British Columbia’s most scenic hot springs


Known for its natural beauty and miles of wilderness, Canada is home to hot springs of all shapes and sizes—a large number of which can be found in the province of British Columbia. Created when groundwater is heated up by contact with rocks in volcanic areas, they are a great place to enjoy a dip while admiring scenic views.

While some hot springs are located in very remote areas accessed only by foot, boat, or even helicopter, many are accessible by driving, making this a great option for a car hire holiday in Canada. Bring your swimming gear, towel and proper footwear for slippery rocks and boardwalks and you’re all set! Here are our top recommendations for British Columbia’s most scenic hot springs.

Ainsworth Hot Springs

Located in a tiny village of the same name, Ainsworth Hot Springs can be found along the west shore of Kootenay Lake and offers panoramic views of the Purcell Mountains. First visited by the Ktunaxa First Nations peoples, the hot springs were previously a haven for relaxation after hunting, fishing and gathering. Open to the public since the 1930s, visitors can take advantage of the hot spring’s 150-foot horseshoe-shaped cave, water heated to a 42°C, as well as a main lounging pool and stream-fed cold plunge. The resort is open year-round and is also home to a restaurant and spa, which guests are welcome to use.

Halcyon Hot Springs

If you’re looking for hot springs with natural healing properties, Halcyon is worth a visit. Located on the shores of the beautiful Arrow Lakes, the mineral waters here have a unique combination of magnesium, calcium and strontium, which are said to provide relief from conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and gout. Pools are various temperatures from hot to cold—the coolest of which is a 13°C plunge pool. Take in stunning views of crystal blue lakes, streams and diverse wildlife while relaxing to your heart’s content. And if you want to stay awhile longer, there are a variety of on-site accommodations available, including chalets, cabins and cottages.

Fairmont Hot Springs

Hiring a car to visit Kootenay National Park? Travel a little further and you’ll come across Fairmont Hot Springs. Attracting visitors from across the world, the resort is home to the largest natural mineral hot pools in Canada, as well as two championship golf courses and spa facilities aplenty. Its diverse range of options and ideal location between the Rocky Mountains and the Purcell Mountain range make it a fantastic spot to visit whatever the season. Soak your cares away in one of three pools (a 39°C hot pool, 32°C swimming pool, or 30°C dive pool).

Lussier Hot Springs

Drive along Whiteswan Forestry Road and take a short hike down the Lussier River to find the next hot springs on our list. These four rock pools are frequented all year round, with the hottest reaching 43°C and the cooler water flowing through the rest of the pools towards the Lussier River. Given its remote setting, Lussier Hot Springs is particularly popular with hikers and campers—many campsites within walking distance and conveniently containing amenities such as toilets and a boat launch.

Dewar Creek Hot Springs

A must-visit for the more adventurous traveller, Dewar Creek Hot Springs is located within the Purcell Wilderness Conservatory Provincial Park and is only accessible by horseback or hiking. Opted for car hire? From Marysville, south of Kimberley on Highway 95A, drive approximately 38km west on St. Mary Lake Forestry Road and turn off to Dewar Creek Road. Turn right and you’ll come to a large cleared area which you’ll need to hike from. Signs within the park will advise you when the hot springs are too hot to bathe in؅—reaching a whopping 80°C at some points during the year. On the upside, wildlife spotting opportunities are also in abundance, with elk, deer, goats and moose occupying the area.

Harrison Hot Springs

Arguably one of British Columbia’s most popular hot springs, you’ll find this next spot a 90-minute drive east of Vancouver. Formerly frequented by the Salish Coast First Nations people who travelled by canoe to benefit from rejuvenating waters here, the hot springs are now part of a luxury hotel resort. You’ll find two natural hot springs here: Potash (40°C) and Sulphur (62°C) which are cooled to a relaxing temperature of 38°C for the public to enjoy. Don’t leave without taking advantage of opportunities for water sports at nearby Harrison Lake—beautifully situated with a mountainous backdrop for your viewing pleasure.

Liard River Hot Springs

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Liard Hot Springs Provincial Park was recommended by pretty much everyone we talked to, so it was a must-stop on our way north. I was a little worried that all the hype was setting us up for a let down, but no, not at all. If anything, I think it was undersold. These were far and away the best hot springs I've ever visited. You walk ~ 1 km along a boardwalk through a marsh and boreal forest before arriving at the springs. One side of the pool has a structure with changing rooms, bathrooms, benches, etc. There are nice steps leading down into the pool. The rest of the main pool, though, is a natural dirt bank lined with bright green ferns and trees. It looked amazing. The pools are fed from a natural spring above. The turquoise water was crystal clear. The bottom of the pool was covered with smooth stones and dirt that was easy to walk on but didn't feel muddy or slick like other natural springs. There was a small waterfall leading from the main pool down into a secondary, all natural pool with slightly cooler water. The river continues out from the second pool, and you can follow it further down. It eventually flows into additional, larger pools; however, they have been closed to the public for a while now. If you ever make the trip along the Alaska Highway, be sure to stop here.

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Taking your car hire along the scenic Alaska Highway? Make sure you stop at the Liard River Hot Springs, located inside the Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park, north of Muncho Lake. As the second biggest hot springs in Canada, you can warm yourself in waters heated between 42-52°C during your visit, while keeping your eyes peeled for tropical and exotic plants, and even moose, attracted by the surrounding water swamps and unusually warm microclimate. And if you fancy staying the night, there’s a campsite open year-round here ($5 day-use fee).

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