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With 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 hot springs around Whistler. Experience the unique warmth and rejuvenating benefits provided by mineral pools; explore unique areas, hidden deep in the wilderness alongside beautiful lakes and rivers; and sleep under the stars at one of the nearby campsites.
The Sloquet Hot Springs are a natural waterfall-fed hot spring oasis deep in the wilds of BC. Located approximately 3.25 hours (133 km / 70 mi) from Whistler, this spot features a beautiful, naturally created hot springs and a number of vehicle-accessible campsites.
The hot springs themselves are a short walk from your campsite, down a beautiful sloping pathway. 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 tree and enter into the hot springs area, nestled between a cliff and the swiftly flowing river. The large hot springs pool fed by a waterfall. At night, 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).
Driving Directions: Head north on Highway 99 (Sea-to-Sky Highway) towards Lillooet. Take a right onto the In-shuck-ch Forest Service Road (or Lillooet Lake Road). The road runs along the Lower Lillooet River, just north of Harrison Lake, for 77 km (48 mi). Between 76 and 77 km (48 and 49 mi), take the road that leads north over Sloquet Creek. Next take a left at the fork, and another left at the fork at about 9 km (5.5 mi). On your left, you will see a sign welcoming you to the site. Watch your odometer so you don’t miss the turn-off. There is another way to drive to Sloquet from Harrison, although this road requires a high-clearance 4×4 vehicle and is not recommended.
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 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.
Located along the Lillooet River, Skookumchuck Hot Springs (also known as St. Agnes Well) are 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, charming tubs developed from the too-hot-to-bathe-in natural springs. The largest of the tubs sits under an a-frame structure and easily holds about 10 people. The second largest 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, though, like many hot springs, clothing is optional. The campsites at the hot springs are beautifully secluded along the Lillooet River and firewood is provided for each camp site. A bonus for those who stay overnight is 24-hour access to the hot springs, which are lit by candlelight after night falls.
Driving Directions: Head north on Highway 99 towards Lillooet. Take a right onto the In-shuck-ch Forest Service Road (or Lillooet Lake Road). The road runs along the Lower Lillooet River, just north of Harrison Lake, for 51 km (31 mi). On your left, you will see a sign welcoming you to the site. Watch your odometer so you don’t miss the turn-off.
Accessibility: Open year-round, but during the winter expect to 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.
Featured image: Sea to Sky Highway. Photo: Blake Jorgenson
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