British Columbia isn’t just popular for visitors because of Vancouver, Whistler, and the jaw-dropping views of the Canadian Rockies. It’s a perfect place to get out into nature and say goodbye to the stress of the city with some of the most amazing hot springs in the country.
There are many options for a geothermal soak in the Great White North, including both primitive pools and developed resorts. Some have lodging available on-site, so you can stay close and make the most of your time at the springs. There are even a few you can camp at. Let’s look at the top spots to soak in British Columbia, in no particular order:
Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort
Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort sits on the west bank of Kootenay Lake with views of the Purcell Mountains. Guests can soak in the lounging pool (96-101℉/35-38℃) with chlorinated mineral water and in-water seating or a natural sauna-like cave with a waterfall over the opening (104-114℉/40-42℃). The latter’s water falls from the ceiling into the waist-deep pool below, heating the surrounding stone as a side effect.
A cold plunge pool (40-50℉/4-10℃) fed with water from a nearby Munn Creek is also available for the daring. No sulphor smell is emitted from any of the pools. For longer stays, simple and comfortable rooms with First Nations flair fit two to five people. Many come with lake views, and all come with complimentary passes to the springs
Ktunaxa Grill offers fine dining with a wall of glass overlooking the lake, the mountainous horizon, and the lounging pool. It’s named after the original bathers and First Nations tribe of the same name. Aside from the spa and gift shop onsite, there is some amazing skiing, golf, ziplining, and kayaking in the area.
Halcyon Hot Springs Resort
On the east side of Upper Arrow Lake, Halcyon Hot Springs Resort landed a spot in the National Geographic Traveller Luxury Collection 2022. A top notch spa and Top Chef Darryl Crumb’s “modern take on homestead mountain cuisine” are a perfect match for the million-dollar mountain and lake views from the upper deck. The water here is so minerally potent, particularly the lithium content, it was once shipped abroad for medicinal purposes.
The warm (99℉/37℃) and hot (104℉/40℃) spring-fed pools along with the cold plunge (58℉/14) are at the heart of the resort. On the lower deck, there’s a seasonal pool (86℉/30℃) and a splash park the kids will love. There is also plenty of opportunity to jump in the lake. It’s worth noting that you don’t have to reserve a room to be able to use the pools, but if you’d like, there are lodge rooms, cottages, and chalets to choose from.
Outside of the water, a gift shop, yoga sessions–on or off of standup paddleboards–a wooded lakeside trail, and a full spa give even the hardest to please of your group something fun to do. Lakefront gazebos are a great place to enjoy a glass of wine or a good book, and if you’re still looking for things to do, there are plenty of mountain and water sports to enjoy.
Halfway River Hot Springs
The pristine turquoise water of the mud-bottomed Halfway River Hot Springs pools sits between Nakusp and Revelstoke. There are three areas with pools: the wooded Main Pools, the River Pools, and the Pools at the Gorge.
The Main Pools are off the main trail and have a semi-private changing space and natural rock seating. Just 50 yards through the woods are the River Pools whose size and temperature vary. A seven-minute hike downriver are the pools that lie at the mouth of a gorge above the Halfway Waterfalls and directly below the main camping area. The last of these can disappear for parts of the year.
Camping is available May through October with a permit on a first-come first-served basis. Sites are equipped with fire pits, picnic tables, and tent pads, and a few outhouses are scattered throughout the area. The spring is 20 minutes from Halcyon Hot Springs Resort for those who prefer more luxurious accommodations.
Liard River Hot Springs
Near the BC-Yukon border, Liard River Hot Springs, the second largest natural hot springs in the country, sits a couple hundred feet off the Alaska Highway and is a popular stop for people heading to the American state. Guests take a boardwalk through warm-water marshland to reach Alpha pool, a large rustic pool in the middle of a boreal spruce forest.
Moose are also big fans of the place, and 14 species of orchids are among the tropical plants that thrive in the vicinity. It’s also an amazing location to watch the Northern Lights either from the water or the wooden deck on the side. The pool itself stays between 107-125℉ (42-52℃) year-round, perfect for relaxing on chilly evenings.
Provincial park camping is offered, but it’s recommended to book in advance, especially during the busy summer months. Picnic tables, pit toilets, a playground for the kids are all in the vicinity, and there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy aside from a peaceful soak.
Hot Springs Cove, Tofino
It’s a bit of extra effort, but the 1.5-hour boat ride or 20-minute float plane flight to Hot Springs Cove in Tofino, deep in the heart of Maquinna Marine Provincial Park, is well worth it. Guests are likely to see whales, sea lions, bald eagles, black bears, and even buffalo along the way. Another option is booking a spot on one of the year-round tours, usually lasting around six hours, including a two-hour stop at the springs.
