In Hot Water

Here’s where to find B.C.’s best hot springs and thermal spas–and the property deals you can expect to find in these hot communities.

By Charlene Rooke

There are a handful of spots in Western Canada where geothermal water seeps up from deep in the earth’s crust to form steaming natural pools. Long before some of them were tiled over and chlorinated for public use, hot springs were used for wellness and spiritual cleansing by Indigenous peoples (devotees claim that the unique mineral soup of each spring has health benefits), and today’s water-based spa retreats emulate those healing effects. Many of the best places to soak are lifestyle perks of living in easily accessible, great-value communities around B.C.

Lussier Hot Springs: Located in Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park, this is a popular but non-commercial, natural rock, hot springs pool. Take Whiteswan Forest Service Road and at kilometre 17.5 you’ll find a parking lot with a change room. From there, it’s a short hike down to the springs,
Population: 1,000; Average home price: $199,000 (up 30%)

Harrison Hot Springs: This five-pool manicured retreat (including an adults-only hot pool) east of Vancouver has hosted celebs from Clark Gable to Michael BublĂ©, and even has a bar on site–not to mention a full resort, golf course and marina.
Population: 1,500; Average home price: $609,000 (up 13%)

Fairmont Hot Springs: Twenty minutes from Invermere, Canada’s largest hot springs, has a steaming soaker pool (plus swimming and diving dips). There’s also a tiny airport here for the private jet set.
Population: 3,400; Average home price: $404,000 (up 10%)

Feeling the heat at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort hot pools. Photo courtesy Destination BC/Kari Medig

Ainsworth Hot Springs: Horseshoe-shaped caves are worth the mountain drive to this traditional Indigenous soaking spot in the West Kootenay (15 minutes south of Kaslo). The natural mineral water emerges from the rock so hot, it has to be cooled (to 35-42C) for human soaking.
Population: 1,000; Average home price: $260,000 (up 14%)

Nakusp Hot Springs and Halcyon Hot Springs: After soaking in the hot pools you could cozy up in a rental chalet at Nakusp Hot Springs–but why not buy a cabin of your own in the nearby village? A 25-minute drive north, Halcyon Hot Springs offers views of the Monashees and a bracing cold dunk.,
Population: 1,100; Average home price: $249,000 (up 13%)

Hot Springs Cove: Book a water taxi or floatplane tour from Tofino, then hike along a two-kilometre boardwalk to the springs and a natural waterfall–but not at high tide, when the hot pools can fill with cold Pacific water.
Population: 2,000; Average home price: $757,000 (up 19%)

Radium Hot Springs: Fifteen minutes north of Invermere, the Radium springs features dramatic rock-wall backdrops and separate hot and family pools; you can even book a yoga vacay here.
Population: 1,000; Average home price: $331,000 (up 2%)

Canyon Hot Springs: Make this stop between Glacier and Mount Revelstoke National Parks (a 20-minute drive northeast of Revy) your home pool. Weary CPR workers discovered the steaming hot springs here more than a century ago.
Population: 13,000; Average home price: $500,000 (up 18%)

Kurspa at Sparkling Hill Resort: Normally, this luxe wellness spa is only accessible by Sparkling Hill resort guests, but residents of the adjacent Predator Ridge community have spa privileges. Cutting-edge natural and homeopathic treatments and facilities like a cryo cold chamber complement indoor/outdoor pools, steam rooms and sauna set against a stunning natural backdrop.
Population: 40,000; Average home price: $447,000 (up 8%)

Scandinave Spa: Hydrotherapy pools of varying temperatures, saunas and a massage facility are part of the attraction of a day pass or shorter visit to this restorative European-style water spa.
Population: 12,000; Average home price: $1,935,000 (up 11%)