of huckleberries later on in the summer.

Backwoods etiquette makes sense.  Scenic is back country and you should be prepared.
  • Strong scents and food odors attract bears. Perfumes and scented sun screens are a no-no.
  • Bears avoid the areas of the trail and pools - they smell us. Occasionally you might see a bear crossing the trail. The bear is just taking a shortcut when it doesn't think any of us are around.
  • Talk to each other on the trail.  The bear will here the noise and most likely be gone before you know it was there.
  • If you are feeling really nervous, invest in bear spray (available at REI  and other outdoors stores).
  • If confronted by a bear, stand tall, make noise, and slowly back away.  Do not run . . . that does nothing but excite the chase reflex.

All in all, bears avoid us (or ignore us) with a live and let live attitude.  Give them their space and you'll do fine. 


Scenic HS is Soakable Once More


You guys (and gals) are great!  A great turnout for the event to repair the storm damage to the hot springs.  We now have the full soak back for reservations.  And to the tireless individuals who solely made these repairs possible . . . there are complimentary soaks.  Details following to participants.

So . . . Scenic is open.  Go ahead with your requests.


Work Party this Saturday

Looks like we might have a pretty good turn-out this Saturday (May 14th).  If necessary, we will be having another follow-up event on May 21st . . . the following Saturday.

As I'm under a modified bed rest regimen following my brain radiation, I (Rick) will not be there in  person with you; but I will be in spirit.  I am going to spend my time sending out complimentary passes to those who  helped so much to get this repair effort underway.  And don't forget, work party attendance goes toward earning those complimentary passes, as well.


Repair Party this coming May 14th, 2016

The first of (we hope only one or two) work parties to restore the hot spring pool up at Scenic is planned for Saturday, May 14th at 10:00 am.  We need as many volunteers as possible to work together to get supplies up the mountainside.

The gate will be opened by Matt at 10am.  Those who have 4wd and some clearance may proceed into the clearcut.  There is some rough erosion just past the gate.  If you bring and aze and/or shovel, we can collapse most of the ruts so that normal cars can make it into the clearcut for parking.

Most of the effort will be physical by with enough helpers, very much doable.  At the end of the day we may be able to get a partial soak going.  As anyways, volunteers are welcome to camp overnight.

Please RSVP to  so we know what to expect.


Scenic Repair Goals and Thank Yous

Thank you everyone
for meeting our goals
Thank you to everyone who has donated so far to meet our estimated repair costs for Scenic Hot Springs.  The planned repairs are not complicated, but they are (or will be) labor-intensive.  So we also look forward to seeing many of you (donating or not) at the work parties . . . once we schedule them.

Meanwhile I am going to follow a suggestion from one of our regular supporters, Chris K., whom suggests I post an explicit reward list.  So, here it is:
  • Trail Detail (help with hauling): Comp visit for one
  • Two Work Sessions (on site help) 2 Comp visits for two
  • Three Work Sessions:  Season Pass for 2 (thru March 2017)
  • $50 Donation:  3 Comp visits for 2
  • $100 Donation:  Season Pass for 2
These comp rewards do not alleviate the need to obtain advance permission and may not be used on dates of Private Events, full capacity, or reserved events.


An Appeal for Scenic Hot Springs

Scenic Hot Springs remains closed through the month of May, 2016.

As many of you know, the freakish late autumn/winter rain storms last year did major damage to Scenic Hot Springs. The torrents of groundwater produced by a series of torrential downpours coming down from higher elevations reeked damage to both the sources and the pools such that they are unsoakable in their present state. 

We have had a chance to access the damage now that the snows are finally gone and we have come up with an approach that will not only bring Scenic back to us but will make the soak even better. However, any plan we come up with is going to be expensive . . . so that is where you come in.

Donate to the Cause
Your stewards can’t handle the cost alone . . . we’re volunteers as well! But fifty or a hundred Hot Spring Lovers donating $20 apiece . . . or $50 apiece will help tremendously in reaching our goal of $1,000 to cover the costs of needed supplies to repair Scenic Hot Springs for soaker’s and hot spring lovers like you.

Natural hot springs within an hour or two drive of major metropolitan areas are few and far between in Washington State. Scenic (as it's name implies) is a superlative soak, easy to get to, and yet still a wilderness hot spring, and certainly scenic with it's view over the Skykomish valley far below. It is worth saving and only you can help save Scenic Hot Springs.

Tranquil, heated spring waters with a view over valley and mountain.
Won't you help brings Scenic Hot Springs back for enjoyment?

Volunteer to Help Repair Scenic
This is not what I envisioned for the first work party of the year but what better service to the Hot Springs Goddesses than to pull on a pair of work gloves and actually participate in hauling supplies, repairing, and bringing Scenic back. We are tentatively planning the first of a number of parties within a week or two (watch the blog for dates). Why don’t you volunteer for one, or two work parties . . . or all of them? Better yet why don't you volunteer AND donate?

