British Columbia is full of beautiful places, and Harrison Hot Springs is no exception.
As one of the closer resort communities near the populous Metro Vancouver, the town of 1500 has been a popular destination for folks looking for some R&R since the opening of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1886. Accessible both at the public pool and the private Harrison Resorts and Spa, the hot springs itself ranges from a comfortable 40 – 60°C and absorbs an average of 1300ppm.
Although the springs continue to be its main attraction, the area now includes a golf course, provincial park, and a small collection of eateries. Like many Vancouverites, I took the 1.5 hour drive here for a quick vacation (and in my case, before a flight to Hong Kong). Here are ten thoughts from my trip:
- We left in the morning, which meant driving down highway 1 through the crisp morning air. Technically, we made this drive last time when driving to Kelowna, but it’s always nice to take a long drive out of the city.
- Before making our way to the resort, we made a quick detour to Bridal Falls. Although technically a part of the City of Chilliwack, the small community mostly exists as a highway stop for trucks and long-distance travelers. However, we were there to see the Bridal Veils, and after a short hike from the park entrance, we got up and personal with the waterfall. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
- After completing the hike and taking a few pictures, we made our way down to the resort town of Harrison Hot Springs. Now if you look at a map of the area, you’ll notice that there’s basically only one road that leads there: The Agassiz-Rosedale highway. While usually pretty smooth, a broken stoplight limited the road to one direction at a time for a stretch.
- Our first stop in the town was our hotel, the Harrison Hot Springs Resort, to drop off our stuff (cause y’know, we actually brought it). We paid extra for a room with the view and boy was it worth it. It even came with bathrobes so we could enjoy the view comfortably.
- After that, we took a stroll down the esplanade, taking in the sights and fresh air before heading to dinner. We chose one of the higher-rated restaurants in the town, the Black Forest Schnitzel House. There, we got the house pasta and, of course, schnitzel. The service was a little slow, and the food was decent although the schnitzel was really no different than Japanese tonkatsu.
- After dinner, we took another stroll down the waterfront, catching the last few rays of sun before returning to the hotel. It was getting kind of cold at this point, so I had to run back to the room and grab a sweater.
- We were pretty tired by the time we got to the room, so we decided to head down to the hot springs pools to relax. at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa, there are three pools, each with varying levels of temperatures (and operating hours). We spent a little time in the first and second before deeming both too cold, finally settling down on the third which was basically a hot tub.
- After soaking for a few hours in the highly-mineralized waters, we settled down in our room for a session of Overcooked before turning in for the night. If you don’t know already, Overcooked is an insanely addicting couch co-op game focused on preparing as many meals as possible under the time limit. The craziness of it comes from the map layouts, slippery controls, and hectic gameplay. If you haven’t tried it before, I would definitely recommend it.
- One of the restaurants we were really excited for when planning this getaway was Muddy Water Cafe. You see, we’re brunch people and when the internet says that a cafe has the best brunch in town, there’s no stopping us. Well, I guess there is since we didn’t get up in time and arrived about 10 minutes after they stopped serving it – woops. All’s good though, because we enjoyed a very nice meal on the patio of the Lakeview Restaurant a few doors down.
- And after finishing our lunch and walking along the coastline again – this time all the way to the boat docks – we headed home. There were at least three accidents we passed on our way back (with one of them causing a long jam), but we made it home safe and sound about two hours later.
Although I briefly visited the resort community last time on my way back from Kelowna, this little getaway was my first time spending an extended amount of time at Harrison Hot Springs. However, that was probably a good thing because it’s really not a place you would visit more than once or twice a year so might as well make every visit a great one.
And as I head off to Hong Kong for my four-month internship, what better way to make my last few days in British Columbia great than spending them at the heart of the province’s renowned wilderness and soaking at some of the best hot springs in the world.