In search of a quiet off grid retreat experience to refresh the soul and connect with nature? Breitenbush Hot Springs in Detroit, Oregon is the perfect place. It is nestled in the majestic Cascade Mountain Range of the Willamette Forest with natural hot springs to soak in and unwind.
Growing up in the Willamette Valley in Oregon I have a deep connection to the trees, ocean, and beautiful scenery but currently living in the middle of the land locked state of Oklahoma has me constantly yearning to be back in the natural splendor of the Pacific Northwest. It had been ten years since I had last been to my home state but I thought about it everyday so I decided I need to take my own personal retreat back home to Oregon. Some of that time was spent at the incredible retreat center known as Breitenbush Hot Springs about 2 hours SE of Portland.
My visit to Breitenbush was my own Wanderlust experience like the movie starring Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd (which if you haven’t yet seen Wanderlust I highly encourage you to, it is my all time favorite comedy!) complete with a community of earth loving free-spirited natural living individuals who operate the resort and live on site in their own little area across the Detroit River.
Breitenbush is a self-sustaining Mecca for relaxation and spiritual growth. They grow a lot of their own food, they only use eco-friendly products, they compost and recycle everything they use, and are off grid so they use the river as their source of hydroelectric power.
It is truly a place to unwind and unplug. There is no cellular service at all, the nearest town about 10 miles away is the closest place you can go to get reception. There are no TV’s, no Wifi, no modern day technologies exist here.
Breitenbush is a great place to stay if you are looking to get away by yourself, with a friend or significant other, or even for families. All year long they offer hundreds of conferences for so many different groups, anything from mushroom hunting trips to mindfulness retreats or yoga workshops.
You can also do a day visit if you wish, just be sure to make reservations prior to going. There are campgrounds to pitch a tent, fields for RV’s, a lodge, and my personal favorite that I took advantage of were the cute little individual wood cabins. You can book a private cabin or they can assign you a roommate to cut down on costs. You can also choose to have a bathroom for a little extra as well.
The cabins are super simple but cozy, you’ll need to bring your own bedding or you can rent some for a small price. If you get a cabin without a bathroom there are community bathrooms and showers within close walking distance to the cabin area so this is not a problem, just be sure to bring a flashlight for those nighttime trips. The cabins do not have locks other than when you are inside there are old school latch locks but otherwise if you are not in your cabin they do not lock from the outside but nobody messes with anybody else’s belongings here. The people who come here are just looking for their little piece of tranquility and calmness as well.
Meals in the lodge are provided as part of the cost of booking your cabin. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner and are always open for beverage service (no alcohol or drugs allowed in Breitenbush, they ask that you do not bring them onto the premises at all). The food is EXTRAORDINARILY delicious! They serve organic vegetarian style buffet for all meals, and even have a special diet buffet for vegans or gluten-free diets. They list all the ingredients for all their meals so you can check out what each meal contains.
There are so many great spots throughout the resort to meditate, do yoga, explore, admire, or just go deep within. There are circular sanctuary buildings that you are free to use that are absolutely beautiful and have amazing forest views. There is also a library, a gift shop, sauna, forest trails, labyrinth, spa for massages, sweat lodge, breathtaking river views and so much more. They also offer daily well-being activities included in the lodging price ranging from yoga, EDGU, meditation, property tours, and other activities.
The natural hot springs is one of the main reasons people love to go to Breitenbush, they are healing waters from the earth. There are 4 different hot springs you can dip in, ranging from warm to very hot. Clothing is optional in the springs and basically everybody opts for no clothing and soak au natural. However in this setting it is not uncomfortable or awkward because everyone is there for the same reasons, to experience the healing water and relax, not to gawk or look at other peoples bodies. Everybody is accepted, respected, and welcomed regardless of gender or body type. There is even a silent spring where talking is not allowed. The hot springs are responsible for the geothermal heating for the entire property as well.
My experience was pretty surreal, being all by myself on a personal retreat, over 1,500 miles from home and not knowing anybody there and without any means of communicating with my loved ones. But I must say it was much needed, being able to unplug and not be in mommy mode for a few days was much appreciated. I spent my days exploring the grounds, hiking in the woods and connecting with nature, reading, meditating and practicing yoga, photography, journaling, tarot, dipping in the hot springs, taking some of the classes they offered, and meeting people from around the world.
I became quite enamored with a group of three elderly ladies from Russia who didn’t speak a word of English but they would invite me to eat with them and I would help them carry their bags, and even though we had no idea what we were saying to each other we still connected and became friends. The people and instructors are so friendly and welcoming it is definitely a place I will be returning to many times.
If you’re interested in learning more about Breitenbush or to plan your own wanderlust experience check them out here at https://breitenbush.com