What’s in it for You
• Scenic and all it’s beauty is restored for those who respect and honor these hot springs,
• Donors and volunteers will be given preferential treatment to access a repaired Scenic. Commensurate with the help or support received, Passes and Season Passes will be given to those who help the most.

Donation is easy. There is a PayPal link in the sidebar of the Scenic blog ( Simply click it and donate today. We must move fast as supplies must be ordered and the logistics of getting everything in place for a repair party planned soon.

Sincerely, your Stewards,

Matt and Rick


Scenic Hot Springs is CLOSED for the winter

Unfortunately both of the hot springs pools suffered major damage just days before the Winter snow started falling. Because of this we have had to close the hot springs for the rest of the Winter until we can repair the damage after snow melt.  At that time we will have to HAND-CARRY all the supplies necessary to make repairs.  This cannot be done with spring snow still on the trail. That means we will not be honoring any request to visit Scenic. 

We have been receiving a number of requests to snowshoe at Scenic.  Might I suggest that the Surprise Creek area is a better choice for snowshoeing at this time.  We have had reports of jury-rigging temporary pools at the spring site with evidence of snowshoers involved.  Any tampering or modification of the springs just to satisfy a desire to soak regardless of Scenics' plight, will not be tolerated.  If you are caught up there without permission we will press 1st Degree Trespass charges.  Now is not the time to further degrade the condition of the hot springs with your short-sighted modifications.

That being said, I do appreciate all the well-wishing and offers to help out.  We will be posting several events this coming springs to repair and bring the springs back for your enjoyment.  Repairs are going to be expensive . . . if you would like to donate toward repairs we would appreciate it greatly.  And we will remember thos that help out.


Scenic Hot Springs is CLOSED for the winter!

The short window of opportunity to get supplies up to the springs and make repairs has closed without our being able to finish.  The hot springs remain severely damaged and unsoakable.  The best we can accomplish right now is to take matters to minimize further erosion and damage.  We have made the decision to keep Scenic Hot Springs closed for the rest of the winter season and attempt repairs in April or May after most of the winter snow has melted.


Scenic Hot Springs is closed indefinitely

UPDATE 11-29-15:  Mike (the owner) and the stewards are agreed on a temporary repair to allow soaking over the winter months.  However, this depends on the weather cooperating and getting materials for the fix up the mountainside. We hope to try this coming Tuesday or Wednesday and can use some helping hands.  Volunteers?

Damage to the pools is severe and beyond a quick fix at this time.  As of right now the hot spring pools are completely unsoakable.  We will not approve or accept any future requests for permission until repairs can be accomplished . . . probably not until after the spring thaw when we can work on the structure.

If there are any of the original builders of the tubs still following Scenic (Chuck?  Bear? Dale?) we could use your expertise and thoughts.


Scenic Hot Springs is Closed for Storm Damage Assessment

"US 2 Both Directions - Update 6:29 AM : On US 2 eastbound & westbound at Skykomish (MP 49) to Deception Falls (MP 59) all lanes are blocked due to storm damage. Currently there is no estimated time of reopening. Drivers are advised to use alternate routes. 
Last Updated: 11/19/2015 6:31 AM
From milepost 48 to milepost 59"

Update on Highway 2:  One lane has been reopened for traffic . . . traffic one way at a time with 20 to 30 minutes delays.  Both lanes are expected to be reopened by Tuesday.  

Loss of foundation under bridge at MP 54
Photo Seattle Times

Update on the Hot Springs:
They are still closed.  As soon as we can assess and repair we'll post here and resume allowing visits.

This last storm going through the Cascades has closed Highway 2, including our access to the hot springs.  We know there is reported damage but we yet can not get up there to assess what that damage is.  Therefore, Scenic Hot Springs is closed for the immediate future.  When we know the situation and can repair it we will reopen the springs and post such to this blog.


Weather in Transition

Major rain storms are peppering the slopes of the Cascades. We are in transition . . . soon to be buried in a wintry snowfall. What can we expect?

Rain This Week

We have had our fair share of rain in the Cascades the past few weeks . . . and it seems that trend will continue for at least until late Sunday. Snow levels are projected to stay around the 6,000 feet range. The hot springs lie at 3,500 ft so whatever falls is going to fall as rain.


Stevens Pass has flirted a couple of times with significant snowfall, only to revert back to the rain pattern. Stevens is at 4,000 feet, only another 500 feet higher than Scenic. Snow is close to dusting the slopes of Scenic.

Snow, Snow, Snow

2015-2016 is an El Nino year. Some NOAA models suggest that the Pacific Northwest will experience a warmer and drier that normal winter. Anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise and many of us believe the west slopes of the Central Cascades (where Scenic is) will experience a heavier than normal winter. If (and when) that happens is anybodys' guess but snow is coming and we need to be prepared for it.

Just before the trail head a few years past  . . . got your snowshoes?  It got much deeper.

