: Gather Sauna House

Sauna Getaways in Oregon

Sweat your cares away in these warm havens of wellness.
April 14, 2023

In the 1920s, Finnish immigrant and Olympian Kaarlo Koskelo opened a public sauna and steam bath in Astoria. The sauna — a bench-lined, heated room where visitors could relax and chat with neighbors — became a community hub for the city’s significant Finnish-immigrant population and others. Although the historic Astoria steam bath has since closed, the tradition of sauna continues to live on across the state. 

Public saunas provide opportunities for quiet reflection, punctuated by the hiss of steam when a visitor pours a ladle of water on hot rocks. Many cultures find even greater health benefits in regular visits to saunas, particularly when followed by a cold plunge into a pool or nearby body of water — said to have stimulating effects. Here are some of the state’s most relaxing offerings, whether you’re seeking a luxurious spa experience, a casual communal steam and soak, or something in between.

Exterior of a mobile sauna. A firepit is in the background
Courtesy of Gather Sauna House

Destination Saunas

Based in Bend, Gather Sauna House, owned by Halina Kowalski-Thompson and Dorian Thompson, offers one of the most unique sauna experiences in the state, pulling from both Baltic and Finnish sauna traditions. Dorian constructs 180- to 205-degree, wood-burning, traveling saunas that land at different Central Oregon locales throughout the year — resorts like LOGE Bend or Juniper Preserve, or on the banks of a river or lake — while Halina guides guests through each experience. Every visit is a little different: Some may involve a dip in the Deschutes River or Suttle Lake, while others may involve sauna whisks made with Oregon plants, brushed along the skin to increase circulation. Each visit finishes with a body oil or mist made with botanicals the Thompsons forage themselves. 

The relaxed, low-key Onsen in Eugene named for the ancient Japanese hot spring tradition is one of the only private hot tub and sauna rental options in the state. Rent one of its two saunas by the hour — with temperatures ranging from 175 to 195 degrees — or add one of 12 tubs in enclosed, garden-style rooms with changing areas and showers. 

Ashland wellness center Chozu Bath & Tea Gardens also pulls inspiration from Japanese bathhouses. Start with a soak in Chozu’s 7,000-gallon hot pool, surrounded by serene stone water features and bamboo, before decompressing within the cedar sauna. The bath gardens also offer a cold plunge and a steam room for the full experience. Afterward, relax in the tea room with a pot of green tea and Japanese-inspired pastries and snacks. 

Inside a private sauna, with a wooden bench and wood-fired heater.
Courtesy of Loyly

Urban Saunas for Quick Rejuvenation

Visitors to Knot Springs — a Portland-area wellness club, soaking pool, sauna and spa — stare out at Portland’s winding highways and towers from the benches of this cedar sauna, one of the few with glass doors for optimal sightseeing. The sauna here is kept at a toasty 210 to 215 degrees. It’s part of the Knot Springs “ritual”: a circuit of the spa’s soaking pools, steam room and 47-degree cold plunge. The spa’s steam room features custom oil blends that vary with the seasons.

One of Portland’s first public saunas, Loyly’s two locations emphasize the range of experiences a Finnish sauna can provide. The Northeast Portland sauna offers two distinct options: a social sauna, where visitors can chat while they steam, and a silent sauna, where guests can enjoy quiet contemplation in the heat. Opt for add-ons like an orange-bergamot salt scrub, a foot bath teeming with spruce tips and rose petals, or a simple cup of tea. Visitors can also rent out the sauna for particularly relaxing private events.

A spa entrance decorated with natural decor.
Courtesy of The Allison Inn & Spa

Sauna and an Overnight Stay

In the heart of Willamette Valley wine country, the Allison Inn & Spa is a common stop for a touch of luxury post-pinot tasting, and hotel and spa guests love to relax with a visit to the Allison’s complimentary sauna. Listen to the soothing rush of a waterfall installation before checking in for a massage, facial or stay in the spa’s Himalayan salt room. The relaxing Finnish sauna and steam room are available to all guests pre- or post-treatment.

Astoria’s history as a hub for Finnish immigrants makes a visit to the sauna at Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa, a converted cannery turned resort on the North Coast, a must. With views of the Columbia River, the spa at the resort is home to a 120- to 140-degree sauna free for guests of the hotel, alongside a whirlpool tub overlooking the water.


Woman in wooden sauna looks out into misty vineyard
Courtesy of Sosta House

In the Tualatin Valley, the newly opened Sosta House bed and breakfast includes an outdoor sauna and cold plunge experience. The bed and breakfast is owned by Nico and Mia Ponzi Hamacher, siblings who grew up in the house while their mom and family worked in the winery next door. Come for the sauna as well as pasta-making classes, crackling fireplace and daily breakfasts by chef Mia Ponzi.

About The

Brooke Jackson-Glidden
Brooke Jackson-Glidden is an award-winning editor and journalist based in Portland who covers travel, culture and the outdoors. Her work has appeared in the Boston Globe, the Arizona Republic and USA Today, and she currently serves as the editor of Eater Portland. She loves hiking, geeking out over Oregon wine, eating through Portland food-cart pods, and exploring off-the-beaten-track museums in small towns.

Trip Ideas