Hot Springs & Hiking Near Whistler

Need a weekend getaway to somewhere peaceful, and out in the middle of nowhere?  Want to combine this with a great hike?

One of my favourite weekend trips Kyle and I have taken over the past few years was out to the Skookumchuck Hot Springs located north of Pemberton.  Although a bit of a drive from Vancouver, if you make this trip into a weekend away, and include a nice hike on the way back then it’s well worth it.  Or you could pay to spend the weekend at the hot springs and relax the weekend away.  To read more about the hot springs themselves, where they get there name, and the history of the area, follow the links from this site:  LINK

The hot springs are nothing fancy in themselves, but they are definitely relaxing, peaceful, and set in a very beautiful location.  If you aren’t into roughing it a little bit, this won’t be a trip for you!

The first step is to gear up with your tent, food etc. and head out on the 3.5 hour drive north of Pemberton to the hot springs.  There are really great driving directions found on this site:  LINK.  That link is also the site where I found all of my original information for planning this trip.  On the way there we made a few pit stops to stretch the legs.  One in particular was Nairn falls, which was located about 20 minutes north of Whistler on the right hand side of the road.  We also stopped at Shannon falls viewpoint, near Squamish.

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Here are some shots I took from the car on the way up, trying to capture the beauty!  It was quite a drive, but relatively easy to navigate given the directions above.  Be prepared for quite a long stretch of gravel road near the end of the trip.  It was fine in our truck, and at the point of our trip would have been ok for travel in most vehicles.

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When you arrive to the hot springs site (after travelling on a gravel road for quite some time!), you can pay for your campsite before entering as there should be a person working at the gate who will take your payment and let you in.  We paid $30 for 2 people to camp for the night, and also purchased firewood on top of that from him (which wasn’t a great price, so if you can bring your own I would recommend that).

The campsites are beautiful!  Located right along the Lillooet River

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Pretty good spot to set up!

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10 steps down from our campsite

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Looking left along the river from our campsite

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Looking up from the river’s edge to our campsite

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Looking down at the river’s edge from our ‘tent’ – aka we sleep in the back of our truck!  Luxury camping.

Once you set up camp, throw on your swim suit and head over to the hot springs.  They are very close to the campsites, just a couple of minutes walk.  Oh and beware- swim suits were optional, especially as the night rolled in.

The hot tubs are heated from an underground hot spring, which is visible, but you can’t bathe in that one because it is deemed too hot!  Instead, the hot springs are funnelled into a collection of random old hot tubs, wooden tubs, and large blue bins!  It is really nothing fancy, and a pretty eclectic bunch of bins and tubs, but as long as you aren’t expecting Spa Scandinave style you will really enjoy it! Each tub is heated to a slightly different temperature so you can rotate around and find one of your choosing.  They even had one freezing cold tub, which felt amazing and invigorating to jump into in between the hot ones.

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A view of the hot ‘pools’ with the spring located to the back left

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A couple of the tubs.  The closest one in the photo was the freezing cold one!

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One of the other larger hot tubs located near the back.  This one really was an actual hot tub like you would have at your home- out in the woods!

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Where the hot water comes from.

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Another view.  You get the idea- it’s nothing fancy!

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loungin’

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So relaxing, you can barely keep your eyes open!

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I love this photo!  Kyle looks like a little happy kid in a play pen!

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Tub hoppin’

That night was very early night considering how relaxed we felt after a few hours of tub hopping, and how peaceful it was to sleep beside the river.

After one night of camping and enjoying the pools we decided to make our way for a hike before heading back to Vancouver.  Unfortunately we became so incredibly relaxed from the tubs we didn’t make it to our ultimate goal of hiking Joffre Lakes, which is more of a major hike in the area.  Instead we ended up wandering around Alice Lake, and finding two short hiking trails that suited us better.  Alternatively, a nice relaxing, but long trail would have been checking out Chekamus lake (if you go up in the summer).  We went up in the winter months, and weren’t sure if the road was 100 % accessible or if there was snow on the ground.  Chekamus lake is a relatively flat hike, about 14 km, and would make a perfect end to your weekend.  If neither of those sound interesting, chose another one off of this extensive list.

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On the drive home

One final tip:  We stopped in Pemberton at a coffee shop and got some delicious muffins the next day.  They were so good that after splitting one we went back in and got some more.  The bad news, I can’t remember the name of the shop.  If you know it you must comment so everyone else can enjoy!

Let me know if you make it out here 🙂  I hope my pictures did it justice and you find it just as relaxing as we did.

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