The record is marked on a tree near the springs. That marker (from 1996) is easily 20 feet off the ground. We used to carve out snow tunnels on our way up to Scenic.

How the Hot Spring Sources are affected

There are two pools at the main spring site. These two pools are fed from two separate sources about twenty feet apart but routed entirely different. Lobster Pot is the hotter of the sources, running 110 to 118 degs F. The other pool is fed from the Bear Den sources, with a little less flow and temperatures five degrees cooler.

Lobster Pot is a shallow running spring fissure. It is extremely sensitive to ground water resulting from heavy rains (in autumn) and snow melt (in springtime). Once air temperatures start to drop below freezing, ground water locks up and does not affect the Lobster Pot feeds through the winter. Of course, spring brings snow melt and returning ground water flows mixing and cooling Lobster Pot to unacceptable soaking temperatures. But during the height of winter Lobster Pot is glorious hot and wonderful.

Bear Den spring sources emit from a fissure beneath a massive jut of bedrock and are thus insulated from incidental mixing with ground water. The result is that the Bear Den temperatures and flows are stable throughout the year. Lobster Pot may be five degrees hotter but Bear Den will hold its temperature year round while Lobster goes cold through much of the spring snow melt.

Be prepared for Backwoods Winter Weather

That same year the Cascades set snowfall records a drunk and wired visitor went up to the hot springs in the middle of the night (2am'ish) with a couple of his friends. He wore little more than a teeshirt and threadbare sneakers. A fairly moderate snow storm was happening and tracks were quickly filled in. This visitor fell behind his friends (who made it to the springs and partied hard) and then became confused as the heavy snowfall obliterated the track and their footsteps. He missed the switchback and wasn't found until days later . . . fortunately alive. The Seattle PI hailed him as a hero . . . I consider him an idiot. He was totally unprepared for the weather and in no condition to be out there anyway. He caused a massive Search and Rescue response and probably one of the first nails in the coffin of Scenic Hot Springs of old.

Snow Shoes: Heavy snow can start falling on Scenic with little notice because of the nature of the wind and cloud patterns funneling through Steven Pass nearby. At the height of winter, snowshoes are almost always needed for deep snow. Higher on the trail snowshoes give some added stability on the steepening slope that is often capped with six to eight feet of packed snow. If you buy . . . or rent snow shoes, consider alpine mountain snow shoes that allow easier stepping on inclines.

Added Traction: The slopes on the trail to Scenic get icy . . . especially in the early winter before heavy snows set in . . . and later on in the season when warming temperatures partial melt and then refreeze a surface layer. There is one short section of trail averaging 50 degs of slope. This section can become a literal ice chute in late winter/spring. Consider carry some form of added traction. Crampons are probably overkill . . . a cheap (and easy to don) pair of YakTrax are a surefire way to feel a little more secure on these steeper sections.

What to Wear and Pack

Needless to say, sneakers are not best choice in the cooling temperatures of autumn through winter. Get a good pair of hiking boots with deep, winter-style tread. Clothing should likewise reflect what weather expectations are going to be. Avoid cotton because cotton, when wet, saps body heat at a high rate.  Wool, by contrast, insulates even if wet.

Always keep in mind that weather can turn on a dime in the mountains. Dress in layers . . . you can always add or remove a sweater or windbreaker as necessary when the exertion levels of hiking or temperatures change. Wear a hat! 50% of our body heat is lost through the scalp.

The traditional Ten Essentials are:

1. Navigation: Map and compass.

2. Sun protection: Sunscreen, SPF lip balm and sunglasses.

3. Insulation: Enough clothes to keep you warm if you have to stay the night.

4. Illumination: Flashlight or headlamp, plus spare batteries and bulbs or a backup device.

5. First-aid supplies.

6. Fire: Two butane lighters or waterproof matches.

7. Repair kit and tools: Knife or multitool.

8. Nutrition: Food and emergency food in case you have to stay the night or longer.

9. Hydration: Two quarts of water for a day hike and a water purifier for long trips.

10. Emergency shelter: Tent, tarp, emergency blanket or even a trash bag.

The Winter Ten Essentials: These go beyond the traditional Ten Essentials recommended by the Forest Service. They do not take up that much more weight in your pack but if you are stranded overnight you will be glad you carried them.

1. Rain gear: Waterproof rain gear, including pants, really should be in your pack all year long, but especially in winter, not just to keep out moisture, but to block brutal winter winds, which can be shockingly cold in exposed conditions.

2. Dark sunglasses: Shades are important in summer, but they're actually more important in winter if you're traveling on snow or ice. Bring your darkest shades in winter when sunlight reflected off snow can be blinding, even on cloudy days.

3. Extra light: With so few hours of daylight available this time of year, you're far more likely to end up staying outside after dark. It can be surprisingly hard to see, especially at dusk, in the shadows of the mountains. Everyone in your party should have a flashlight or headlamp and backup devices, too, in case a battery or bulb dies in the cold. Illumination is part of the traditional 10 essentials, but it often gets left behind.

