Story by Tricia Edgar
Vacay.ca Outdoors Columnist
HARRISON HOT SPRINGS, BRITISH COLUMBIA — It’s early evening, and the sun is beginning to set. Looking out onto the nearby mountains, I sink into the warmth of one of Harrison Hot Springs’ hot outdoor pools. This is my definition of bliss.
Of course, afterwards there is the walk to contend with. This is December, after all, and getting out of an outdoor swimming pool in the cooler parts of the year is a rather chilly experience, but the quiet evening spent gliding around the pool with my daughter is well worth the cold finale.
Now it’s spring, and the weather is a little warmer for the exit. The pools await again, though, along with spring tours of the area around Harrison. If you’re looking for a weekend retreat from Vancouver or seeking a whole lot of nature with a luxurious hot tub to finish off your day, Harrison Hot Springs is the place to go.
The hot springs was one of the original refuges for Vancouver’s urban population. Beginning in 1886, the St. Alice Hotel offered tired urbanites a place to go to relax. After the original hotel was damaged by fire, the Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa started operating in 1925.
Harrison Hot Springs Summer Tips
Although we did a bit of hiking, the elusive Sasquatch didn’t show himself during our visit. My grandfather logged in the mountains around Harrison and swore that the creature was real. I’ve never seen one, but if you’re staying for a while and you’re up for a mythological escapade, the fine folks at Sasquatch Country Adventures will take you on a tour around Harrison, searching for the Sasquatch and other local wildlife. (Rates start at around $100 for a two-hour tour.)
If you enjoy tiptoeing through the tulips rather than dodging 14-foot-tall furry beasts, Harrison Hot Springs has a spring garden vacation package (starting from $339) that will bring you to the lovely Minter Gardens nearby. This is one of British Columbia’s prettiest gardens, and it’s only a short distance from Vancouver. On Sundays, enjoy music in Minter’s courtyard in the afternoons as you enjoy your lunch.
In the summer, families can enjoy water sports vacation packages that take you to play on the lake at Harrison Watersports and slip slide down the water slides at Bridal Falls Water Park. There’s a lot of hiking to be had around the Harrison area as well, including the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve, home of some real-life giants. These birds can stand over three feet.
Romantics love Harrison Hot Springs, and although the resort is a lot of fun for families, there’s a pool reserved for adults as well, so you can enjoy some quiet time. The resort’s spa also offers couples’ packages that include time in a private pool followed by a menu of massages, facials, and other body treatments.
If you’re heading to Harrison during warmer climates, the Hot Springs Resort has an excellent Itinerary Planner that will help you set up your trip. From tasting local artisan cheeses, to viewing the local wildlife with Harrison Ecotours, to a strenuous manicure at the spa, the Harrison area is beautiful, natural, and relaxing, with many outdoor and indoor options to explore.
What else is there to do in British Columbia this summer? Lots! Take a look at these other amazing activities on the west coast!
More About the Harrison Hot Springs
Location: 100 Esplanade Ave, Harrison Hot Springs, BC
Telephone: (866) 638-5075 (toll free)
Nightly room rates at the resort: In June, rates range from $169 to $239. Prices vary depending on date and season of arrival.
Hot springs spa treatments: Treatments that include a soak in the springs’ mineral waters cost $55 per person or $65 per couple for 20 minutes.
What’s That Smell?: To get the full natural feel (and smell) of the hot springs, be sure to take the short walk beside the lake to the rather odorous spring itself. Rotten eggs, anyone?
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