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Pebble / Keyhole Hot Spring

I arrive in Pemberton a day before my brother Mike, so there is plenty of time to do some odd jobs; I clean and organize the Jeep, sew up holes in my tent, do a couple of workouts and read in the sun. Mike rides into town in the early afternoon and we both can’t stop talking and grinning as we organize and drive out to Pebble  / Keyhole Hot Springs.

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Crossing a creek in Jeep

We pack camping gear and food into backpacks and hike down the very steep trail to a great camping area close to the river. A group of seven already at the site welcome us to join them. They turn out to be more interested in drinking than soaking, so we have the springs to ourselves.

Hot water comes out of cracks in the rock for a few hundred meters almost a the water line of the Lillooet River In some places, pools have been made out of sand but they are hardly used and slimy.

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Pebble/Keyhole Hot Springs tufa

A lot of effort has been made to capture the hottest water, again off the scale on my little thermometer. People have built soaking tubs out of rock and concrete that are stuck to the side of the rock face much like swallow’s nests.

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Pebble/Keyhole hot springs pools

The pools are connected by a series of hidden pipes and taps that can be used to divert the hottest water directly to any tub, or to let it drain into the river. Although it shows a lot of human intervention, the tubs are really great.

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Pebble/Keyhole Hot Springs from above

The star gazing while we soak at night is the best I have seen all trip, mostly because the sky is now fully dark. The river roars by just a few meters beside us while we lie in the perfect temperate soaking pool.
I soak again in the morning and we both comment on how clean we feel after soaking for a few hours – not just clean on the outside, but clean all the way through.

We drive further along the gravel road in an attempt to find Keyhole Falls. The river is constricted in a very narrow canyon for a few hundred meters then spews out and down 23 meters to the valley below. We hike a small trail and wind up directly on top of the falls, not the best for viewing but great for seeing who can get closer to the edge simple smile

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Keyhole Falls from above

-Dan

10 Responses

  1. Dan and Kathy says:

    Dan,
    Glad to see you made it to this part of BC. I hope Sloquet creek h.s. is next on your list, it’s one of the better ones in the area (and leads you right past Skoocumchuck h.s!). After that, the jeep would probaly love the road (very rough) from Sloquet to harrison, and then up the other side of the lake to Clear Creek h.s. (poorly maintained (very dirty early this spring, take an extra garbage bag!), but another one crossed off the list).
    How long till your on the Island? We were just there in July and loved everything we saw and did.
    P.S. Buhl Creek h.s. was disipointingly cool, we wandered off into the bush ect. but only saw the pools right at the bridge, are there others?
    Happy Travels,
    Kathy and Dan

    • Dan says:

      Hey guys, great to hear you made it to Buhl Creek. I wandered around in the bush also, and the ones by the bridge were the warmest. Not hot, but warm enough. I’ve been talking to a hot spring expert lately that said a lot of the springs have either dried up or have very low flow rates this summer due to the drought. I’m sure they’ll come back

  2. Glenn says:

    Hi guys, I was at Buhl Creek 3 days ago. 41 degrees, perfect temperature. This one does fluctuate in temperature, so maybe you hit it at a cool spot. Lussier, on the other hand, was the warmest I’ve seen, same day. Go figure.
    Glenn

    • Dan says:

      I’ve been at Buhl Creek twice and both times it was a little below body temperature.
      It was warm enough on a sunny day, but at night it was too cold for an extended soak.
      I think the vents closest to the river are the warmest, maybe it has a lot to do with the height of the river?

  3. Matthew says:

    What are the road conditions getting to the hot springs? Is it rocky, or can a Honda Civic make it down the road and across the stream? Is access limited to a certain time of year?

    • Dan says:

      I think a civic would be fine to get to the stream. You can park just before it and walk the rest, which is only a hundred meters further.
      There is no winter access.
      Good luck.

  4. H says:

    Were there any toilets at the campsite?? Got a group that would love to go up and camp + hike the area… but they want facilities. The hotsprings can act as showers, but toilets too…

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