4. Snow shovel: You never know what lies beneath those serene mounds of snow. Streams, logs and other obstacles can easily hide and make what seems like flat ground quite unstable. One wrong step and you can posthole through the surface, even if you're wearing snowshoes. If you find yourself waist deep in water or snow a shovel is a far better tool than your bare hands for digging out.

Outfitters make a variety of small but effective backcountry shovels that are light and compact enough to fit inside a medium-sized backpack, such as a SnowClaw. In an emergency, you could use the shovel to make a shelter.

5. Sit pad: Sitting on a cold rock or icy snow can sap your warmth in minutes. Bring a lightweight foam sit pad, such as a ThermaRest Z seat so you have a soft, warm spot to sit during breaks . . . or as you pull on your shoes after soaking.

6. Hand warmers: You've heard stories of winter travelers losing fingers and toes to frost bite. Give yourself and edge with disposable hand warmers. If you get cold feet, opt for toe warmers that last six or more hours and stay put in your boots thanks to adhesive backing.

7. Extra socks: If you accidentally step into a creek and fill your boot with water, you can minimize the discomfort with a dry pair of wool socks. Wool, even when wet, can keep you warm, unlike cotton.

8. Extra hat and gloves: Both these items can become easily soaked in rain and sodden snow. Bring extras in zip-close bags just in case. Avoid cotton.

9. Thermos: Warm up from the inside out with an insulated container of hot cocoa, coffee or even soup for comfort and extra body heat. Carrie Strandell with the Everett Mountaineers recommends bringing a backpacking stove so you can make extra hot drinks or instant soup.

10. Good judgment: Sometimes the best winter essential you can have is the ability to turn back or not set out at all when conditions are not safe, said Everett Mountaineer Mike Mashock. Knowing the mountain weather is important when venturing out, he said.

Adapted from The Mountaineers

Hypothermia:  What Is It?

Okay . . . some boring stuff but stuff that really is important. 

Acclimatization to cold weather is a 'learned' response over time. The Inuit of the arctic have a markedly lower core body temperature to what we consider normal (95F to our 98.6F) and have tuned their basal metabolism and circulation to be as efficient as ours at this lower temperature. They can withstand cold temperature far more efficiently than us 'southerners' can.

The metabolic response to temperature changes is a complicated one. Simply stated, we, as warm-blooded beings, can only burn fuel (food) for cell energy within a narrow range of temperatures . . . the core body temperature. Our body will go to great biologic and physiological extremes to maintain that core body temperature. Understanding this metabolic response is important to knowing your limitations and the dangers hypothermia represent . . . especially to a hot spring soaker exposed to the elements. Acclimatization increases your metabolic efficiency and allows you to stay warm for longer periods of time. Remember, clothing does not warm your body . . . clothing simply reduces the loss of body heat. Any and all heat you experience (short of warming yourself by a fire or slipping into a hot spring pool) is generated by your metabolic processes burning the fuel (the food your eat) into energy. Know the signs of hypothermia and your limits: 

  • Your skin tightens upon exposure to cold; body hairs stand on end to more effectively trap an insulating layer of air next to the skin, 
  • Blood vessels initially dilate under the exposed skin surfaces, warming the skin and giving the rosy-cheeks syndrome. As more heat is lost, this process shuts down; 
  • Goosebumps form and tiny, consciously-controllable shivering may commence; 
  • The skin becomes a pasty white . . . chalky in later stages; blood supply to shell skin areas and extremities is reduced. Shivering becomes more intense as the body fights to maintain the inner core temperature of the internal organs and the brain. You are entering Stage 1 Hypothermia; 
  • Arterial shunting reduces blood flow to the extremities, leading to cramping and uncoordinated use of leg and arm muscles. Shivering becomes continuous, tiring and intense. You are in Stage 2 Hypothermia and need to preserve the remaining body warmth before you lose the ability to act; 
  • Violent, uncontrollable shivering ceases as the body preserves even this expenditure of scarce energy to keep the heart, lungs and brain warm and functional. You are disoriented to the point of not even being aware of the cold, tired and wanting to sit down and sleep. You are in Stage 3 Hypothermia and in a medical emergency. Your body is losing it's ability to produce heat and will slip rapidly into a fatal coma. 

Know the signs and progression of impending hypothermia. Shivering when cold is normal . . . violent shivering that is impairing and beyond your control is a serious warning sign that you've passed your limits.

We mention hypothermia because it does happen.  A potentially serious situation occurred a few years back just after the current owner took over Scenic. Mike and Matt were on their way up to the springs to evaluate options when they came across a young boy dragging his incapacitated father back down the mountainside. They got them into the owners' truck and down to safety.

After warming up, the story of these intrepid trespassers came out. They had gone up the night before and set about a long soak in the pools. While there nightfall arrived.  It started snowing again . . . and soon, the return path back was completely hidden. They went back to the springs and got back in to stay warm. In the morning they made an attempt to hike out. Unfortunately, their clothes (cotton, by the way) were frozen solid with snow and ice. Partway down the mountainside the father collapsed. Mike and Matt found them and they survived. But it could have been bad.


