With cold weather taking a firm hold across the country, many of us may be yearning for that summer sunshine or dreaming of a tropical vacation. But the truth is, you don’t have to wait six months or fly to a different hemisphere to warm things up, especially if you live in Western Canada. Instead, it can be as simple as driving to your local hot spring.

 

Hot springs come in all shapes, sizes and temperatures, from resort-operated commercial facilities to crude rock pools tucked deep into the backcountry. And while some are easily accessible by vehicle, others require a hike, boat ride or even a flight to reach. Regardless, these natural geothermal pools are a great way to unwind, and are even considered to provide a range of health benefits. To give you an overview of some of the best springs to visit this winter, here is our list of Western Canada’s hottest hot spring adventures:

 

Bishop Bay Hot Springs - Northern BC

Travel the beautiful waterways of Northern BC and you’ll find the glorious Bishop Bay Hot Springs. Found 80 km (50 mi) south of Kitimat, the water is odourless and warm, and the lengthy boat trip to get there often makes it a private destination. The three semi-developed pools range in temperature and offer stunning views of Bishop Bay. There are mooring facilities available for boats and three tenting pads for anyone who wants to stay the night and have a beautiful morning soak in the Bishop Bay Hot Springs.

 

Map courtesy of Northern BC Backroad Mapbook

 

Dewar Creek Hot Springs - Kootenay Rockies

Nestled in the heart of the Kootenay Rockies, Dewar Creek Hot Springs can be accessed by foot or horseback. The trail starts after a rough logging road, so we recommend a four-wheel drive vehicle and spare tires to ensure a safe trip up. While most of the pools, except for one, are too hot for bathing, those who make the trek in can still enjoy a relaxing soak in Dewar Creek Hot Springs to cap off their journey through the beautiful BC wilderness.

 

Map courtesy of Kootenay Rockies Backroad Mapbook

 

Europa (Shearwater) Hot Springs - Northern BC

The Europa (or Shearwater) Hot Springs are found along the north side of Alan Reach in the Gardner Canal on Northern BC’s Coast, and are accessible only by boat. Despite the limited access, the beautiful springs draw a lot of visitors during the summer months, and the picnic area overlooking the pools can get to be quite busy. Though you may have to share your time in the cabin there, which offers four double bunks, a trip to the Europa Hot Springs is sure to leave you feeling euphoric.

 

Map courtesy of Northern BC Backroad Mapbook

 

Eucott Bay Hot Springs - Cariboo Chilcotin

Found along the Dean Channel, off BC’s Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, the Eucott Bay Hot Springs are known for their spacious pools and incredible views. The springs can only be accessed by boat or by air, but there is good anchorage and you may even catch a glimpse of a whale while soaking in the ocean-side springs. Well worth the trip, the Eucott Bay Hot Springs are a must for any BC hot springs explorer.

 

Eucott Bay Hotsprings

Eucott Bay - frasemac

 

Halfway River Hot Springs - Kootenay Rockies

Accessed by a logging road that runs along the Halfway River, these springs are nestled deep in the forested mountains of the Kootenays and are a bit of a challenge to get to, since a steep trail must be descended to the springs. The springs bubble right out of the hillside, feeding a series of makeshift tubs and pools. The road in is not plowed in the winter, making this an epic adventure for skiers and snowshoers who take on the 11 km (6.8 mi) trek from the highway.

 

Map Coordinates: KRBC Map 27/E5

 

Hot Springs Cove (Ramsay Hot Springs) - South Vancouver Island

Situated in Maquinna Provincial Park along the west coast of Southern Vancouver Island, Hot Springs Cove is one of BC’s most famous hot springs. However, the powerboat, kayak or airplane trip required to reach the springs means that you will rarely find them busy. Located to the north of Tofino, Canada’s surfing capital, these springs sit right on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Steaming water flows from a 3 metre (10 ft) waterfall into a series of six pools that get progressively cooler as they near the ocean, so you can pick the perfect temperature for your scenic soak in Hot Springs Cove.

 

Hot Springs Cove - jacquie.bug.jpg

Hot Springs Cove - jacquie.bug

 

Hot Spring Island (Gandll K'in Gwaayaay) - Northern BC

Located within Gwaii Haanas National Park, one of Canada’s most ecologically diverse and stunning natural areas, Hot Springs Island is a hidden paradise for those who don’t mind the kayak, boat or float plane in to reach the springs. Many hot spring aficionados even consider these to be the nicest springs in the province. And though a 7.7 magnitude earthquake cause the water to stop flowing in 2012, the thermal activity has been gradually resuming.

 

Hot Spring Island - gwaii-haanas-pc.gc_.ca_.jpeg

Hot Spring Island: www.gwaii-haanas-pc.gc_.ca_

 

Liard River Hot Springs - Yukon/Northern BC

Situated along the world-famous Alaska Highway and ranking as Canada’s second largest hot spring, the Liard River Hot Springs are a mandatory stop for anyone travelling through the country’s northern reaches. With two large pools that range in temperature from 42° C (108° F) to 52°C (125°F), there is plenty of room for everyone here. The springs are surrounded by lush boreal forest, a boardwalk leads you through a warm-water swamp on the way to the springs and the adjacent campground makes overnight stays easy. No hot springs tour is complete without a stop at Liard River.

