The province of British Columbia is teeming with hot springs, just waiting to help you set your worries adrift. But if a traditional spa or resort isn’t exactly up your alley, try some of these natural hot springs – the adventure is getting there, and the reward is a natural hot spring and the beautiful scenery around you.
For these trips, it’s likely you’ll be camping overnight or staying for the whole day. Don’t forget to plan accordingly.
Ahousat hot springs
Where: The Ahousat hot springs are situated on the shores of Matilda Inlet, on the south side of Flores Island, in Gibson Marine Provincial Park.
What you need to know: 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.
Hot springs at Kitimat
Where: Kitimat, in northern BC, 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. The Weewanie hot springs are closest to Kitimat, about 38 kilometres away in Ursula Channel. The Bishop Bay hot springs are about 80 kilometres away from town, in Devastation Channel.
What you need to know: 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. 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.
Stikine hot springs
Where: Choquette Hot Springs Provincial Park is situated near the Stikine River. The park is located about 120 kilometres southwest of the town of Telegraph Creek and can only be accessed by boat or helicopter.
What you need to know: You’ll find several hot springs that flow out of the granite rocks.
Hot Springs Cove
Where: 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.
What you need to know: There is a succession of pools, which gradually cool down as you get closer to the ocean – starting around 109 degrees Celsius and getting down to about 50 degrees.
Keyhole hot springs
Where: 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.
What you need to know: 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.
Watch Brayden Hall’s drone footage of Keyhole Hot Springs below. See more of his amazing work on Youtube and Instagram.
Lakelse hot springs
Where: 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.
What you need to know: The hot water seeps through the faults in the valley, which may have been the source for the Tseax Cone eruption 250 years ago.
Lussier hot springs
Where: The Lussier hot springs are undeveloped, natural hot springs within Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park.
What you need to know: 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
Where: 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.
What you need to know: Official access to the pools closed several years ago after an avalanche, but visitors still come in via trails.
Ramsay hot springs
Where: 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.
What you need to know: The pools are accessible only by boat or float plane, but they are open all year round.
Prophet River hot springs
Where: 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.
What you need to know: The wonderful pools are not accessible by road – would be bathers would need to hike or ride in on horses, or come by helicopter.
This article was originally featured in BC Mag’s Summer 2021 issue and on BCMag.com on January 4th, 2017.