Heavy Rains, Lower Pool Temps in Lobster Pot

The recent heavy rains have affected the Lobster Pot hot spring source and that pool has gone cold while ground water runoff mixes with those sources.

The other pool is fed by a different set of sources and is resistant to such changes.

These changes require us to limit the number of visitors to no more that six per day.

Once the heavy rains stop . . . or the snow level drops to lock up ground water, the Lobster Pot sources will recover quickly.


Winter Storm Watch

242 PM PDT FRI OCT 30 2015

242 PM PDT FRI OCT 30 2015









Clean Up Event this Saturday

Last chance to sign up scenichotsprings at gmail dot com  You must RSVP if you want to join in . . . no gate-crashers!

Saturday starting at 11 am, we will escort cars through the gate to more safely park further in under observation.

You can participate Saturday, Sunday, or both days.  Get your camping gear and camp near the springs, enjoy a warm, toasty campfire (complete with s'mores) and soak under the magical stars.

We plan on feeding you . . . cheeseburgers and snacks for Saturday's meal . . . eggs, sausages, potatoes for Sunday breakfast.  Bring a snack item to share ...

Okay, you get to soak, camp, and enjoy like-minded hot spring lovers.  What's the catch?

Well . . . we want to clear culverts to prevent the inevitable snow melt runoff in the spring . . . we want to clear back vegetation now before it gets out of hand in the spring.  Nothing arduous (unless we find another tree down on the road).  What we need is:

  • Trimmers, clippers, gas brush cutters

  • Azes, picks, shovels for those culverts

  • A chainsaw or two

So . . . are you up to giving Scenic Hot Springs some TLC?


Avoiding Car Break-ins

Although law enforcement and Forest Service rangers do patrol for trailhead crime, there are simply too many trailheads in the Olympics and Cascades to cover effectively.  The best way to prevent trailhead crime is to be aware at the trailhead and eliminate potential for pay off. Some recommendations:

  • Strip your car clean before heading to the trailhead. If you don’t have this option, hide everything in your trunk or out-of sight before arriving at the trailhead.
  • When you arrive at the trailhead, be leery of any stranger who engages you in friendly conversation. If this is unavoidable, follow your gut instinct. If the encounter seemed out-of-place, hang around the trailhead and observe, or start your hike, then come back in a few minutes to check.

  • Although you should always be cautious, if you see someone out-of-place at a trailhead, take their picture, preferably with their license plate together. I have done this twice, and both times it sparked an angry response which just further confirmed my belief. Remember to be defensive and keep yourself safe first, if you choose to do this.
  • Never hide wallets, purses, or expensive electronics in your car. Take them with you. Take no chances with these valuables.
  • If you witness a car prowler in progress, do not approach them. This can quickly become a dangerous situation. Instead, observe the crime from a safe distance gathering all the information, and pictures, as possible.
  • If you are an avid hiker, consider getting a trailhead car. Any old beater makes a great trailhead car—the more worthless, the better. Strip it clean and leave the doors unlocked without worry. Take your oldest, beat-up vehicle to leave at the parking area. Or get a ride to and from the trailhead (better to pay someone for the ride then to pay lots of money for a broken window or lose money to stolen items). 

  • Another option is to look for alternative parking near to the trail and get a ride up or walk to the trailhead.   The BNSF staging area near Scenic parking, for example. 
  • Consider leaving the car unlocked to avoid windows being broken (though most safety sites advocate locking it). But with that said, if you do choose to leave it unlocked, leave NOTHING valuable in the car! Take ALL ID, loose change (conceal change under a rock at the trailhead if you forget to take it out at home), and take wallet, cell phone, IPOD, etc with you. Better yet, leave everything at home you can't carry with you in your backpack or day pack. Locking items in the trunk doesn't mean the thieves can't force the trunk open or break a window to get at it. 
  • Leave some unsavory items on the seat and / or back window to discourage thieves. Underwear. Dirty socks. Grungy clothes, etc.
  • Always report car break-ins to the police whether you plan to make an insurance claim or not. It helps them pinpoint crime patterns and unsecure trailheads.


Scenic Hot Springs Clean Up Event Oct 17-18th, 2015

Though Scenic is private the springs rely on its' friends and volunteers to help keep the property clean and maintained for the enjoyment of lovers of hot springs.  The stewards now invite you to join us for one last clean up event before winter snows set in.

