What do we do after a long cycle tour from Vancouver to Buenos Aires when we lived out of our four panniers and our tent was our main home for the last 19 months?
Why, go camping in the beautiful back-country of British Colombia with friends of course!
It was a beautiful weekend in Southwestern BC and our friends got together for a weekend camping trip up to Clear Creek Hotsprings on the east side of Harrison Lake. Clear Creek Hotsprings, also known as “The Tubs”, is about 50km up gravel logging roads with the last 12km being especially rough. We crossed three creeks this time on the narrow dirt road often clinging to rocky cliffsides with dense forest below. Shortly after the third creek crossing, we go up a hill and it opens up a little with some cleared spots by the rushing creek to camp at and the hotsprings on the other side of the road. There is a log walkway about a 100 meters back into the woods beside a pond and some tubs at the end. The first tubs put here was by Ruth Larsen in the 1950s, wife of Henry Larsen who made a fortune in logging. Apparently, at his time, he was the third richest man in B.C. His wife was a gold prospector and an old hippie as some called (some other say that she “was a bit of a nutbar”). She built a cabin up at the springs, the first road up here and one long-time visitor told us that her memorial is somewhere back in the bush by the tubs. Ruth put in the first tubs, big old wooden wine barrels fed by hoses cemented into the thermal springs in the rocks. As the road was rebuilt by logging companies and after Ruth passed away, more people came to visit these springs and brought new tubs. The cabin is long gone but one of the original wooden tubs is still there. In addition, there is also two hot tub forms and one bathtub nestled in the rocks. It was an amazing special time hanging out with friends at the creek, daring each other to take dips in the icy cold water, hanging out by the campfire and of-course, lounging in the hot tubs. At night, the skies overhead glitter with the millions of stars you can never see in the city.
- From Harrison, head towards Sasquatch Provincial Park on the east side of Harrison Lake. The road goes alongside the lake for a while past some nice homes and then there is a sign that says, Greenpoint left and Hicks Lake right. Turn right towards Hicks Lake and pass the entrance sign to Sasquatch Provincial Park. After a little bit, there is going to be a fork in the road with the option on the right going to Hicks Lake and the option on the left for the East Harrison Forestry Service road. Take the Forestry Service road and the gravel starts.
After the sand pits at the 36Km mark, you turn right on the Clear Creek Road and go up another 12Km to the hot springs. The last part can be challenging with a lot of bumps and some water crossings. It is considered a 4×4 road though cars have made it.
- Don’t forget your sunscreen and bug repellent. Flies, including some huge deer flies, take the day shift while small bird sized mosquitoes take the evening shift.
- It can get busy here in the summer. If you’re looking to camp, get here early on the weekend or better yet, visit on a weekday.
- Please be respectful of the place. It is a very special place without fees, services, caretakers, garbage pick-up, etc etc. It is completely maintained by the people who visit it. Too many wild campsites around Harrison are ruined by people who just go there to party and leave a disgusting amount of trash behind. Let’s try to keep that from happening at these amazing hotsprings and try to leave the place a little better than when you got there 🙂