Liard River Hotsprings

Finally, internet that works well enough to download photos (albeit slowly) and share some of our past week’s travels with you!

Last week I travelled the Alaska Highway as far as Dawson City, Yukon for the fourth time. The first time was 50 years ago when I was a young teen. The second and third times were in the early 1990s when our own children were young and now we’ve made the trek again, this time to attend our nephew’s wedding.

Every time I’ve travelled this route, Liard River Hotsprings, Canada’s second largest hot springs, located in northeastern BC, has been a highlight of the trip. After a long day’s drive, we arrived at the hot springs around supper time, too late to secure a site in the provincial park campground. Instead, we set up in the overflow area across the highway, had a quick dinner and set off for a soak in the warm water.

From the campground, a short (0.4 mile/0.6 km) walk leads to the hot pools. The boardwalk trail crosses over a warm water swamp and through a forested area that support a variety of plant life that survives at this latitude only because of the hot springs. The area, where we saw a mother moose and her calf feeding on one of our previous visits, has not changed since I was there the first time.

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Ostrich fern and cow-parsnip are two plants that flourish in this warm, rich environment.

Relaxation seeped into my body as I eased into the water which ranges from 42ºC toward the lower end and 52ºC at the upper end where hot water bubbles out of the ground (108ºF to 126ºF). Though facilities including change rooms, benches, and composting toilets have been added since my first visit, the gravel bottomed hot springs, nestled in the boreal forest, are still very much a part of their natural surroundings.

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If you ever travel the Alaska Highway, don’t miss Liard River Hotsprings. You don’t have to stay if that doesn’t fit into your plans. For those who camp, soaking in the springs is included in their campground fees, but day use passes are available for just $5/person.

*If you do go, make sure you remove any silver jewelry before you enter the water! I found out the hard way that it oxidizes it. My pewter pendant was unaffected, but the chain is black!

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