The Jewel of Harney County

The Jewel of Harney County

Off the tiny two-lane highway of State Road 78, roughly 150 miles East of Bend, Or., lies the quaint, intimate, lavish-but-low-key Crystal Crane Hot Springs. Just outside of the tiny town of Crane, OR, it is like a spa, cowboy campground, lodge, and waterpark all in one. The hot springs have been an integral part of life in the area since the early 1900s. Dan and Denise Kryger purchased the property in 1997, bringing Crystal Cranes Hot Springs to what it is today with an extensive series of updates, upgrades, and little touches. Most notable are the cedar-enclosed private bathhouses, which add so much towards appreciating what a world-class spa experience this truly is, in the middle of nowhere. The Kryger's also upgraded the RV and dry-camping, as well as providing other luxury spa services like an on-call massage therapist and towel service.

The Pond

Crystal Crane Hot Springs Pond by Belinda Greb

(photo credit: Belinda Greb - Fine Art America)
The crystal heart of Crystal Crane Hot Springs is called simply “The Pond” - a clear, clean, natural mineral bath that gets up to 7’ feet deep in the center. Although the temperature varies, depending on the outdoor temperature, it usually hovers around 101 degrees. The Pond can be enjoyed for day visitors, for a couple of bucks, until 9 PM, when the springs close. Overnight guests enjoy 24-hour access to The Pond, opening up the opportunity for breathless stargazing, while coyotes howl mournfully in the distance, along with watching the sunrise over the distant spine of the Steens Mountains - well worth the early rising (or staying up all night). Be advised, Crystal Crane Hot Springs is a family-friendly environment. There’s no drugs or alcohol allowed, and clothing is required.

The Private Baths

Crystal Crane Hot Springs Private Baths

(photo credit: oregonlive.com)
The Private Baths might look like a series of non-descript changing rooms from the outside, but the interiors are as clean, lavish, and lovingly hand-crafted as the swankest day spa. A variety of tub sizes are available, from singles to full-on jacuzzis. Each private bath has its own private changing area, with the tub slightly submerged. Unique diamond-shaped windows can be opened to offer sweet sage-scented breeze mingling with the sauna-steamed air.  

The Accommodations
There are six different levels of accommodations at Crystal Crane Hot Springs, from teepees to romantic cabins.

Teepees

Crystal Crane Hot Springs Teepees

The teepees are a beautiful way to enjoy the diamond-studded desert skies at night. Teepees come with heated floors, indoor lights, and private tubs. Bedding is not provided so air mattresses are recommended. Please be advised, while most of Crystal Crane Hot Springs is decidedly pet friendly, pets aren’t allowed in the teepees. 

The Cabins

Crystal Crane Hot Springs The Cabins

The Cabins are some of the Hot Spring’s most lavish accommodations, a scant 5 steps to the mineral baths. A variety of cute, authentic regional decorating themes are available, from cowboys to bears, as well as a variety of bedding. The Cabins also have their own private bathrooms, so you won’t have to brave the cold and dark of the desert night. 

Sage Inn

Sage Inn

 

The Sage Inn is like a lighter version of The Cabins. Sure, the four mini-hotel suites may be further from the water, requiring a quick late-night dash through chilly desert air after soaking and stargazing, but they more than make up for it with privacy, quaintness, comfort, and economy. Each room comes with an old-fashioned bureau, comfy bed in a variety of sizes, and authentic regional Western decor. My girlfriend and I stayed in the Sage Inn for the first two nights, enjoying the ability to turn on the heater after a late night plunge, watching cheesy comedies on our laptop on top of the perfectly worn quilt. It was the perfect mixture of an affordable hotel room and comfy camping, making for one of the most perfect, romantic weekends of our always-passionate affair. 

Cowpoke Inn

Cowpoke Inn Crystal Crane Hot Springs

 

The Cowpoke Inn is the perfect choice for your next group outing. A 3-bedroom ranch-style cabin, with four beds, private bath, living room, and kitchen. Please note, the Cowpoke Inn isn’t wheelchair accessible, being on the second floor, and no pets are allowed.

The Ranch House

The Ranch House

For the ultimate lavish Eastern Oregon experience, there’s The Ranch House. An upgrade even over the Cowpoke Inn, The Ranch House is, indeed, a private home for up to 6 occupants, with 4 beds, 2 private bathrooms, living room and kitchen. The Ranch House has a private patio, as well, perfect for appreciating the wide-open Harney County skyline.  

Camp Kitchen And Commons

Crystal Crane Hot Springs Commons

 

The Crystal Crane Hot Springs experience is complete with The Commons and camp kitchen. The Commons main room is constructed with a lovely light pinewood, with long tables in front, to enjoy the complimentary tea and coffee, and super cozy couch and recliner seating in the back. A large fireplace would be insanely comfortable in the cold weather months, to enjoy the light classical music floating through the air. The Camp Kitchen stays open all night, however, and is one of the main things that separates Crystal Crane Hot Springs from the imitators. The Camp Kitchen features a fully operational kitchen, complete with oven, stovetop, and refrigerator, and offers a full range of dishware for your enjoyment.

Final Thoughts

Crystal Crane Hot Springs

I’ve been hearing about Harney County and Crystal Cranes Hot Springs nearly every day for five years so it was a dream come true to finally lay eyes, ears, and nose on this distinctive High Desert Landscape. The surrounding communities in Harney County - Crane, Burns, Diamond - are rough and worn. This is beyond small town; it’s like stepping back in town. There’s no upscale sushi restaurants, no thai fusion cuisine, no pet spa boutiques. Burns has one movie theater, playing one movie at a time, and one of the only restaurants also doubles as the gas station and saloon.

As a self-employed, full-time writer, I basically live, eat, sleep, dream, and dwell in stress. It cakes my arteries like bacon grease down a kitchen drain. We swam and soaked 5 TIMES in 3 days, including staying up all night to watch the sunrise from the water. It was one of the most magical, memorable, and beautiful moments in a relationship full of them, and we will be going back as often as possible. We’re already saving up for round two!

(remaining photos credit: Crystal Crane Hot Springs)

Crystal Crane Hot Springs: Facebook l Twitter

 

One on One with Seattle Artists at Sasquatch!
Festival Review: Sasquatch! 2016

Related Posts