The Great Hot Springs Roadie

The way the long weekend turned out and the Strata extra-long weekends, I took one day of leave for a 5 day weekend. Of course, I got out of the city as fast as I could.

The plan was to hit as many hotsprings as possible – some easy to find. Some not so easy.

I started with Upper Halfway river. The book basically said “good luck”, leaving me with not much to go on. I did have some posts from the ‘net, so armed with those, I drove for about 20km up a logging road, on about a 35degree day. I found some flagging tape on the side of the raod, and thought I was there. A short hike down to the river and I found no bridge. I was clearly in the wrong place.

Not easilly deterred, I decided to wade across the river. That was never going to happen, so I back-tracked and go out of theere. The GPS I borrowed off Ryan showed I was only a few hundred meters away from the sping. Damn close.

I camped the night at Halfway River Hotsings – much easier to find and an A+ soak.

In the morning I was super-keen to actually get to Upper Halfway, so I teamed up with some others who had heard of it. We again drove out the logging road, but this time we found the right pull-out and were clearly in the right place. Not far from the road was a bridge the size of which meant it was never going to be washed away. We hiked for around 30mins, most of which through very overgrown brush and straight up-hill. Success. We found the srping and had a great soak.

After heading down to Nakusp, I had a flat on trusty Jeepadoor. That, and the general fatigue led me to camp near town in a campground.

I was up early, on the hunt for Octopus Creek hotspring. I drove down to Fauquier, then continued south on logging roads to the Octopus Creek Recreation site. I drove Jeepadoor as far up the old logging road as I could, then hiked from there. I had to thrash down to the creek (which was very very steep), and walked up the creek for another about 1km. I followd lots of orange flagging tape.

When I got to the river, the water was very high and I had to wade across about 12 times on my way upstream. Luckily it was pretty warm, and I got used to the cold pretty quickly.

Each and every time I was scared.

The canyon was very tight without any other options. At one point I found a fire pit, and further up a big length of black plastic pipe, like you find at all the hot springs in the area. The farther I went, the less and less flag tape I saw, until there was none. I was going very slowly with all the rock hopping and crossings and I was exhausted from all the crossings, so I turned back. Ryan’s GPS said I was still about 1200m short of the springs, but I’m really keen to try again sometime.

I drove on, and made it all the way to Crawford Bay, ready for another hunt in the morning.

Talking to the locals in the morning, I felt the standard “We don’t  want you to find our hot spring” attitude. I pressed on anyway. After hiking around aimlessly for a while, I ended up meeting a local guy “Russ”, who had all the answers. It turns out his friend has been doing aerial surveys for a local resort, looking for hot springs (Dan’s dream job, BTW). Finding Crawford Bay warm springs was a snap after that. Not hot hot, but a really refreshing soak, once again all to myself.

I checked out Fording Mountain Hot spring on the way through Fernie, which the local have dubbed Sulfer Springs. Now I know why.

A fantastic roadie, with some success and some lessons for next time.

16 Responses

  1. Dennis Leveridge says:

    The bridge to Upper Halfway Springs is no longer there. There is a wire cable. The river was low enough that I was able to cross easily–no pants, socks or shoes to keep them dry. It was worth the hike (as all hikes are, whether successful or not). The water coming down the rock slide is sooo sweet–next time I’ll take a jug to bring back some of it.

  2. Connar says:

    Did you ever end up searching for octopus creek springs again?

  3. steve white says:

    Great stories, anyone still on the hunt for Octopus ? all I can find are bits and pieces scattered across various websites. One did reveal the ever important coordinates 49°44’11.29″N 118° 4’47.01″W. Wondering if its worth the 5 hour bushwhack in. PS Upper Halfway has to be the best hot springs going.

  4. Steph says:

    I tried to find the Crawford bay warm springs last winter but didn’t have any luck. We went up the forest service road past the dump and the hiked down and followed the river but someone said it washed away a few years ago?

  5. Steph says:

    I am heading up there tomorrow to try to find them again. GPS coordinates I have are 49.71155 -116.762520 .

    Wish me luck!!

  6. Steph says:

    Success! We found it this time after a bit of trial and error. It is on the main river (not the creek running down from the forest service road). It has been overgrown and there was a mud slide at some point but I plan to rebuild it this fall so the locals can use it again. The water was still warm and there was a tarp and old piece of metal that I think was used as a fireplace for extra heat. There was orange flagging that helped us navigate from the road down to the river where we found it. Definitely has potential to be an awesome little place again.

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