With the cold air sweeping through the valley and the rain falling more often than not, there is no better time to adventure to one of the many hot springs around Whistler, BC. Experience the unique warmth and rejuvenating benefits provided by mineral pools; explore unique areas, hidden deep in the wilderness alongside beautiful lakes and rivers; sleep under the stars at one of the nearby campsites. Take a moment to learn about four magical, off-the-beaten-path hot spring sites in the Whistler area.
1. Sloquet Hot Springs
Relaxing in Sloquet Hot Springs near Whistler. Photo: @dream_and_wander via Instagram
The Sloquet Hot Springs are a natural waterfall-fed hot spring oasis deep in the wild of BC. Located approximately 3 hours and 13 minutes (133 km / 70 mi) from Whistler, this spot features a beautiful naturally created hot springs area and a number of campsites that you can drive directly into with your vehicle for easy unloading/loading.
The hot springs themselves are a short walk from your campsite. Located down a beautiful sloping pathway, you can smell the sulphur in the air and see a glimpse of steam rising as you get closer. Watch your step as you walk down steps made from a fallen down tree, and enter into the hot spring area nestled in between a cliff and the swiftly flowing river. There is one large hot springs pool fed by a waterfall that is beautifully nestled in alongside some pools separated by rocks. At night, be sure to bring a lighter as there are many tea lights placed along the low hanging tree above the hot springs that when lit, create a magical atmosphere. The day-use fee is $5 and the campsites are $15/night (cash only).
Accessibility: Open May -November for drive-in access; during winter, expect up to a 12-km (7.4-mi) hike/snowshoe in.
Local’s Tips: Go during the week to ensure you miss the large weekend groups. Come prepared with a spare tire or caravan with friends, as there is a possibility of getting a flat tire.
2. Skookumchuck Hot Springs
Located along the Lillooet River is the Skookumchuck Hot Springs (also known as St. Agnes Well), which are located just two hours north of Whistler (on the way to Sloquet Hot Springs) on the historic Harrison-Lillooet Gold Rush Trail. This site features a series of rustic, yet charming tubs developed from the too-hot-to-bathe-in natural spring. The largest of the tubs is located under an a-frame structure which easily holds about 10 people. The second largest of the tubs holds about 8 people and provides a wonderful view of the stars at night. The three other tubs are a mix of two-person barrel tubs and multi-person canoe-shaped tubs that are smaller and unprotected by any overlaying structures. There is a small change room and outhouse close by although, like many hot springs, clothing is optional. The campsites at the hot springs are beautifully secluded along the Lillooet River and even provide firewood for each camp spot. A bonus for those who stay overnight is the 24-hour access to the hot springs, which are lit by candlelight for you to enjoy at all hours of the night.
Accessibility: Open year-round, although during the winter, don’t be surprised if you have to hike/snowshoe in if the road is blocked with snow; May-November the roads should be clear.
Local’s Tips: This quirky camping and hot springs site is a fun and rustic experience. Come open minded and leave rejuvenated and relaxed. Head to the site on weekdays to avoid the weekend rush.
3. Keyhole Hot Springs
Located just 2 1/2 hours (101 km / 63 mi) north of Whistler is the natural beauty of the Keyhole Hot Springs. These cliffside springs are all natural with some cement modifications to create idyllic tubs alongside the rushing Upper Lillooet River. The tubs feature taps that were originally created to regulate the amount of hot mineral water filtering into the tub, although they do not currently work. Instead, there is a resident bucket for you to adjust the temperature of the tub with river water as needed. Be careful to check the temperature before you jump in, as I personally have experienced these tubs at very hot temperatures. They are the only easily accessible hot springs on the west side of Pemberton. The hot springs themselves are named after the Keyhole waterfall close by, so if you spend the night, be sure to make the hike over to see it.
There is a new parking lot and a trail leading down the hot springs at kilometre 42 of the Lillooet Forest Service Road. Be careful to check the weather before going; if it rained the night before, the trail can get muddy and hard to navigate to the campsite and hot springs. There is a Bear Safe area for food storage, as well as other hikes and viewpoints to explore while in the area.
Accessibility: Open year-round, although during the winter, don’t be surprised if you have to hike/snowshoe in if the road is blocked with snow; May-November the roads are typically clear. Check the Ministry of Forestry road conditions site for the latest road updates (scroll down to Upper Lillooet/Meager Creek section).
Local’s Tips: The trail to the campsite is steep. If possible, carry all your supplies in a secure backpack so you can use your hands to navigate the trails. Avoid the weekends to better your chances of getting the tubs to yourself.
Read the full article on the HelloBC blog here.
Have a favourite hot springs spot around Whistler that we missed? Leave a comment below.