One of my favorite summer pastimes is heading out on a road trip, looking for adventure and finding some epic hidden gems. In the last few years I’ve come across some amazing natural hot springs in BC and I now try to visit them at least once a year.
It’s such a surreal experience hiking through the forest and uncovering natural rock pools. So if you’re going to be in eastern British Columbia any time soon, don’t miss these hidden hot springs!
The hot springs I’m covering in this post are the Lussier Hot Springs, Ram Creek Hot Springs and the Fairmont Natural Hot Springs (including a warm waterfall)!
And these aren’t the ones you’ll find on Vancouver Island. They’re located in the East Kootenays mountain region.
The good news is, is that they’re all in close proximity to each other, so you can spend a couple of days and hit them all.
Canada, and in particular, British Columbia, is known for its raw, natural and rugged beauty.
We love the outdoor playground that our natural landscapes have provided. And that’s exactly what you will find on this road trip.
Make sure you’ve packed your sense of adventure, as there’s a little navigating to do to find each of these undeveloped hot springs.
While all three of these natural hot tubs are relatively close to each other (all within less than 2 hours), they offer a completely different experience.
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Start with the Fairmont Natural Hot Springs, as these ones are probably the easiest to find. There’s a small resort community that’s been built around the commercially developed Fairmont Hot Springs pool.
This community is about an hour and a half drive from Golden, BC or less than 30 minutes from Radium Hot Springs (my favorite sleepy alpine village).
This is also the area I always like to stay in when I’m doing my natural hot springs tour.
There’s also some restaurants, a grocery store and other shops too.
Fairmont Natural Hot Springs
To get to these springs, make your way to the actual Fairmont Hot Springs Resort and park in the parking lot. Then, walk toward the RV park entrance.
On your right you will see a gravel trail and there’s usually a sign that says ‘waterfall trail.’ Head that way!
After about 5 minutes you will see the run off from the pool up above. This has created a bunch of mini craters and mineral deposits.
It’s all orange rock that looks like tiger stripe ice cream!
Snap a few photos and then keep walking; it gets better.
*Update as of July 2022 – this section is now dried up.
Not too far down after a curve in the trail to the right, you will see the natural spring and the warm waterfall!
There’s a creek separating you and the springs, so you have to get yourself across via a few logs that have been knocked down.
Be very careful, and only go one person at a time. Use your hands to help yourself across.
Flip flops are not recommended for this part! When you’re across, splash around and have some fun!
There are a few pools to soak in. They’re not very deep, but enough for you to be submerged up to your shoulders when you’re sitting on your bottom. The water is warm, but not hot.
But even on a cool summer day the water is warm enough to soak in for as long as you want. I love coming here at sunset!
Inside tip – If you want to get a bird’s eye view of the hot springs, take the Geary Lookout trail through the RV park. It’s about a one kilometer walk to a great panoramic viewpoint.
Read next: the Ultimate Road Trip Itinerary From Vancouver to Calgary
Don’t Miss the Original Indian Bath Houses
After you leave, don’t forget to go exploring and check out the original source of the hot springs.
As you head back to your car, keep walking passed the RV registration and up the small hill.
You’ll start to see a small clay-like bunkhouse on top of the hill. This is what the original settlers in the area piped the water into.
There are 3 little ‘bathtubs’ inside in which the water is pumped into. Continue up the hill to find the exact source of the hot spring.
This is where the water is super, super hot. I’m talking dip your toes in for a few seconds and that’s it.
The ground has been dug out to about the size of a small bathtub, but there’s a bench to sit on right beside it to sit and enjoy.
Lussier Hot Springs
The next natural hot spring is about 45 minutes away. Continue south on Highway 93 until you hit the turn off for Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park.
Follow the gravel logging road for about 20 minutes (17 kilometers) until you reach the parking lot.
Travel down the footpath and you’ll see the three pools alongside the river.
This is one of my favorite places in the world. It’s literally the fountain of youth.
After a little white knuckled driving down the narrow gravel road, sweet relief comes over you as you find yourself among the peaceful rustling of the forest that surrounds you.
You descend deeper into the wilderness toward the sound of rushing water and mild smell of sulfur.
