Harrison Hot Springs travel guide: weekend getaway edition

June 2016

Welcome to Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia.  This quiet little resort town is perfect for enjoying time on the water, in the water, in the forest, or straight up relaxing.

 
Harrison Hot Springs is especially convenient for Vancouverities.  It’s only an hour and a half from the city, and you get the relaxing, island vibe without ever having to take a ferry.

The Harrison Hot Springs Resort

Our journey begins right here where I’m staying, at the Harrison Hot springs resort.  There’s not a whole lot of places to stay in town – and I gotta say, if you’re coming here, this looks like THE place to be in town.  With the option of lakeside views and entrance to the famed hot springs included in the price of your stay, it makes for a pretty sweet getaway.
 
Get on the mailing list for deals
I also learned once we were there that being on their mailing list can score you a really good deal.  It sounds like they only email them out about 3 or 4 times a year, but prices are great and can include perks like a free breakfast.  So maybe I’ll get in on this next time – now that I know about it!
 
Want air conditioning?  Choose the East or West Tower
One thing you’ll want to be aware of is the main hotel was opened in 1926 – and as a consequence, it no air conditioning.  It can get pretty toasty here in the summer, so you might want to look at the air conditioned East Tower or West Tower so you can be cool and comfortable.  It costs a bit more, and may be well worth it.
 
Plenty of pools!
Outside, the grounds are beautiful.  Gorgeous gardens, and, of course, the hot springs.  The water is fed from the spring source into the resort’s 5 pools.  You’ve got your choice of temperatures too – whether you want to go hot hot hot or what to exercise in the lap pool, you can do it all in rejeuvenating mineral-rich water.

A brief history

Speaking of the water, the Coast Salish peoples had known about the springs for years.  They thought the water had supernatural or spiritual powers.  Non-native people only stumbled across the springs hundreds of years after their existence was known by the Coast Salish.  
 
Legend has it that a boat full of gold rush miners capsized during a winter storm.  Instead of plunging into cold water, they pleasantly found warm water!  The rest is history.  Harrison Hot Springs became a destination for those looking to relax – and cure a whole bunch of maladies, from paralysis to diabetes.  These waters may be restorative, but expecting this is a bit ambitious!

Notes from around town

Grocery Options

Grocery options are limited, so if you didn’t bring what you need from home, your last stop before reaching town would be in Aggasiz.  There’s a couple small markets in the village, but they’re limited in fruits and veggies so you’ll want to bring your own.

 

Dining

Green Star Cafe – Great for a light lunch (also one of the least expensive places in town)

Chuck and Kitty’s Country Cafe – Delish cinnamon buns.  Light, not heavy.  (Cinnamon bun expert, here!)

Hungry Chef Eatery – Great for dinner!

 

Best place to eat dinner by the water

Get dinner to go and enjoy it at the picnic tables in Rendall Park at the far end of the village. 

Hicks Lake Loop Hike

Hicks Lake itself is beautiful. The trail, though, is a bit odd. About half of trail has been turned into a gravel road, thanks to the hydro company. We even found a park ranger to ask if there was another trail we were missing, but nope – we were on it!
 
The other half around the lake is a more typical trail. It’s an easy hike for the most part – but there are about 10 or so spots which are pretty dodgy. We’re talking broken bridges, slippery mud flats with no stable footing across it, that kinda thing. If that doesn’t sound good to you, maybe just enjoy the beaches.
 
There few beaches on this lake which have spectacular scenery. Some are the large ones are easily accessible, and there’s a few great spots off the trail as well.  
 
The lake is in Sasquatch Provincial Park, and you can even go camping and fishing here.  They stock the lake each year with about 1000 rainbow trout, and you’re free to fish providing you’ve got a fishing license – which you can easily apply for online.
 
We didn’t need to stay here for the night, but we did enjoy a cinnamon bun which we brought with us from Chuck and Kitty’s Country Cafe – where we came across Chuck himself!  Cinnamon buns may not be traditional hiking food, but I think I could start a trend!

Whippoorwill Point and Sand Cove Beach trail

This morning we took the Whippoorwill Point and Sand Cove beach trail, which conveniently starts right by the resort.  As you head to the start of the trail, you’ll also walk past the source of the spring and the 145degree Fareinheight water.  You can’t get inside, but we did see some people soaking in the relaxing, yet distinctly sulphurous-smelling, mineral water mixed with lake water in a small stream beside it.
 
Compared to the Hicks Lake loop, and you were looking for a real hike, this will be closer to what you were looking for.  The trail splits off and Sandy Cove and Whippoorwill becomes a loop, so either way you’ll see it all.  The trail to Sandy Cove is well defined, and the cove is indeed sandy and secluded.  There’s also some rocks with gorgeous banding and colors.  Speaking of rocks, two of my friends got engaged here – with a ring of my own design from Virtue Diamonds.com.  Awww, a bit of Katie history wrapped up in this travel guide.  We keep following the trail around to Whippoorwill Point.  This part of the trail definitely doesn’t get traveled as often.  Be sure to follow the tree tags to make sure you stay on the path because it’s not defined.  The point itself is gorgeous it is worth the little adventure through the forest–it’s so serene and peaceful.

A great mini-vacation

Harrison Hot Springs is beautiful, relaxing, and a perfect mini escape for a weekend away!  Whether you want to spend your time on the water doing stuff like this – or getting in touch with nature through a good hike, or just enjoying the warm waters of the spring – Harrison Hot Springs has a little something for everyone!

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