  • We will review and clear any culverts that in our opinion might lead to blowouts and damage to the BPA road surface and Scenic trail during the eventual spring melt.
  • Our hot summer and recent mountain rains have encouraged an explosion of vegetation growth both on the BPA road and alongside the trail on up to the springs.
This event will start on Saturday, October 17th around 11am and run through till the afternoon of Sunday, October 18th, 2015.  One party of two is already allowed but we will take no more requests on this weekend.  We do ask that if you plan to participate that you RSVP ahead of time as this affects our planning (including food to have on hand).  Unannounced visitors will probably be turned away as we do not know their intentions (freeloaders or trespassers caught or honest . . . talk to us).
Overnight soaking and camping as always for participants (let us know one day or both days).  Winter is setting in . . . mid October is when we see our first dusting of snow so come dressed appropriately in layers and always think . . . wet weather (have an emergency poncho in you pocket).  But lets pray for nice weather.
We need:
  • Shovels, azes, picks to work the cuts and culverts
  • Weed whackers, loppers, etc to clear vegetation
Lastly, why don't you bring something to share . . . veggie trays, fruits, cheese . . . get creative.

This event will be hosted by Matt and I will attempt to be there at my beloved hot springs.  More to come later.      Rick


No Fires . . . No Fireworks

Scenic Hot Springs is in a fire-restricted area, surrounded on all four sides by National Forest and Wilderness lands.  The making of fires and/or the lighting off of fireworks is strictly prohibited on the hot springs property.

The Forest Service has raised the Fire Danger to HIGH this coming weekend.  Temperatures are forecast to set records along with a lot of tinder-dry vegetation.  We remind everyone of the prohibition on building fires at Scenic . . . we must also emphasize that fireworks are also prohibited.

The same rules that apply to federal lands also apply to Scenic.  If you are found with fireworks up at Scenic then you carried them across National Forest lands.  That is a federal offense.  Caught making fires or with fireworks up at Scenic and you will face county ordinance violations at the least and possibly Federal charges.

Keep our forests green and living.  Don't be the one starting wildfires at this dangerous time of year.


Scenic Cleanup Event May 23-24th

Update:  The cleanup event is still on for May 23-24th.  There is still time to add your name to the list and give Scenic Hot Springs and its' environs some TLC (Tender Loving Care). 

For those of you already gearing up for some great times (camping, soaking under the stars, great food) more info is coming to your inboxes.  We look forward to meeting all of you.  Rick 

Put it on your calendars . . . the first volunteer clean-up event of the year.

When:  May 23rd (Saturday) through May 24th (Sunday)

Agenda:  Erosion control on the access road, culvert clean-out, and general litter pick-up

This past winter season saw an extraordinary amount amount of water runoff on the BPA road leading up to the springs.  Deep ruts in the road surface resulted and will only get worse unless run-off patterns are redirected off the road surface.  What we'd like to accomplish is to fill in the worst of these eroded areas and clear out the culverts that overflowed onto the road.

The erosion control is Saturday and Sunday.  These events are one of the few times we allow night-time soaking (for the volunteers) as well as camping on-site if you choose to participate both days.  We generally plan on a BBQ for volunteers.

We are hoping for a large turn-out this first event of 2015.  Contact us at scenichotsprings at gmail dot com.

Let us know that you are planning on attending, which days, and whether you would like to camp overnight.


  • Shovels, lots of them to help fill these ruts,
  • Garden-type picks 
  • Good-pair of work gloves
  • Wheelbarrows would come in handy
More planning as we get closer ...


Advance Notice on Requests

A trend happens sometimes during particularly popular days where a request ends up holding back other requests while we attempt to confirm the first request.  We always attempt to hold a pending reservation for as long as possible but sometimes . . . often . . . these uncommitted requests end up blocking later requests from people who are ready to 'commit'.  Two days advance notice on a couple is fine . . . but a group of 6,7,8,9 etc filling all potential spots but not committing, is ruining it for everyone else.

Therefore, to deter ‘sitting’ on potential reservations to the last moment (and possibly dropping the request), the following policy applies: 

“Confirmation lead-time is dependent on the number of visitors requesting access. We will backtrack that number of  days for a deadline to either confirm or release a reservation so that others may visit  (i.e., 4 visitors on request; that request needs to be confirmed NLT four days before the planned visit).”



Some Updates on Scenic

Not much snow in the mountains . . .  some definite challenges.

Warm weather and rain keep delaying the recovery of the Lobster Pot springs and pool.  At last report, Lobster was climbing near body temperature.

Bear Den, the other spring source and pool, is highly resistant to ground water melt and rain.  It is holding a toasty 104F.

This is the access road leading to the gate and the route up to the hot springs.  Normally, at this time of year there is a six-foot tall snow plow berm across the entrance.  Now there is hardly any obstacle . . . except that extremely slippery thick sheet of ice right at the busy highway entrance.  It is possible to drive up to the gate (without blocking the gate) but the trip back down is going to be dicey with chances of skidding right into traffic on the highway.  Stick to the alternate parking for right now (that is, if you have permission).  Update:  Even that ice is now gone (2-9-2015)

Rock Alley, about halfway up the trail.  This time of year it should be completely plugged with Cascade Concrete (the wet and heavy snow that makes for impassable bars to progress).

