Hot springs in British Columbia come in all shapes and sizes. From geothermal pools tucked deep in the woods to spa infinity pools, one thing's for certain, there is nothing more enjoyable than a warm soak in nature's splendor. Here are 25 hidden hot springs you've probably never heard of and a dozen that you may already know (and love).
Don't forget your towel...
The adventurous will delight in the solitude of B.C.'s remote hot springs. Access them by hiking in on foot, by boat, on horseback or even helicopter. When they're this much of a journey to reach, why not stay a while? Bring your bathing suit, towel and importantly, proper footwear for slippery rocks and boardwalks. If you're squeamish about what's underfoot you'll definitely want to don some sandals. I prefer my Keen UNEEKs because they have a sturdy sole but wear like a sport sandal. Dress in layers to keep warm on the trip back to civilization (especially if you're boating) and make sure to hydrate after lounging in the toasty warm waters.
If ease and amenities better suit your fancy, there are plenty of resort properties with geothermal pools to choose from. Plus, you'll enjoy the convenience of lounge chairs, washrooms, change rooms and cafes nearby.
Ahousat hot springs
The Ahousat hot springs are situated on the shores of Matilda Inlet, on the south side of Flores Island, in Gibson Marine Provincial Park. The natural spring flows up into a concrete tank and is clear and tasteless with a maximum temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. A non-maintained path connects the hot springs to the sandy beaches of Whitesand Cove.
Ainsworth hot springs
The Ainsworth hot springs are located in the tiny village of Ainsworth, and the resort features a 150-foot horseshoe cave, complete with a large lunging pool and a stream-fed cold plunge. A full-service restaurant provides gorgeous views of Kootenay Lake, the newly renovated hotel means guests have full access to the pool and there are also spa services available.
Brandywine Creek hot springs
Brandywine Creek is a tributary of the Cheakamus River, entering that stream at Daisy Lake, just below the Brandywine Falls. There is an unnamed hot spring that sits in the upper reaches of the creek bed, near Mount Fee.
Canyon hot springs and Albert Canyon
The Canyon Hot Springs Resort is located in Albert Canyon, situated between Glacier and Mount Revelstoke National Parks. You will be able to take a relaxing soak and explore the parks around you. Visitors can camp, stay in rustic cabins or live in luxury in the mountain chalet.
Dewar hot springs
The Dewar Creek hot springs are located within the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Provincial Park, near Kimberly. It takes a brave adventurer to reach the springs, which are only accessible by horseback or hiking. Most of the pools, except one, are too hot for bathing, reaching temperatures above 80 degrees Celsius. The minerals that bubble to the surface of the pools provide important licks for ungulates in the area.
Fairmont hot springs
The Fairmont Hot Springs Resort is located in Invermere, and is home to Canada's largest natural hot springs. Crystal clear, natural and odourless, guests travel from far and wide to stay at the resort and soak their cares away.
Frizzell hot springs
The Frizzell hot spring is located on the south bank of the Skeena River, near Prince Rupert, northeast of Hotspring Point. The spring is exceptionally difficult to get to, and is only accessible by boat during high tide.
Harrison hot springs
Located on the shores of Harrison Lake, the Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa has been treating guests to a luxurious dip in one of their five pools since 1886. With many additional family-oriented activities, this is a great destination.
Hot Springs Cove
Hot Springs Cove is truly a unique and beautiful destination, located in Maquinna Provincial Park, about 27 nautical miles from Tofino. Tour and charter companies take guests by boat or float plane and then it's an easy 30-minute walk down a cedar trail to the springs. There is a succession of pools, which gradually cool down as you get closer to the ocean — starting around 43 degrees Celsius and getting down to about 10 degrees.
Hotspring Island, a small island near the southeast coast of Lyell Island in the Haida Gwaii archipelago, features a hot spring on its southwestern end. Access to the spring is by permit only, usually as part of a tour. A 7.8-magnitude earthquake in October 2012 caused the spring to stop flowing and the pool dried up. Some experts believe the hot spring may start to flow again in the future.
Iskut River hot springs
Iskut River Hot Springs Park is home to a small area on the west bank of the Iskut River where hot spring water flows out of the rocky embankment. There are several springs, but no pools for bathing. The park is located about 100 kilometres south of the town of Iskut. There is foot access into the park, but it's difficult and there's no developed trail. Helicopter or boat access would be possible.
Keyhole hot springs
Keyhole hot springs, sometimes referred to as Pebble Creek hot springs, sits about 100 kilometres from Whistler. Most of that 100-kilometre journey is down logging roads, but they are easy to manage for most vehicles. The Lillooet River Trail, built in 2014, is the new route into Keyhole hot springs, and is about two kilometres long and moderately challenging as the trail contains some rugged terrain. Once at the hot springs, there are four pools with temperatures ranging from warm to too-hot-to-handle. With the ice-cold river flowing just beyond the pools, you can jump in and cool off.
Hot springs at Kitimat
Kitimat, in northern B.C., has three natural hot springs within 100 kilometres of the city centre. However, they are not easy to get to. All of the hot springs are located on the shores of the ocean and are only accessible by boat or float plane. But once you're there, you'll be surrounded by beautiful wilderness during your relaxing soak, and you might be able to spot whales and seals out in the ocean waters.
