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Friday, June 17, 2011


RV spaces at Crystal CraneOur Opinion: Rave!  Relax in a natural hot springs pool in the wide open spaces of eastern Oregon.

Date of Stay: June 15-18, 2011

Weather During Stay: Sunny and cool (upper 60’s for highs) during the day; chilly at night.  This has been an unusually cool spring in Oregon.

Site Description: Seven RV sites total - five pull-throughs on level gravel have 30 amps and water; two 30 amp FHU sites are somewhat sloped back-ins.  No trees at the RV sites.  All RV sites face east.  Be forewarned: this campground does not have a dump station, and just two of the sites have sewer.  If you won’t be staying in an FHU site, come with empty tanks!

RV’s sites are just one part of the story here.  The Crystal Crane compound includes several cabins, a large area for tents or small dry camping RV’s, a “camp kitchen” for the use of the guests, and a cozy common area with comfortable seating, a small library, a computer, and a large screen TV with satellite service.  Coffee is often on.  A bath house has clean, modern bathrooms and two small, overused shower rooms for bathers and campers.  Private hot baths are available for an extra fee (hourly). 

Pool and cottageThe staff is extremely helpful and friendly.  You can rent swimming noodles for $1 for the duration of your stay, and we each also rented a big, thick, terrycloth bathrobe ($2 per robe for the duration of your stay) for walking from our rig to the hot pool, to the shower and back.  Towels can be rented for $1 each.  Besides the campers, day visitors can pay to use the pool between 9 am and 9 pm.  The pool is open 24/7 to campers; the temperature averages 95 or so, with much hotter spots near the inflow of the natural hot springs.

Rate: In theory, $18 per night for W/E - but a variety of discounts are available and we were able to use them.  For the first night, we paid $9, Passport America.  For the second night, we got a 15% Escapees discount.  For the third and fourth nights, we got a 10% Good Sam discount.  The price covers 2 people, including unlimited use of the hot pool, the common area, and the bath houses.  FHU sites are $20, and I don’t know if discounts apply to those sites.  AND, there is a separate charge for pets (except indoor cats).  I don’t know how much it is, but if you have pets that go outdoors,  be aware that there is an additional charge. 

Phone/radio/TV: Here in the middle of nowhere (25 miles from a town of 4,000 people), Verizon just installed a new cell tower!  Great signal for phones and aircard, but the campground provides high-speed WiFi as well (which we used when our aircard broke!).  No obstacles for TV satellite, and two PBS stations (and nothing else) are available on the air antenna.  NPR on 90.1. 

Morning mistElevation/Landscape/Terrain:  Crystal Crane Hot Springs is in Harney county, a very sparsely populated area of eastern Oregon at 4110 ft. elevation.  The campground is a small oasis in a vast western landscape.   Views are very open, across miles of flat, scrub-covered ground and occasional mountain ridges.  Wide open, spacious, relaxing. 

Lighting/Noise: Very quiet at night.  Unfortunately, the camp compound is lit at night by 2 or 3 tall streetlights - a shame since this would be such a perfect “dark sky” situation.

Favorite Sites: We were in site 2, one of the 4 identical W/E pull though sites.  The two FHU sites might be nice for a longer stay, but a not as level as the W/E sites.

Hiking/Walking: The grounds of the campground are spacious, but no hikes in the immediate vicinity. 

Common Areas Inside the camp kitchen
Comments: Harney County has plenty of beautiful scenery, historical sites, interesting geology, the well known Malheur Wildlife Refuge, wild mustangs, and the Steens Mountain - all spread over a very large area populated by very few people.  Fuel up, and bring food.  We loved it.


Croft said...

Thanks for pointing out the lack of a dump, I forgot to add that to my post. There is a (Chevron?) gas station in Burns that offers free dumping with a fuel purchase.

We really enjoyed our short stay here as well!

skwamama said...

Thanks for the GREAT review....

Anonymous said...

Now THAT's exactly our kinda place! We're definitely adding this one to our list. Thanks for the review!

willie wall said...

Yes this is a lovely place albeit out of the way but that is also part of its charm.
Great natural (relatively) hot springs.

willie wall said...

Yes this is a lovely place albeit out of the way but that is also part of its charm.
Great natural (relatively) hot springs.