After a few minutes of walking, the hot springs reveal themselves.
Large grey boulders envelope the steaming water to create a natural hot tub-like setting.
You will see that everyone scatters their belongings on the large rocks.
The trail is gravel so it will be a little hard on the feet once you take your shoes off, but just go slow and you will be fine.
Lussier is probably one of the most accessible natural hot springs in BC, so if you want the chance to experience one, this is the place.
Even though the road is gravel, its very manageable, and there’s not really any hiking required to get down to the water.
There are 3 pools, the top pool is the hottest, sometimes reaching 120 degrees Fahrenheit where the thermal water comes in.
This pool feeds the other 2 pools, in which the temperature cools slightly as the water gets closer to the river.
*July 2022 update: Lussier Hot Springs is open, but only the top pool is accessible. The bottom two pools are completely underwater from the high river flow. Also, the top pool is not very warm right now, as it was submerged under water in June, so it may take some time for it to heat up.
While there’s a definite sulfur odor, the water is crystal clear and probably the most relaxing bath you’ve ever taken in your whole life.
The combination of naturally occurring minerals and hot temperatures make you feel like an entirely new person.
While this place is getting a little busier each time we visit, it’s still a hidden gem in my books.
Read my full visitor’s guide to Lussier Hot Springs here.
Ram Creek Hot Springs
Last, but not least on this road trip is to continue down the same road passed Lussier toward the Ram Creek Hot Springs.
You’ll travel another 30 minutes until you turn onto something that’s more of an ATV trail than a road.
Keep going another couple of miles until you reach the end. From here, take the trail through the forest for about 10 minutes until you hear a creek.
Follow the sound uphill toward the opening. Here you will find another 3 undeveloped hot springs in the middle of the forest.
These ones aren’t as hot as Lussier; they’re closer to bathwater temperature.
But the secluded, enchanted forest setting makes up for it.
See my full post with all the details about how to get to Ram Creek Hot Springs.
Visit 3 of these natural hot springs in BC with us in this video! We hit them all in two days and had a blast.
Where to Stay to be Close to the Natural Hot Springs
As I mentioned above, I always like to stay in the resort community of Fairmont Hot Springs.
It’s close enough for visiting the springs, and you have all the amenities like a grocery store, restaurants and gas stations.
Note that there is an entire community called the Fairmont Hot Springs, and then there is also the resort with the commercial hot pools of the same name.
We always choose to stay at the Fairmont Mountain Bungalows as they usually have the best prices for the area and you get your own little cabin!
Find 23 more unique places to stay in BC like this one below.
It’s a former park warden cabin from the early 1900s that the owners moved onto their rural property.
It was the perfect place to disconnect for a few days.
Pro Tips for Visiting Natural Hot Springs
Undeveloped hot springs are usually found in the wilderness, somewhere remote or in the middle of the forest. This means you will be in bear country! Read up on bear safety tips before you go.
Travel in groups of at least 2 or more people (more is better). Make lots of noise, and be on the lookout for signs of bears in the area (like fresh scat on the trails).
Since these places are natural and undeveloped, that means there won’t be any changing facilities or washrooms. So plan ahead! Relieve yourself before you go and have your bathing suit on under your clothes.
Better yet, get one of these towel ponchos to change into your bathing suit when you’re out in the open – total game changer!
And perfect if you’re headed to the beach as well.
There are also many hot springs bathers who prefer to enjoy themselves in the nude, so don’t be too shocked if you see this.
Natural hot springs are a privilege for us to enjoy, so please treat them with respect. That means leave no garbage, and be very careful where you step.
These hot springs are also fun to visit in the winter time!
If you visit Lussier Hot Springs in the winter, I highly recommend putting on a pair of ice cleats on the bottom of your boots.
The trail down is a very steep descent, and is usually a block of ice. Getting down isn’t terrible, because you can hold on to the railing and slide down. Climbing back up is the hard part!
I hope you enjoy your hot springs road trip!
P.S. Want to make sure you’re not forgetting something? Check out my list of 16 items to bring on a road trip – everything you need, and everything that’s a waste of space!
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