The upper bench on approx level with the hot springs.  This is just after making the one switchback on the trail . . . and about 500 feet from the pools.  The record snow height was in '96 with just under twenty feet of snow on this upper bench.  Intrepid visitors would eventually carve tunnel-like paths with their snow shoes to the hot springs.  No snow right now and that is worrying: the snow-pack is our water supply and it is only about 40% of normal.  Expect some serious drought problems this summer . . . and dangerous fire conditions.


Timely Requests for Access

In the Conditions of Access (the link is also in the sidebar) we request at least two days advance notice to respond to, check on current reservations, activities and conditions, and answer your request.  We also request that those desiring access to Scenic, follow up the initial request (and follow-on correspondence) in a timely manner.  We hold a "Reservation Pending" for as long as possible . . . waiting for the requester to complete these Conditions of Access . . . meanwhile, others are denied access due to these pending reservations.  And when they never follow-through, no one gets a chance to enjoy the hot springs that day.

So, effective immediately, if you request a reservation and do not complete the process within two days of your requested reservation, then we reserve the right to cancel your request and offer the spots to others.  Update:  A new policy is now in effect requiring follow-through earlier in some case.  See the post here:

In correspondence with us, please make the subject line appropriate to the request (i.e. Michael's, Request for Access Sat. Jul 3rd 2015).  We get hundreds of emails each month and we must match different threads up with the appropriate request.

Do not start a new request using an email for an earlier visit.  This just confuses us as to what date you are looking for.  If we have given you a 'Rain Check', please save that email and reply to that to reschedule.

Some people make requests far into the future.  Please consider that we cannot vet what conditions will be like weeks or months into the future.  As the date for you trip approaches, consider emailing or contacting us for an update on the springs and to finalize access.

A real-time calendar (same data as the one in the sidebar) is below to help you choose dates.


Visitor Conduct and a Canceled No Nude Day

Update:  The original post was on the 9th.  This is an update.  The total lack of requests or interest in a No Nudity Day at the hot springs means that a no naked person day at the hot springs is a non-gainer.  This experiment is cancelled and Scenic Hot Springs will REMAIN 100% CLOTHING-OPTIONAL AT ALL TIMES AND DAYS.  If you cannot deal with nudity then do not make reservations at the hot springs.  If you disrupt or make it uncomfortable for other visitors to enjoy the hot springs, then you will be banned from the springs in the future.

A great deal of effort went into the Conditions of Access as visitors are required to understand and agree to them before any access is granted to Scenic Hot Springs.  Most of the "conditions" are there because of requirements by the authorities for continued access; for example:  no night time soaking or the limiting of daily use.

Other conditions address the owner's rules for permission to be on his property.  As the owner, he has the right to protect and control his property . . . so the no fires or dogs on property.

Then there are the cultural aspects of usage which dictate behavior while on the property.  The owner and his representatives reserve the right to refuse usage or access to those individuals who disrupt or 'ruin' the experience of other visitors.  Examples would be the playing of loud music or the consumption of too much alcohol at the springs.

Personally, I now understand the feelings of non-smokers being forced to  be in the vicinity of a smoker.  Please do not smoke (or light up a pipe of good stuff) before asking everyone present if it would be okay.  As a cancer patient I am extremely sensitive to tobacco smoke.  To me, it is an assault.  Think of others or risk being banned.

Nudity is traditional at most natural hot springs (and certainly at Scenic Hot Springs.)  If you have a problem with nudity please do not go requesting access to Scenic Hot Springs.  If you make it uncomfortable for other visitors who choose to soak the traditional way, sans clothing, then we will use all the information you provided to make your own reservation to ban your future access to Scenic Hot Springs.

Now, for those of you who are 'clothes-minded' . . . and can't bear to see another individual naked, for a limited experiment we will RESERVE THURSDAYS ONLY FOR THOSE WHO DON'T WANT TO SEE NAKED SOAKERS.  The calendar will be marked as "No Nudity Day"


Limited Access to the Hot Springs

Seems this unseasonably warm weather refuses to step back and let winter and snow into the picture.  Large amounts of cold ground water continues to mix with the sources to the Lobster Pot Springs . . . resulting in one of the pools going cold.

Fortunately, the other spring is resistant to groundwater-mixing, and remains at a nice and toasty soaking temperature.  The upshot is that only one pool is usable and we have to limit usage for everybody's best enjoyment.

Related . . . warm days and freezing nights are a recipe for treacherous hiking conditions.  Most of the hike up to Scenic is steep and now we have very slick ice conditions that are far more slippery than snow.  Some form of extra traction is necessary . . . Trax, crampons, even snowshoes for the cleats on the ice.

Snow is so much easier to travel over.  Does anyone know a snow-dance?   :-)


Scenic in the Snow

One of our visitors (Jeremy) provided a great picture of the hot springs yesterday . . . and as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.  Want to know what Scenic conditions are?  Enjoy this pic for an idea.

