When it comes to de-stressing, you really can’t beat a soak in a natural hot spring. Comfort is type of mind at this time of year, so we’re highlighting the top BC hot springs that ought to be on your radar.
BC Hot Springs
There’s such great variety among the BC hot springs locations. This allows spa-goers to take in some truly incredible views no matter which one you choose. But, since COVID-19, you’ll want to check prior to visiting to ensure the thermal pools you want to soak in are even open. (We’ll do our best to update this post frequently, but things tend to change quickly in this “new normal.”)
Hot springs are known for having healing properties. Canada’s Indigenous Peoples have used natural, thermal water for centuries. The minerals in these water have healing properties that can help combat certain physical conditions, illnesses and stress.
Before you dip into any hot springs, it’s important to follow their rules. Most hot spring pools aren’t like swimming pools. Roughhousing, diving or cannonballs won’t be tolerated. Most require swimsuits and showers before bathing. Please take an actual cleansing shower, not just a quick rinse. Follow all of the pool rules and everyone will have a good time.
Here’s our favourite B.C. hot springs you’ll want to suss out:
Fairmont Hot Springs
Fairmont Hot Springs is a large, resort-style hot spring, about a 30 minute-drive from both Radium and Invermere. The pools are filled with fresh mineral water and are naturally heated. The warmest pool is kept at 39°C and the largest one is 32°C. There’s also a large dive pool that’s 30°C.
For accommodation, you can get any closer than Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, which offers plenty of room options, including cabins and cottages. There’s also an RV park on-site. As for amenities, you’ll find ATVs, archery, games rooms, horseback riding, zip lining and mini golf.
While most folks drive to this resort, you can fly into the Fairmont airport.
Note: This hot spring is currently only open to resort guests due to COVID-19.
Radium Hot Springs
Radium Hot Springs is one of the more popular ones for both BC and Alberta residents. Situated a 3 hour-drive from Calgary and about 1.5 hours from Banff, it attracts tourists and locals from both provinces.
Radium Hot Springs is clear, odourless and open-year-round. The water temperature ranges from 37°C to 40°C and contains sulphate, calcium, bicarbonate, silica and magnesium.
Visitors can purchase single use passes under $10 or pony up for an annual pass. There are change rooms, lockers and bathrooms on-site.
If you’re wanting to stay in the area, you’ll want to find accommodation in the town of Radium. Some of our favourite places to stay include Rocky Mountain Springs Lodge, Prestige Hot Springs Resort and Big Horn Meadows Resort.
Nakusp Hot Springs isn’t as popular as some of the other hot springs in B.C., but it’s known for being one of the cleanest and clearest mineral pools, with one of the highest flow rates.
The hot pool is kept at 41°C in the winter and 38°C in the summer, while the warm pool is kept a few degrees cooler. Each pool contains calcium, chlorides, copper, fluorides, lead, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, silica, sodium and sulphate.
Stay on-site at the resort in either Cedar Chalets or the campground, and take advantage of resort amenities. Or, head into town and stay at Shon’s. It’s an upscale hostel with private rooms, a shared kitchen, plus on-site bike and ski rentals.
Getting to Nakusp can be slightly confusing. You’ll need to take the Arrow Lake Ferry (for free!) across Arrow Lake. Nakusp is located 6.5 hours from Calgary and 3.5 hours from Kelowna. You can also fly into Castlegar or Kelowna and do the drive and ferry from there.
Nakusp Hot Springs is currently open to hotel guests and visitors at restricted hours due to COVID-19.
Halcyon Hot Springs
Just 33 km down the road from Nakusp lies Halcyon Hot Springs. These springs are one of the only hot springs in B.C. with a very high level of lithium. The pools also contain sodium, magnesium, calcium and strontium. The water is so potent, it’s sold in bottles as a health tonic.
There’s 4 pools at Halcyon Hot Springs, usually open to both hotel guests and visitors. The hot pool (40°C) and the warm pool (37°C) overlook the cooler pools from an upper deck. The seasonal mineral swimming pool (30°C) and the cold plunge pool (14°C) are down below.
Below those pools is the spray park, which is great for entertaining kids on a hot day. And if you just can’t enough water, Arrow Lake is nearby.
If you’re looking to stay the night, you’ll want to stay on-site in one of the many accommodation options including loft chalets, king chalets, studio suites, Kings cottages and the Odin cottage. There’s on-site dining at the Kingfisher restaurant.
Guests should be advised there’s no cell service on-site. There is, however, free Wifi for guests. You’ll need to take the Arrow Lake ferry to reach these springs.
