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  Category   Hot Springs on Vancouver Island, BC
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Vancouver Island boasts one of the finest hot springs in Canada, Hot Springs Cove. This spring, and other hot springs on Vancouver Island, are located in remote, wilderness settings, and getting to these locations is an adventure in itself.

Hot Springs Cove

Hot Springs Cove
Hot Springs Cove is a splendid hot spring still enjoyable in its natural state, located in Maquinna Provincial Park in the remote northern end of Clayoquot Sound. The boiling spring water bubbles up from deep in the earth and cascades down a small cliff into a series of natural layered rock pools, cooled by the incoming Pacific Ocean surf, each pool slightly cooler than the one above it. At high tide the surf surges up into the two lower pools creating a unique blend of hot and cool water. This tidal action also flushes the pools twice daily, so they are always noticeably clean. The spring water is very hot (47 degrees Celcius, 117 degrees Fahrenheit), and is clear with just a faint smell and taste of sulphur.

For the few that can stand the intense heat, a natural shower underneath the waterfalls is simply awesome! Let your tensions evaporate with the steam, at any time of the year. Rejuvenate your soul in these wonderfully scenic surroundings. Soaking in the rocky pools with a mountain rising overhead is a magical experience.

This soothing, natural wonder is open year-round and is accessible only by air or by sea (one-hour water taxi ride from Tofino). The hotsprings are reached by an easy hike on a 2-km attractive wooden boardwalk trail from the dock. A selection of transport packages is offered out of Tofino, combining aerial sightseeing, camping, whale watching and kayaking with the magical experience of a mineral steam bath surrounded by old-growth rain forest.

Hot Springs Cove is a refreshing stop for kayakers paddling through the Flores and Vargas Islands, and for those seeking a less strenuous visit, accommodation can be sought at a nearby lodge operated by the Hesquiat First Nations.

Guests of the lodge are permitted access to the two-mile, well-marked, wilderness trail to Tsamata Beach, to spend time strolling through the uncut forest and exploring the undisturbed shoreline. There are huge ancient cedars, towering Douglas firs, and spruces, some draped with Spanish moss. The air is thick and humid, and everything is lush, damp, green and growing.

Hot Springs Cove is a very popular attraction on the west coast, so a visit during fall and winter will provide more privacy. The mineral water sustains numerous micro-organisms that could affect your eyes, ears and throat, and protective footwear is recommended in the rock pools - rubber-soled aquashoes are best. Bathing suits are not always worn.

Wilderness, backcountry or walk-in camping is allowed, but no facilities are provided. Camping is not permitted on the peninsula portion of the park where the hot springs are located. Wilderness camping is permitted in the remainder of the park. A private campground, operated by the Hesquiat First Nation, is located just north of the government dock.

Ahousat Hot Springs
Tofino provides access to a second, cooler spring at Ahousat Hot Springs, located on the shores of Matilda Inlet in the Gibson Marine Provincial Park, on the south side of Flores Island. Ahousat Hot Springs is a natural warm spring, considered to be of therapeutic value, that bubbles up into a concrete tank. The spring water is clear and tasteless, with just a faint smell of sulphur, and has a maximum temperature of 25 degrees Celcius (77 degrees Fahrenheit).

A non-maintained historic route connects the warm springs to the broad sandy beaches at Whitesand Cove. This route once provided access to a lifesaving telegraph line and an old homestead.

Wilderness, backcountry or walk-in camping is allowed, but no facilities are provided. Reservations are not accepted at this Gibson Marine Provincial Park, and all campsites are on a first-come, first-served basis. The park and hotspring lies in the traditional territory of the Ahousat First Nations, and is only accessible by air or by boat from Tofino. Water taxis from Tofino and Ahousat offer service to the park.

Wolves have been known to frequent campsites - please ensure that all food and items smelling of food, as well as any loose items, are stored out of reach of wildlife. Food must not be offered or made available to wildlife - to do so is a violation of the Park Act.

Gibson Marine Park, immediately south of the Nuu-chah-nulth community of Ahousat, also provides access to the 'Walk the Wild Side' trail, a developed route with boardwalk sections that extends 10 km from Ahousat to the top of Mount Flores. Most of the route follows sandy beaches and trails cut across headlands to join with the next beach. The trail can be accessed from any of the beaches in Gibson Marine Park.

Visitors come from around the world to explore Clayoquot Sound, and Flores Island is one of the most popular destinations for kayakers, who can find ample opportunities for camping and wildlife viewing from the Islandís beautiful sandy shores.

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