Fairmont Hot Springs is located in south-eastern British Columbia and is well known for the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. There, they have developed pools for soaking, swimming, and diving as well as a resort & spa, a golf course, and an RV resort. Little do most people know, however, there are some absolutely incredible natural pools located about 500 meters from the resort that are beautiful, unique, and completely free!
I`m going to be honest with you…developed hot springs aren`t really our jam. We are always game for a natural hike-in adventure, but aren`t crazy about the ones that feel like a big outdoor swimming pool. For that reason, we never explored the area around Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. We just assumed that all of the pools were developed.
“Big mistake on our part!”
After driving by Fairmont hundreds of times, we finally decided to check it out. We were absolutely stunned when we stumbled upon this little slice of paradise. The best part? When we visited on a beautiful Thursday afternoon in May, we were the only people there! So if you`re like us and prefer a more rustic, natural vibe, here`s how you can explore these secret hot springs at Fairmont and make the most of your visit.
How to Get There
Great news! The natural hot springs are located just a few minute’s walk from the developed pools at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. To get there, park in the free parking lot just past the booth for the RV Resort check-in. This is the same place that you would park to access the developed pools. Next, continue walking along the road for a few hundred meters towards the RV park. About halfway there on your right, you will see a gravel road leading down along the creek. If you can see the gravel pathway crossing underneath the pedestrian bridge from the road, you are in the right place!
NOTE: There will probably be a sign at the beginning of the road stating that Fairmont Hot Springs Resort deems it unsafe to access this area and that they do not accept any liability for damage or injury. Although it`s important to proceed with caution and at your own risk, it`s okay to go past this sign.
Once you turn onto the gravel road, continue beside the river for about 5-7 minutes. We visited in May 2021 and the road had been washed out in some areas. If this is still the case when you visit, you will have to cross the creek a few times to get to the hot springs. There are several areas where you can use rocks and fallen trees to assist you. Please only cross if you are comfortable and feel that you can do so safely.
Once You Arrive
Once you arrive at the natural Fairmont Hot Springs, you will wonder why anyone visits the developed pools above! The clear blue water cascades in from the hot waterfall and trickles down the white pools created by the minerals. If you visit on a chilly day, the pools nearest the top will be the warmest. Tip from David: don`t miss your chance for a hot waterfall back massage. I avoided it because I didn’t want to get my hair wet, so there’s no shame in that either!
The two bottom pools are my personal favorite hang-out spots because of the views and the deeper water but play around in all of them to find out which one you like best. We visited twice, on a Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, and had the entire place to ourselves both times. I would imagine that it could get fairly busy on a weekend mid-summer. If you prefer having these places to yourselves (like us!) we would recommend going during the week.
Before You Leave
Before you leave, please make sure to clean up after yourself. Leaving the area in excellent condition ensures people can continue to enjoy these stunning springs for years to come. If you are bringing food or drinks, do your best to avoid glass bottles or leaving packaging. It is so sad to visit these incredible areas and see garbage, old towels, or bottles and cans piled up on the side.
Bonus points if you clean up any garbage you do find!
Not quite ready to leave and up for another adventure? Continue up on the gravel road instead of turning left to go back to your vehicle. A little ways up, you will find the original bathhouses of Fairmont. They remain open to the public and have space for a few people at a time. Although less impressive than the lower springs and the waterfall, these are a great place to catch a sunset!