Hidden away in the heart of the Kootenays, this natural hot springs is the perfect spot if you’re looking for something off the beaten track.
Water temperatures range from 42°C to 65°C.
Several streams bubble from the gravel for roughly 250m along the river.
The water has a bit of a sulphur smell, and there’s very little alge in these springs. The main spring bubbles from the ground at the base of a large rock. The water is then piped to the main pool. From there, the water leads downstream to a few more vents, with a scorching one just before the river, where there are three pools.
This set of popular backcountry springs, located on the east side of Upper Arrow Lake, are named after the Halfway River. But what are they the “halfway” between?
Some claim it to be halfway between Revelstoke and Nakusp, but this is not the case. They are located 37 kilometers north of Nakusp and 91 kilometers south of Revelstoke. They’re much more Likely halfway between Nakusp and Galena Bay; they are both 43 kilometers away.
In any case, it wasn’t until 1950 that the river’s name was officially recognized. The river is depicted without a name on Perry’s Mining Map of 1893 and the Canadian Pacific Railway’s Kootenay District Map of 1897. Half-way Creek was first mentioned in a legal ad in the Revelstoke Kootenay Mail on May 8, 1897.
The earliest mention of Halfway Hot Springs is from 1943 in a book called “Interim Report of the Post-War Rehabilitation Council”.
Robert Moody is the site’s operator.
A site host has been employed to oversee the Halfway River Hotsprings Recreation Site due to alleged site abuse
These fees will be collected under an agreement on behalf of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations. They will be used to mitigate site abuse and offset the cost of providing this service. fees of $15.00/night ($7.50/night for seniors) will be collected.
There are two primary ponds to soak in a forested environment right on the Halfway River. There is a shelter for changing and six outhouses on site. There are 20 vehicle-accessible campsites and ten more scattered tent camping areas. In the season, keep an eye out for poison ivy. It has engulfed the surrounding area. PACK OUT WHAT YOU PACK IN; THERE ARE NO GARBAGE FACILITIES ON SITE.
The drive to the hot springs takes some effort. Couple that with the hike down endless stairs, and you’ll feel like you’ve acquired it.
Drive approximately 26 kilometers north from Nakusp to the Halfway River. There is an FSR to the right just before the bridge that spans the halfway river.
Turn right onto this road and travel approximately 11.5kms to the main FSR parking.
Drive approximately 22 kilometers south from Galena Bay. Halcyon hot springs will be on your left as you drive.
Keep an eye out for the halfway river as you continue driving. Moving across the bridge at Halfway River, slow down and take the first left on the FSR after the bridge.
Drive approximately 11.5 kilometers to the main FSR parking area. At 11.5 kilometers, you will come to a fork in the road that is clearly marked. The left path leads down into the recently built camping area, where there is also some day-use parking. The right will lead you to the upper parking lot, which is ideal for daily use and access to the major pools.
Once you get to the bottom, there’s a small change house where you can pop on your bathing suit and store your bag. Although these hot springs are natural, there is a small rec site camping area just foregoing the springs, so you likely won’t be alone. if you’re visiting between June and September
If you made it to Halfway Hot Springs and are looking for more, you could get even more adventurous and go for the upper springs. If you can find them, you’ll enjoy immersing in natural waters on the mountainside, with stunning views under the forest cover. It’s fairly treacherous to get there, and you can get disorientated and off the path. It’s one of only a few natural hot springs left that isn’t populated.
Featured Photo by @sam_rainville