Scenic on the afternoon of New Years Eve.  Photo credit to Jeremy
The pool on the left is the Bear Den pool, fed from a source beneath a large boulder behind the visitor (Ryan).  The Bear Den sources are very stable year-round and this pool is holding a nice a toasty 102-104F.

The pool on the right is the Lobster Pot pool and is fed from sources to the far right of the picture.  These sources run shallow and are very susceptible to rain-water and snow-melt mixing.  This pool normally runs two to four degrees higher that  Bear Den.  As of a few days ago, Lobster Pot was reported to be slowly recovering but not yet there.  Given a week or so of cold weather, Lobster Pot will hold it own.


Unusual Wet and Warm Weather

At this time of year we should be getting snow instead of the torrents of rains and warm weather.  And that presents some problems for soaking up at Scenic Hot Springs.  The normally hottest pool . . . fed by the Lobster Pot springs . . . is very sensitive to heavy rain downpours that saturate the groundwater and dilute these shallow-running feeds.  Thus the Lobster Pot pool run cold at a time when it should be hot and toasty.

The second feed, filling the other pool, is almost impervious to ground water (this feed is more protected and does not travel shallow).  So the Bear Den pool stays hot throughout this rains.

If you are thinking about a request to go to Scenic (or have already requested one) please take these unusual wet and warm conditions into mind.  One pool may be unsoakable, limiting the number of people we can permit.


Wintery Weather is coming . . .

Well, the snow is coming upon us.  There is a Winter Weather Advisory in effect tonight . . . 4-5 inches of snow in the Stevens Pass area.  So we want to take a moment to remind everyone planning on going into the back-country of the Cascades to go prepared.

Layered, water-resistant clothing, good boots, Trax, cleats or crampons for traction of steep icy trails, snowshoes (not needed yet, but will be soon) for the deep snow up to Scenic.  Carry the essentials including several ways to start an emergency survival fire.  Make sure that someone knows where you are going and when you plan to be back.

As the snows begin to stick and build up on Hwy 2, you will soon not be able to park at the gate and must go to the winter parking areas.  This means a short hike up the shoulders of the highway.  Please wear something highly reflective and be extremely careful.

Scenic has no known avalanche chutes . . . the slopes are heavily forested and not steep enough.  If you stick to the trail you will be fine.  Areas of concern are the cleared and steep slope of the BPA clearcut below the access road.  Stay on the road. Please don't give in to the temptation to ski or slide down the open slopes below the road.

One other area of concern is the last five hundred feet of the trail that is very steep and typically turns into an icy chute later in the season.  Have traction devices ready for use if necessary.

Please remember that the sun goes down early in winter.  Don't get trapped in trying to get down in the dark.  Soak responsibly, limit alcohol and stay sharp, recognize heat and cold-associated dangers and protect yourself and your fellow soakers.  Above all, enjoy the magic of a wintery hot spring soak.


A Successful Clean Up Event

Eight of us made last Saturdays' 'work party' and accomplished the goals we needed.

There was a large boulder overlooking the soaking pools that had made . . . well, at least Matt and myself . . . nervous for some time. The boulder was large . . . the boulder sat on a steep slope no more than a dozen feet above and away from the pool . . . and . . . it just made us nervous. Obviously it scared a few other as attempts had been made to secure its' position on the slope. We felt that that boulder wasn't going to stay put one more season . . . it was time to move it out of the way. Little did we know just how unstable that boulder was until we started the probing prior to removal. The boulder was loose and movable just to the weight of a volunteer. 

A tree volunteered to become a rail to guide the boulder downhill instead of into the pools. Once that was in place it took all of us with rock bars and shovels to urge the boulder loose of its' perch. Looked good except it caught up in two trees just below the pools and would have eventually broken loose and gone on down out of control. So we had to winch the boulder back uphill and out of that clutch of trees to roll down a pre-defined course and a safer resting place far below. 

If the video does not load you can also view it here:

Afterward, we soaked . . . checked out the trail of wrath by a four tons boulder . . . and enjoyed grilling burgers down below.  A very successful event ....


Clean Up Party this Saturday

For those who missed it or didn't get on the list as a volunteer . . . this seasons first clean-up party at Scenic Hot Springs is happening this coming Saturday.  It is not too late to get involved, help out Scenic . . . and enjoy some rare camping and night-time soaking at Scenic Hot Springs.

For those that would like to camp and soak under the night-time sky, join us Friday night around 7pm at the gate and we'll head in, set up camp and learn the ancient secrets to making smores by the campfire between luxurious relaxation in the hot spring pools.  Bet you never realized just how many stars there are up there!

Only can get free Saturday and want to help?  We'll be meeting people at the gate around 10-11am and get started on the day's activities (after a mandatory safety briefing).

After the work is done it is time to get in that pool and soak away any sore muscles for giving us your best efforts Smiley   We will probably have a tailgate burger grill before we end the day with much thanks from us.

So give us a holler if you would like to participate.  No late, uninvited shows at the gate.  This is by invitation only.