With its northern location, Canada strikes most people as a place that would greatly benefit from having hot springs. And luckily, it does. It has more than 30 of them to choose from, mostly spread around the western provinces. Both primitive pools and fancy resorts are in play.
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The provinces of British Columbia, Yukon, and Alberta pack in most of Canada’s nearly three dozen hot springs. There’s a nice mix of free, undeveloped pools, along with manmade resorts, boasting choice amenities. Being Canada, camping is never far away and lodging is often found on-site at the resorts.
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Guide to Canada’s Natural Hot Springs
Canada is the ideal place to be for nature lovers and adventure seekers. The country is filled with natural wonders and is home to over 30 different hot springs.
The hot springs were originally used by indigenous people many years ago, and are now loved and adored by visitors all over the world. The majority of the mineral thermal springs in Canada are on the western side, in the British Columbia, Alberta, and Yukon territories.
13 Province/Territory: (International 2-digit Alpha Code)
- NL = Newfoundland and Labrador (Atlantic)
- PE = Prince Edward Island (Atlantic)
- NS = Nova Scotia (Atlantic)
- NB = New Brunswick (Atlantic)
- QC = Quebec
- ON = Ontario
- MB = Manitoba (Prairies)
- SK = Saskatchewan (Prairies)
- AB = Alberta (Prairies)
- BC = British Columbia
- YT = Yukon (Territories)
- NT = Northwest (Territories)
- NU = Nunavut (Territories)
Canada’s best hot springs allow travelers to relax, destress in nature, and soothe aching bones and muscles. The minerals in the thermal springs are filled with healing and therapeutic properties.
Be sure to practice proper hot springs etiquette when visiting. Leave the springs just as pristine as how you found them, and always travel in groups of at least 2 and watch for bears.
There are 2 main types of hot springs in Canada; developed and underdeveloped (or primitive). Knowing the difference between the 2 is something to consider before deciding which hot springs to visit. The big question tends to be: How hard are you willing to work to relax?
Underdeveloped Hot Springs
Underdeveloped hot springs are all natural with no manmade improvements. They are often very remote or hard to get to but are usually on public land. A lot of them require visitors to drive on some logging roads, which can be a lot more difficult to navigate.
The springs will have some kind of catchment for the water that has been made naturally over the years. Primitive hot springs are more than likely free for visitors, unless on private land, then donations are favored.
One of the best-underdeveloped springs and one of the country’s hidden secrets is the Pitt River Hot Springs. Located in British Columbia, these hot springs require visitors to drive, boat, bike, and climb throughout their journey. But the rewards from the springs are well worth it.
Developed Hot Springs
Developed hot springs are still natural, but have had a lot of manmade improvements. In some cases, the waters in the hot springs have to be piped in from a different location. The water will be more regulated, however, rather than in primitive hot springs. Most developed hot springs are owned by people looking for a profit and are going to cost an entry fee to use.
Developed hot springs are easier to get to and usually consist of bigger pools, more facilities, and amenities for visitors.
Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa are popular developed hot spring in Canada. There are 5 swimming pools on-site, even a private signature room with its own pool. The resort has facilities and amenities that visitors would need to enjoy their time at the springs.
Since Canada is home to more than two dozen different hot springs scattered all throughout the west coast, it may be hard to choose just one. However, there are some in each region that are more favored than others.
Liard River Hot Springs happened to be the second largest hot springs in Canada, located in Liard River Provincial Park. There is a nearby forest popular with hikers, and the location is perfect for people road-tripping across the Alaskan Highway. There are 8 different pools for visitors to relax and soak in the beauty of the Canadian wilderness.
Lussier Hot Springs is located in the Kootenay region, where there are a variety of different hot springs in the wilderness; but Lussier tends to be the favorite. There are multiple different pools ranging in temperature, from freezing to steaming hot. Lussier is a very popular spot and simple to access, so make sure to try and visit in the morning hours, or just before sunset for the best experience.
Miette Hot Springs is located in Jasper National Park and are famous for being the hottest springs in the Rocky Mountain region. The water can reach temperatures of 127 degrees Fahrenheit (53 degrees Celsius), but cools down during its descent down the mountain, and into the pools. These specific springs are also filled with minerals such as calcium, sulfate, sodium, magnesium, and bicarbonate.
Banff Upper Hot Springs is one of the most famous in Canada. Tucked into the wilderness and perched on Sulpher Mountain, this little piece of heaven has everything needed for visitors to enjoy and is the perfect place to be after exploring nature and the wilderness in Alberta. The waters are filled with natural minerals, and are well known for their ‘healing powers.’
Takhini Hot Pools are located in Whitehorse and are filled with minerals, such as iron and magnesium, that give it a tint of red. These pools are surrounded by trees, making it easy for visitors to become one with the world around them.
These hot springs are also the home to the famous hair-freezing competition, taking place in Canada every February; people will wet their hair until it completely freezes, then it’s molded into amazing shapes and hairstyles to be judged and viewed by visitors.
Canada is huge, filled with adventure and natural beauty just waiting to be explored. Besides the dozens of hot springs the country has to offer, it offers rare sights unlike anywhere else in the world. There is more coastline than in any other country, along with mountain ranges, arctic lands, and glaciers. Plus Canada boasts national parks filled with lakes, forests, and even a small desert.
The climate varies from region to region and most places experience all 4 seasons. The country is filled with outdoor activities for all types of visitors and some of the most popular are skiing, hiking, fishing, kayaking/canoeing, climbing, biking, and of course finishing off the day in a natural hot spring.
Learn more about visiting Canada on our sister site, La Vida Nomad.