Goldbug (Elk Bend) Hot Spring

Of course I choose to keep going North, snow or no snow simple smile

I’ve been told by many different people about Goldbug (Elk Bend) Hot Spring and I’ve seen enough pictures and heard many stories that make it a must visit. I get stuck into the scenic two mile hike, walking up a rocky valley the whole time. Most of the way is a gradual climb and the last half mile is very steep.
I can absolutely say it was worth the hike!

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The view from the springs

A very high flow of hot water emerges from the ground right near a natural little creek. The water mixes and flows down over rocks and through pools getting cooler and cooler as it goes down further

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Goldbug is wedged in a steep rocky valley

A couple of different hot sources mean that pools on the right are hotter than pools on the left. The pools are constructed entirely with natural rock – no cement or plastic here. Each pool has a gravel bottom and the high flow rate keeps them very clean and free of slime and algae.

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Flowing down the valley

I have the entire place to myself and wander around for half an hour testing all the different pools and taking photos. I soak for many hours, not really aware of time passing at all.

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There are numerous pools to choose from

My favorite pool is about shoulder deep when sitting/lying down and has a rock on the edge at a perfect 45 degree angle for leaning on. Looking at the freshly snow capped mountains and the storm clouds roll by is the definition of relaxation.

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Twin crystal clear soaking pools (my favourite)

It snows very lightly for a minute, adding to the aura of the whole place.

I’ve tried many times to come up with a rating system for natural hot springs, but have never been satisfied with the result. Lets look at some of the characteristics I like to consider:

  • Accessibility – Not too easy and not impossible, just right.
  • Temperature – Some pools above body temp all the way down to river temp. 10/10.
  • Number of pools – About ten of a decent temperature, plenty.
  • Crowdedness – All to myself simple smile
  • Flow rate – More than high enough.
  • Human impact – One wooden bridge is visible. No trash, no plastic & no concrete. 95%.
  • Water quality – Completely odorless and crystal clear. Could not be better.
  • View while soaking – See for yourself. I say Breathtaking.
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The view while soaking

What does all that rambling mean? I’m not entirely sure.
It would be a very big call to say it’s the best natural hot spring I’ve ever been to, but it just might be.


3 Responses

  1. Jen says:

    Only one word necessary. WOW!

  2. Becca says:

    This is amazing, you’ve definitely inspired me to add a few more places (and days) to my trip! Thank you!!!

  3. John says:

    Goldbug is the best hot spring I’ve been in in North America. It is well worth the hike. I slept a night in the shallow pool in the middle of the river, using a rock as a pillow.

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