Lussier Natural Hot Springs, located in the Kootenay mountain range of the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, are possibly the nicest natural hot springs I've had the pleasure of visiting. I realize I haven't visited many natural hot springs, but I feel safe in saying the Lussier Springs are stunning and relaxing and anyone who visits them will be glad they did.
|What a view from the Lussier Hot Springs!|
I heard about the Lussier Hot Springs from readers of this blog (thanks readers!) and decided I just had to visit them this summer during our annual family trip to Invermere, B.C. Upon discovering the closer Fairmont natural hot springs had been destroyed, the visit to Lussier was a no-brainer. We packed up the swim bag and diaper bag, buckled the baby in the car seat, and headed off down Highway 93 (which also appears on the GPS as Highway 95). Lussier Hot Springs are located deep inside Whiteswan Provincial Park, which is just past the village of Canal Flats.
|Road signs to watch for when driving to Lussier Hot Springs - the logging trail road, the park sign, the springs sign.|
Be prepared - the road to Lussier Hot Springs is a logging road made of gravel that winds through the park, and at times alongside a mountain cliff. The road is surprisingly well-maintained for a logging road (no deep ruts, washboard, or over-graveled slippery parts), but I still recommend you drive slowly and carefully. You may encounter logging trucks approaching in the opposite direction, wildlife, and even a cow or two. At one point on the drive, my husband hit the brakes, thinking we were coming up to three giant moose - as we got closer, we realized we were looking at three cows crossing the road. Oops! And of course, at times the road gets scarily close to the cliff - so slow and steady definitely wins the race in this case.
|The edge of the road leading to Lussier Hot Springs. Go slow!|
You will drive for about 30 minutes down the logging road into Whiteswan Provincial Park - the distance is about 25 kilometers, but you have to drive slow. It is impossible to miss the Lussier Hot Springs parking lot - even if there weren't about 10 vehicles already parked there. There are two hole-in-the-ground toilets which also function as change rooms, and a nice, big sign announcing the presence of the springs. You won't get lost, trust me.
|The beautiful and peaceful Lussier Hot Springs in British Columbia.|
Finding your way down to the springs from the parking lot is just as easy. It is a short four-minute hike down a nicely maintained pathway. Wooden railings prevent people from tumbling down the hill. It is a little steep, so if you packed runners, wear them. I stupidly wore sandals, and although it was by no means impossible, I did wish I had better shoes.
|The steep but beautiful pathway down to the hot springs.|
At the bottom, you are met with an extremely picturesque scene. The Lussier River bubbles along, icy cold and clear, and just to the side right on the edge of the river, are three pools. They are just about as natural as it gets - it is obvious people have built up the edges of the pools with rocks over time, but you can clearly see where the hot springs feed right into the pools.
|The hot springs nestle directly against the Lussier River.|
The upper pool is the hottest, and I was only able to soak in that one for short spurts. The bottom right pools were warm to tepid, depending on how close to the river you were sitting. In certain areas, small rivulets of river water occasionally flowed over the rock barrier and into the pools. The left-hand pool was deserted, and when I stepped inside I could see why: it was just as cold as the river. Not my idea of a great place to lounge!
|Lounging in the 'medium' temperature hot spring at Lussier.|
The springs were busy, but not crowded. There may have been about 30 people there in total, and there was tons of space in the pools. The hot pool is a bit smaller, so you were left sitting a little closer to people than you might find comfortable, but it wasn't as if we were piled up on top of each other competing for space. And people seemed to leave the springs at the same rate they were arriving, so it never got too bad. (We arrived before lunch, and by the time we were leaving it did seem to be getting a little busier. I recommend visiting the pools earlier in the day if you want them to be quieter.)
|Lots of people enjoying the Lussier Hot Springs, but it wasn't too crowded.|
The springs are free to visit, as is Whiteswan Provinical Park. Of course, proper bathing attire is requested (no skinny dipping!) and pets are not allowed. I'm pretty sure other common sense no-nos apply, such as no liquor and whatnot. There are signs informing you of the rules, and I'd follow them, because park rangers make the Lussier Hot Springs part of their regular rounds.
We didn't end up staying too long, as Avy Bear was getting a little cranky and we didn't want a crying baby to spoil the serenity for everyone. Next year, though, we are definitely going back!