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Arts & Life

Ritter Hot Springs: Far Away In Time And Distance


Ritter Hot Springs' main attraction is its spring-fed swimming pool, where guests can soak in 80-plus degree water piped in from the hot springs. 

Ritter Hot Springs' main attraction is its spring-fed swimming pool, where guests can soak in 80-plus degree water piped in from the hot springs. 

E. J. Harris/East Oregonian

If you are looking for a health spa with herbal wraps, cucumber water and Yerba mate lattes, then Ritter Hot Springs is not for you.

However, what Ritter might lack in posh accouterments, it more than makes up for with scenic beauty, a rich history and plenty of hot, healing spring water.

Ritter was first discovered and homesteaded by William Neal McDuffee in the 1850s and was originally named McDuffee Hot Springs. One of McDuffee’s original cabins can still be found on the site today. McDuffee was an interesting character, according to current Ritter owner Mike Tillay of Walla Walla. Tillay, who has studied the history of the hot springs, says McDuffee was miner, a watermaster and even spent time in prison for murdering a man on the property.

“(McDuffee) was an out of luck miner and he struck gold with hot water,” Tillay said.

Read more at The East Oregonian.

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