From the drop-off point, there’s a 1.25-mile (2km) boardwalk through old growth forest to seven small rock-walled pools perched on the side of a mountain at the edge of the ocean. The average water temperature is 122℉ (55℃). Even the geothermal waterfalls are hot, and the views are picture-perfect all the way around.
Lussier Hot Springs
Lussier Hot Springs is surprisingly accessible for a natural hot springs in the area. Just five minutes from a forestry road down a well-worn path, these four rock pools with gravel bottoms are positioned along the Lussier River, which serves as a cold plunge (45℉/7℃). There is even a changing room and toilet in the parking lot.
The boulder-lined pools are just past the entrance of Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park, but they can still be difficult to get to in icy conditions. Even in the winter, water temperatures range from 94 to 118℉ (34-48℃)
Several campgrounds are available for overnights around the park, but none are directly next to the springs. Hiking, fishing, canoeing, and cycling. are all possibilities within the park.
Pitt River Hot Springs
Pitt River Hot Springs is a dream for the most adventurous among us. Getting there requires a boat ride followed by 17.5-mile (28km) of biking down a relatively flat logging path; the journey is part of the fun. From there, a five-minute precarious climb down to the pools requires hands and feet and use of a knotted rope permanently secured to the rock face.
The pools themselves are rather deep with water coming up around neck level. It’s tucked onto the side of the rushing water of the Pitt River at the bottom of a gorge; it’s as peaceful as it gets. After the long trek in, bathers can camp amongst the pines.
Take note: There is no cell service in the area, and it is very rural. You’ll have to bring anything you’ll need for the night. Either take your own canoe or kayak, rent one at the docks, or hire a motor boat to take you to the biking portion of the trip.
Sloquet Hot Springs
Sloquet Hot Springs is in the Fraser Valley, just under three hours from Whistler with dense wilderness any direction you look. The Xa’xtsa First Nation still does spiritual and cleaning ceremonies as they co-manage the property that is sacred to them. As such, they require swimsuits and don’t allow alcohol consumption in the pools.
Several shallow, natural sandy-bottomed pools line Sloquet Creek, a natural cold plunge for anyone interested. Temperatures vary, but the pools closer to the hot waterfalls source are the warmest.
Nearly 20 campsites are offered on a first-come first-served basis, all with picnic tables and fire rings. Check the road conditions before you go, and if possible, take a 4×4 or something with high clearance for added ease and security.
Nakusp Hot Springs
Nakusp Hot Springs is made up of large, pristine spring-fed swimming pools resembling what you might find at a country club but surrounded by the thick pine forest of Kuskanax Valley. The Selkirk Mountains are visible on the horizon and are beautiful in sun or snow. The hot side of the pool clocks in at 107°F (41°C) during the winter and as low as 103°F(38°C) during the summer. The warm side ranges from 97 to 100°F (36-38°C).
Amenities like changing rooms, a large concrete lounge deck, a snack kiosk, and a playground serve everyone’s needs. A small on-site shop provides an opportunity to shop for things you might need for the day–like swimsuits–and souvenirs. Tent and RV camping is open from May to October, and cozy cedar chalets that house one to eight people are ready for guests year-round.
In the winter, skiers can reach Revelstoke in an hour and a half and Summit Ski Hill in under 30 minutes. It’s an outdoor-lover’s paradise and serves as a base for things like day hikes to Kimbol Lake, short nature walks to Kuskanax Footbridge, and watersports on the Kuskanax River or Arrow Lakes. It’s picturesque any time of year.
Clear Creek Hot Springs
Clear Creek Hot Springs (also spelled as one word “Hotsprings”) at the end of a stunning 34-mile mountain drive (54km). You’ll pass the breathtaking Rainbow Falls and Bear Creek Falls on the way. Some of the overflow goes across the road, so a 4×4 is recommended.
In the middle of a forest thick with pines, there is a single, historical wooden tub and two other rustic pools, plastic shells of a hot tub and whirlpool. Hot and cold water valves allow bathers to control the temperature.
In the distance, rocky peaks show off just above the treeline while, just beneath the tubs, Clear Creek flows downhill. There are no toilets or other amenities, and there is no camping nearby. Bring anything you need, and don’t forget to pack out anything you pack in.
Whether you’re heading north of the border for some world-class skiing or to hike in one of the amazing national parks, the best hot springs in British Columbia will be waiting. Snow or sun, these toasty pools have some of the most stunning views in Canada. If you’ll be heading east from BC, consider Alberta’s top hot springs.