Halfway River Hot Springs is near Nakusp, a super special area when it comes to Hot Springs! There are several places where hot water naturally flows out of the earth, bringing soothing waters to hang out and soak in. There is a range of hot spring experiences in the area, from totally natural and rustic to commercially developed hot springs with pools built up for a more polished experience.
Halfway River Hot Springs fits in the rustic category, with several natural pools on crown land that are free for anyone to access. It’s a 10.5km drive up a forest service road in the snow-free season, which can get a little bit bumpy, but once you are there is totally worth the effort! The hot springs are free for day-use, there is also rustic camping available for $14/night between May 15th – Oct 31st. The fee gets you a flat cleared campsite with a table, plus a few outhouses in the campground stocked with TP, and site host to keep things chill. Outside of those dates, you can camp for free but the campsites and facilities are not maintained and there is no host on site.
From the day use parking lot, you head down a super steep trail for about 500m to reach the river where the hot pools are. It is crazy popular so you are probably never going to have the place to yourself, but there are several pools to space people out. The first pool you will see is the biggest one, re-built in 2017 by a hot spring fanatic from Japan using a bit of not too noticeable cement to hold the stones in place and a cascade to get the temperature just right. Next up are a couple user-arranged pools, then carry on the path a little further to reach a pool right at the edge of the river – my fave! Continue further around the corner to reach another pool.
A lot of people love to go in the winter time too, in that case you’d have to figure a way to get up the 10.5km forest service road on snow because it’s not plowed. The road generally increases in elevation to get to the hot springs, but has ups and downs and in both directions and lots of flats as well. Snowmobiling is the most popular and creates a bumpy, slippy, tracked out and packed snow surface on the road. It is also possible to ski tour or split board, backcountry cross-country ski, walk or even snow bike. The surface and road grades are ideal for snow biking, walking is the next fastest when the surface is packed out by the sleds, backcountry cross-country skiing can be difficult to stay on a smooth track, ski touring and split boarding is just slow going. The non-moto options all take about 3 hours one-way, a bit faster for the quicker modes. Snow bikes and backcountry cross-country skis are faster getting back to the car with more downhill sections, touring and walking will be about 3 hours on the way back as well.