Harrison Lake is a huge glacier-fed lake that is 60km long, making it the largest lake in British Columbia’s southern coastal mountains. Located at the southern edge of the lake is the lovely resort town of Harrison Hot Springs. The town offers a whole range of activities from outdoor adventures to soaking in the hot spring waters. We have visited this community quite a few times to go hiking or camping, so I thought I should share some of things to do in Harrison Hot Springs, especially hikes.
Soak in the Hot Springs
The most obvious thing to do in Harrison Hot Springs is to relax and soak in the mineral hot springs! The resort features several mineral hot springs pools of varying temperatures, from 30°C – 40°C degrees Celsius. The minerals in the hot springs are said to have therapeutic benefits, so many people visit the resort specifically for the healing properties of the waters.
Visit the source of Harrison Hot Springs
There are a few easy trails if you fancy a stroll along the Lakeshore by Harrison Hot Springs. One option is to walk west from the resort, towards where Harrison Lake becomes the Harrison River. There is a pool that is locally known as the “Hobo hot springs” right next to the original hot spring source (that is pumped away to the pools within the resort.)
The lower pool is covered by the lake in springtime and early summer. It can get a bit clogged up with leaves and debris, so it isn’t always a lovely place to soak, even in the summer time. Still, if you’d like to soak in hot spring waters for free, this is the spot!
Swim in Harrison Lake
Harrison Lake is fed by glaciers from the surrounding mountains so it can be very cold! Still there are some good spots to swim in the lake, like Green Point (near Sasquatch Provincial Park.) If you visit with children, they can swim in the Harrison lagoon; which is a sectioned off area of the lake on a man-made sand bar. The lagoon is warmer than the surrounding lake, and has life guards in the summertime.
Go Camping in Sasquatch Provincial Park
There are three beautiful campgrounds within Sasquatch Provincial Park, at the southeastern edge of Harrison Lake; Hicks Lake Campground, Bench Campground and Deer Lake Campground. All three seem lovely, but rustic. Facilities-wise there are pit toilets, but no running water or electric hook-ups. We stayed at Deer Lake Campground and loved the location on the edge of the lake.
Harrison Hot Springs Hiking trails
Harrison Hot Springs is great for hiking. There are several mountains surrounding the Lake with fun trails with spectacular views. Or, you can explore the surrounding forests, lakes or go chasing waterfalls. I’ll share some fun trails below:
Easy Hike – Hicks Lake
Hicks Lake is a pleasant, easy hike in Sasquatch Provincial Park. The trail is easy to follow, doesn’t have much elevation gain and has oodles of tasty berries. There are several good places to stop to go for a swim. Be prepared to be eaten alive by mosquitoes early in the summer. Full details here.
Elevation gain: 140m
Time: 1.5 hours
Easy Hike – Bear Mountain Waterfall
This is an alternative to hiking the entire Bear Mountain trail. You can stop 2km along the trail at a mossy cliff with a pretty waterfall. The trail is steep, but not hard if you only walk 2km each way.
Distance: 4.2km (both ways)
Elevation gain: 330m
Time: Around 1 hour
Intermediate Hike – Campbell Lake
This was the first hike we did near Harrison Hot Springs. It is known as the Harrison Grind (so you can guess it has some steep sections!) But it is a nice walk up to a lake then then beyond to a gorgeous viewpoint. Full details here.
Distance: 10km or 8km if you stop at the first viewpoint
Elevation gain: 679m (890m elevation change)
Time: We took 4.5 hours including at least half an hour for lunch.
Challenging Hike – Bear Mountain
We loved this hike! Bear Mountain takes you past a mine and a waterfall along a flower-filled trail to incredible views of both Harrison lake, and the rest of the Fraser Valley. It can be a bit of a slog, but worth it for the viewpoint near the top. Full details here.
Distance: 18km – 20km.
Elevation Gain: 1100m
Time: 5 hours. (We took 5.5 hours with 30mins break at the top)
The hikes above are all right by Harrison Hot Springs, but if you don’t mind driving slightly further afield there are loads more options!
- Othello Tunnels – Easy trail along a gorge and railway tunnels (closed since 2022)
- Hope Lookout trail – Short, steep climb to a viewpoint above Hope
- Bridal Veil Falls and Flood Falls – Super easy hikes to waterfalls near Hope
- Bear Mountain – Pretty trails through the forest near Mission (great for mountain bikes)
- Cascade Falls, Steelhead Falls or Rolley Falls – 3 gorgeous waterfalls near Mission
- Cheam Peak & Elk Mountain – Fab trails on the other side of the Fraser River Valley.
- Eaton Lake – A tough hike to a beautiful lake also near Hope
Visit rainbow Falls and Slollicum Creek
The best way to visit Rainbow Falls is to kayak along Harrison Lake to the Rainbow Falls recreation site at the base of Slollicum Creek. However, you can also drive along Harrison East FSR, to see the upper section of the waterfall, called Slollicum Creek Falls.
It is really impressive, cascading down over 360m, in 5 large drops. You can only see the lowest two tiers which are 75m and then 15m high.
Sasquatch Mountain Resort
If you visit this area during the wintertime, you can visit the incredible Sasquatch Mountain Resort to go skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing. We LOVE skiing here as the snow is often nicer than the snow on the North Shore Mountains closer to Vancouver. It is also far less busy (and more friendly) than Whistler.
Eat fish and chips by the lake
There are quite a few tasty sounding restaurants in Harrison Hot Springs, but so far our favourite is to grab fish and chips from John and then to take it down to the Lake shore to eat. This may be a controversial opinion, but it is the best Fish and Chips I’ve had in BC.
I hope this post will help people find some fun hikes near Harrison Hot Springs, or things to do for those of you that are less keen on walking. We have never actually been to the main hot springs, so I’ll come back and update this post once I’ve given that a try.