British Columbia (BC) is home to some of the most beautiful hot springs in the Northern Hemisphere. From mineral baths and thermal caverns to cold plunge pools and saunas, the Canadian province’s hot springs are a local treasure. With some located only an hour away from Vancouver’s busy centre; they are a sumptuous escape for residents and travellers alike.
There is nothing more divine than slowly slipping into a nice hot bath at the end of a long day of skiing. When that bath is naturally hot, spring-fed and surrounded by lush nature under an infinite sprawl of stars it’s even better. Here’s where to head for the best hot spots across Canada’s west coast.
Harrison Hot Springs
Start your journey with a heavenly soak at Harrison Village, BC. Located only an hour and a half’s drive from Vancouver, the area is famous for its magnificent mineral rich waters, into which the famed Coast Mountains drop down.
The natural pools of Harrison Village are believed to boast medicinal qualities, especially targeting rheumatism and arthritis. Travellers can visit the Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa for a lavish dipping experience or opt for a more affordable public, hot spring-fed pool located down the road from the resort.
Ainsworth Hot Springs
Ainsworth Hot Springs is lovely for a weekend foray that features thermal cavern pools, a natural sauna, a cold plunge pool, and breathtaking views over Kootenay Lake. Probably the most unique attribute of the area is the horseshoe-shaped tunnel pool carved by miners, which grants a dip in a dimly-lit atmosphere with stalactites hanging overhead. After a spelunking soak, have a quick dip in the four-degree Celsius plunge pool for an invigorating jolt.
Hot Springs Cove
Remotely situated on the Clayoquot Sound of the west coast’s Vancouver Island, Hot Springs Cove offers a pristine rainforest experience as well as a potent hot spring with temperatures reaching up to a sweltering 47 degrees Celsius. The water here cascades down rocks into steaming pools that have been left in their natural state.
At Hot Springs Cove, when the tide rises, seawater mingles with the thermal source and creates an especially healing bath. This natural wonder is accessed via a water taxi north of the island’s surf town of Tofino.
Halcyon Hot Springs
What a name. This spectacular resort in British Columbia is celebrated for its potency in soothing aches, arthritis, osteoporosis, and gout. Theses hot springs feature a rare blend of calcium, magnesium, lithium, sodium, and strontium; and are nestled amidst picturesque mountains and the stunning Arrow Lakes. The Halcyon Hot Springs is a historical site over which First Nations people fought before creating a peace treaty that gave Arrow Lakes their name.
Skookumchuck Hot Springs
Accessible only via a rough gravel logging road, this hot spring is arguably the most undeveloped of the bunch. For those who prefer their soak with a side of adventure, Skookumchuck provides wilderness baths that are located right on the edge of the beautiful Lillooet River.
Also known as St Agnes Well, this hot spring is not to be confused with Lussier, another thermal pool area near Skookumchuck on inland BC. Skookumchuck Hot Springs also offers a chance to stay the night on site – not in a lavish resort, but on their camp grounds. What a perfect destination for the rugged bather.