The Weewanie hot springs are closest to Kitimat, about 38 kilometres away in Ursula Channel. The hot springs in Bishop Bay are about 80 kilometres away from town, in Devastation Channel. Tie up your boat and hike in to find three pools, a picnic area, tenting platforms and bathrooms. The Shearwater hot springs are the furthest away from town. All three hot springs are located in Haisla First Nations territory, but are open for public use.
Lakelse hot springs
The Lakelse hot springs, also known as the Mount Layton hot springs, are a group of hot springs located in the Kalum-Kitimat valley, about 30 kilometres south of Terrace and situated on the eastern shore of Lakelse Lake. The hot water seeps through the faults in the valley, which may have been the source for the Tseax Cone eruption 250 years ago.
Liard River hot springs
The Liard River hot springs is home to two pools, one of which is the second largest in Canada. The temperatures of the pools range from 42 to 52 degrees Celsius and are called Alpha Pool and Beta Pool. As of 2013, Beta Pool has been closed due to an increase in bear activity. Amenities around the Liard River hot springs include change houses, wheelchair access, a playground and an environmentally friendly composting outhouse. The pools are located within the Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park, at mile 475 on the Alaska Highway between Fort Nelson and Watson Lake.
Lussier hot springs
The Lussier hot springs are undeveloped, natural hot springs within Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park. The springs are made up of rock pools with gravel bottoms, with the hottest pool reaching about 43 degrees Celsius. The water cools down as it flows through the rest of the pools towards the Lussier River.
Meager Creek hot springs
Meager Creek is located about 95 kilometres northwest of Pemberton and is notable for its large surface hot springs, known as the Meager Creek hot springs. Official access to the pools closed several years ago after an avalanche, but visitors still come in via trails.
Mount Cayley hot springs
Mount Cayley is a potentially active stratovolcano, located about 45 kilometres north of Squamish. Several hot springs on the mountain's southwestern flank show that magmatic heat is still present, which suggests continuous volcanic activity.
Nascall hot springs
The property is for sale and is not open to the public.
Nakusp and area, around Arrow Lakes
Nakusp, along with many other communities in the Kootenay region, is home to mineral hot springs. In the area, there is Coyote springs,Halcyon hot springs, Halfway River, Nakusp hot springs, Octopus Creek, Saint Leon hot springs, Upper Halfway River and Wilson Lake. Stop by the visitor information centre in Nakusp for more information.
Prophet River hot springs
Prophet River Hotsprings Provincial Park is situated along the shores of Prophet River, and home to natural hot springs. The park is located about 60 kilometres west of the Alaska Highway and about 250 kilometres northwest of Fort St. John. The wonderful pools are not accessible by road — would-be bathers would need to hike or ride in on horses, or come by helicopter.
Radium Hot Springs
The village of Radium Hot Springs boasts a number of wonderful attractions and activities for visitors — most notably, of course, are their hot springs. Surrounded by the red walls of Sinclair Canyon, the pools offer something for everyone. The larger pool is maintained at 39 degrees Celsius, and the cooler swimming pool, with a diving board, sits at a comfortable 27 degrees Celsius. There is also an on-site spa.
Ram Creek hot springs
The Ram Creek hot springs simmer at a lukewarm temperature from 30 to 35 degrees Celsius and are clear and odourless. Located outside Skookumchuck, there is room to park and then walk up to the pools.
Ramsay hot springs
Ramsay hot springs are located in the Clayoquot Sound region in the west coast of Vancouver Island, to the west of Sydney Inlet and within the Maquinna Marine Provincial Park. The pools are accessible only by boat or float plane, but they are open all year round.
Sherwin hot springs
The Sherwin hot springs are located on the west side of Kootenay Lake, north of the Ainsworth hot springs.
Skookumchuck hot springs
The Shookumchuck hot springs are located near the First Nations community of Skookumchuck, now known as Skatin, in the Lillooet River valley, south of Lillooet Lake. Members of the Skatin community manage the hot springs and camping is available for a fee.
Sloquet Creek hot springs
Located outside Pemberton, the Sloquet Creek hot springs and adjoining campsite attract a wide variety of visitors. The hot springs range in temperature, from comfortable to unbearable, and have a slight sulphur smell.
Stikine hot springs
Choquette Hot Springs Provincial Park is situated near the Stikine River and protects several hot springs that flow from the granite rocks. The park is located about 120 kilometres southwest of the town of Telegraph Creek and can only be accessed by boat or helicopter.
Tallheo hot springs
The Tallheo hot springs are situated on the western shore of South Bentinck Arm, an inlet on the central coast, southwest of Bella Coola.
Toad River hot springs
These hot springs are located within Toad River Hot Springs Provincial Park, about 160 kilometres west of Fort Nelson, and situated on the bank of the Toad River. Access is only by boat or on horseback.
This British Columbia hot springs round-up was brought to you by our friends over at KEEN. We're enjoying their newest design, UNEEK, described as 'open air footwear.' With tons of punchy colors and being practical for both the beach and trails, we might just find ourselves living in them all summer.
Credit: Michaela Ludwig
Apr 20, 2015
British Columbia Magazine.