Tofino’s Hot Springs Cove
Hot Springs Cove isn’t the easiest of B.C. hot springs to reach, but it’s certainly worth the journey. Located in Maquinna Provincial Park, near Tofino on Vancouver Island, these springs are only accessible by boat or sea plane.
You’ve got a few different transportation options, including covered boat, open-style boat, float plane or the Sea 2 Sky option (boat there, fly back). Transportation can be booked here.
When you get to the island, walk the 1.5 km trail through an old growth forest. At the other side of the boardwalk are 7 geothermal pools. These pools get cooler the closer you get to the ocean.
For planning, be sure to give yourself at least 6 hours on the island. Pack a lunch, towel, water and water shoes. While you’re on your way to the island, keep an eye out for wildlife. If you’re lucky, you might might spot whales (and bears!).
There’s no on-site accommodation, so your best bet is to stay in Tofino. Hotel Zed looks totally rad, with great rates.
Another favourite option is Pacific Sands Beach Resort – especially in rooms that come with your own personal outdoor hot tub.
Note: Hot Springs Cove is currently closed due to COVID-19.
Harrison Hot Springs
Located on Harrison Lake, Harrison Hot Springs has one of the highest mineral concentrations out of all the hot springs in B.C. With 5 mineral pools, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to soak up all those good for you minerals.
The indoor sitting pool is kept between 38-40°C, and is in the quiet zone, making it the best pool to relax in. Also indoors is the crescent shaped pool, kept at 32-35 °C, designed for wading, swimming and stretching.
Outside, you’ll find three pools. The family pool has 4,000 sq ft for swimming and bobbing around. This pool is kept at 33°C so it’s good for kids that can’t handle higher temperatures. Adults can enjoy their own hot pool kept at 37 °C. The last pool is the outdoor lap pool, which is kept at a regular pool temperature. All of the pools overlook the lake and resort area.
The hot springs are only open to guests of the resort, so you’ll want to stay in the on-site accommodation. The resort offers cabin or hotel style accommodation with dining, shopping, golf and a marina.
Harrison, B.C. is in the southern part of the province, just west of the Trans-Canada highway between Hope and Chilliwack.
Hot Springs Near Nelson, B.C.
The best known hot springs near Nelson, B.C. is Ainsworth Hot Springs. What’s cool about these springs is their cave features.
The pools were originally visited by the Ktunaxa First Nations peoples. Like many other Indigenous Peoples, the Ktunaxa used these pools after long days of hard work and for the water’s healing powers. These springs are now owned by the Yagan Nukiy, part of the Ktunaxa Nation.
The pools overlook Kootenay Lake and are fed by the Cody Caves. Each pool has high-mineral levels of calcium, magnesium, lithium, silica and iron. The large pool is kept at 35°C, and the other two pools (cave pools!) are kept warmer at 42°C. The cave pools are 150-foot horseshoe caves and it’s a pretty cool spot to chill out in.
There’s both on-site accommodation and dining at the resort.
If you want to stay off-site, there are a few hotel options in Kalso, which is about 15 minutes away. If you’re staying in Nelson, the hot springs are a 40-minute drive away.
Note: Due to COVID-19, the pools are only available to hotel guests.
Ram Creek Hot Springs
Situated in East Kootenay, Ram Creek Hot Springs can be hard to find. They’re only occasionally accessible by car, depending on the vehicle and seasonal changes. It’s best to expect you’ll need to hike most of the way.
To get here, drive to Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park off Highway 93 and turn onto the service road. This is an active logging road, so be aware of large trucks. Look for the Alces Lake Campground and Lussier River Forest Service Road. Drive down this road and turn right onto White Ram Forest Service Road. This is where most people leave their cars (be sure to keep them off to the side of the road). Follow the walking trail from here and you’ll soon see the pools.
These remote, natural pools overlook bucolic meadows, but know this – there are zero amenities. You’ll want to come changed or bring a small tent, as there’s no change rooms or bathrooms. Some visitors also bathe nude, so be prepared for that.
Ram Creek’s hot spring water isn’t as hot as some of the commercial hot springs. It feels more like a warm bath.
You can camp nearby in the backcountry or in the Alces Lake Campground. If you prefer a firmer roof over your head, there’s cabins at Timbers Resort, Fairmont Mountain Bungalows and the Lodge at Bella Vista are all nearby.
Remember that these pools are part of nature and need to be respected. Clean up all of your garbage and treat the pools nicely.
Note: Check with BC Parks before attempting to visit. The trails and pools maybe closed due to COVID-19.
Have you ever taken to the waters in B.C. or elsewhere in Canada?