Hotsprings of B.C. & the American Northwest


Aislinge at St. Leon Creek

Aislinge at St. Leon Creek

Hotsprings Etiquette A basic guide to avoid irritating hotspring users.

St. Leon Creek North of Nakusp in the Kootenays. The best in the Province!

Meager Creek West of Pemberton, the Meager Creek hot spring is easily accessible from Vancouver or Whistler. Its use and missuse by visitors and the geophysical hazzards have resulted in a hands-on management policy by the BC Forest service. Along with the Skookumchuck hot spring, Meager Creek is a favourite for residents of southwest B.C..

Skookumchuck - Saint Agnes' Well East of Pemberton, south of Lillouette Lake, the Skookumchuck hot spring is another favourite. The spring is on privately owned land and the owners have genourously allowed the public to use the facilities. A campsite, tubs and shelters make this an attractive weekend destination from Vancouver.

Liard River Hotspring Provincial Park First used by workers building the Alaska Highway during World War II

Radium Hot Springs The western gateway to Jasper National Park

Banff Hotsprings The Upper Pool, Canada's first national park and best known hotsprings.

Harrison Hot Springs A favourite for Vancouverites. A commercial hotspring, a resort and more.


Hot Springs in the American Northwest

Washington Springs in Washington State
American Northwest Hot springs in Washington, Oregon and more, from Scott Janssen.
Soak.Net Information on springs throughout the U.S.A.


Etiquette in the Tub

(Making sure no one gets steamed)

It's been several years now that I've been hotspring hunting. For the most part, people you meet at the springs are friendly, considerate folk. It's rare to find a truely unpleasant person. If someone is committing a party foul (major or minor) it's usually because he or she doesn't understand the unwritten courtesies.

So, to preserve and promote serenity (which is a major aim of hotspring hunting to start with) here is an outline of what's OK and what's not.

Gawking and snarling are definitely out. If a spring is in a remote or undeveloped area, it's pretty certain that it's going to be clothing optional. Gawking, ogling, leering and/or staring at the naked people will get you nothing but hostility. So will glaring at them if you don't approve of skin. Conversely, if you disrobe in the middle of a (clothed) family group, you're treading a fine line. If there's any doubt, be courteous and ask.

Children and pets are two different things. (I know there are some who disagree...) Children are entirely welcome in the water. Common sense would indicate that infants need to have a diaper and plastic pants. Also, remember that there are serious risks involved in taking an infant into hot water for more than a very short time! Older children should also be observed carefully, as they can become overheated, too.

Pets, on the other hand, are a problem. I once found myself sharing a pool with two women and their very large and hairy dog. After getting out (soon after the dog got in) I had the urge to check myself for fleas.

Serenity and peace are big reasons why people travel to hotsprings. Pulling out a boom box and launching a heavy metal assault is not going to gain you any friends. Likewise, partying at a hotspring is pushing the envelope. If you do, please respect the folks around you and make sure you clean up afterwards. Meager Creek was destroyed by the party crowd. The campsites were littered with bottles and rubbish and the pools were fouled. When the Provincial Health Service tested the water, they found the fecal coliform bacteria count was several hundred times the safe level!

A hotspring is not a bathtub! Don't lather up with soap or shampoo in the spring. It's offensive, it's unsanitary, it's disrespectful, it damages the environment and, if I'm in the neighbourhood, it will get your head held underwater until you stop blowing bubbles! If you bathe, do it Japanese style. Pour hot water over yourself at the edge of the pool, soap and scrub, then rinse off before getting in to soak.

Most of what I've said is common sense. Keeping it in mind will make sure everyone has a good visit. Be aware! You aren't the only user. If you have any doubt about something you are doing (or thinking of doing) please ask.


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Last updated 23 December 1999