 

Liard River Hot Springs - wildhearthawaii.jpg

Liard River Hot Springs - wildhearthawaii

 

Lussier Hot Springs - Kootenay Rockies

Located in the heart of the Kootenay Rockies, just within the boundaries of Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park, Lussier Hot Springs are a popular destination, and for good reason. The natural hot springs feed a rock pool right next to the rushing Lussier River, and are accessed by a short trail from the Whiteswan Forest Service Road. Many improvements have been made to the pools over the years to keep them hot even in times of high water and they sit at a comfortable temperature of 44°C (111°F), making this a beautiful backcountry getaway in any season.   

 

Lussier Hot Springs - @matrodger_.jpg

Lussier Hot Springs - matrodger_

 

Pitt River Hot Springs - Vancouver Coast & Mountains BC

Known as one of the most scenic hot springs in Southern BC, these springs are definitely an adventure to get to. Located below a set of cliffs along the Pitt River Canyon, it is a 30 km (19 mi) paddle or boat ride followed by a lengthy bike to get to the springs. There is also a rope assisted scramble to reach the pools themselves, but those who make the journey can enjoy the soak of a lifetime in the 57°C (135°F) springs. If you visit in the summer, you can take a dip in the river to cool off before warming back up again in the springs. For adventurous hot spring hunters, this is definitely one to cross off the list.   

 

Pitt River Hot Springs - rachelgerak.jpg

Pitt River Hot Springs - rachelgerak

 

 

Ram Creek Hot Springs - Kootenay Rockies

With an average temperature of 32° C (90° F), this is more of a warm spring, but the clear, odourless pools set in a quiet valley northeast of Cranbrook are well worth a visit. Coupled with the rough access road in, you are likely to have the springs all to yourself. This is especially true in the winter, when a snowmobile or cross-country skis are required. However you choose to access the springs, you are guaranteed an unforgettable Kootenay wilderness experience.

 

Map Coordinates: KRBC 24/E5

 

Takhini Hot Pools - Yukon

While the Takhini Hot Pools are more developed than the rest of the springs on this list, they are still more than worth a stop for backroads explorers and outdoor adventurers travelling through the Yukon. Found just outside of the Territory’s capital, the springs have two separate pools and lack a sulphurous odour, despite being naturally-fed. A campground, hostel and café are found adjacent to the springs, and a visit at night time can provide you with one of the most relaxing views of the Northern Lights you will find anywhere.  

 

Takhini hot springs - dimitra_kappos.jpg

Takhini hot springs - dimitra_kappos

 

Tallheo Hot Springs - Northern BC

Accessed by boat from the remote community of Bella Coola, Tallheo hot springs offer the ultimate secluded soak for those who don’t mind the journey. The concrete and rock pool is tucked into a small rock grotto overlooking a stunning fjord, with snow-capped mountain peaks towering overhead. The water is odourless and a short trail leads to a cabin hidden in the forest. For a wilderness hot springs experience, this is as good as it gets.

 

Map Coordinates: CCBC 22/B3

 

Weewanie Hot Springs - Northern BC

Found in the ominously named Devastation Channel, these hot springs are anything but. A 40 km boat ride from the coastal city of Kitimat brings you to the beautiful springs, which feature a concrete soaking pool inside of a waterfront bathhouse. The odourless water stays at a relaxing 39° C (102° F) and the views of the surrounding area are breathtaking. Good moorage is found right at the springs, and a short hiking trail leads you to a scenic picnic and camping site. For one of the best coastal soaks you can find anywhere, be sure to check Weewanie off your hot springs adventure list.

 

Weewani Hot Springs - b.m.westerikphoto.jpg

Weewani Hot Springs - b.m.westerikphoto

 

 

    Hot Spring Etiquette

    While these natural soaking pools do offer an unforgettable backcountry experience, it is important to take a little extra care so that the hot springs can be enjoyed by others. While each individual spring varies, there are some general guidelines to follow:

     

  • Rinse yourself before entering a tub: many springs will require you rinse before entering, some with soap and some without.

     

  • No food in the pools: to keep garbage and waste to a minimum, refrain from eating in the hot springs and use the provided amenities to dispose of any waste, or carry it out with you if there is nowhere to do so.

     

  • No dogs or animals in the pools: many hot springs will have signs asking visitors to refrain from allowing their dogs or pets in the springs. Please abide by any signs.

     

  • Be respectful of others: many use hot springs as a place to meditate and unwind, so keep noise to a minimum and mind others’ space.

     

  • Never bring glass containers or bottles to a hot spring.

 

 



 

If you are heading out to a secluded hot spring, you will also want to check the weather and road/trail conditions. Let a trusted friend or family member know where you are going and when you expect to be back. Bring extra clothes, food and water, along with navigation tools like a map, compass and GPS device. And don’t forget to bring your towel as you head off to explore the natural wonders that are Western Canada’s hot springs!

 

 

Did we miss your favourite Western Canadian hot spring? Let us know in the comments below or share your best northern lights photos with us on Instagram using #brmblife for a chance to be featured on our feed and win prizes.