Hot Spring Ettiquette Tips 


Imagine yourself in a calm, sulfuric pool, heated halfway to boiling by subsurface magma, whose gases slowly and steadily rise to the earth’s surface in mostly non-lethal doses.

Wipe the steam from your spectacles, and you might just find another person in that pool with you. It would be odd to share a bath with someone with whom you have no blood or tie in a less igneous location. In fact, it’s probably stranger in that colossal crockpot powered by the life-force of the earth, where you’re stewing hundreds of kilometres from social standards.

What if they don’t have any clothing on? What would you say if they invited their friend? Do you compliment them on their appearance, or are there some things better left unsaid? No, modern civilisation teaches us good social behaviour with schoolyard harassment and ice cream cones, not hot spring etiquette.

Which leads us to the main issue: ice cream cones are not permitted in hot springs. That would be strange. That’s why, when it comes to those steamy, sweet soaks in the wilderness, you need to know what’s right and what’s wrong. Well, we have the answer to your problem right here, and the payoff is clear: a fun and rejuvenating time with new people in the great outdoors.


A Proverb for the Wise When considering how to act, keep in mind where you are. There are hot springs all around British Columbia.  The space should be respected. People visit hot springs mostly to relax, and they do so in their own unique way. Some people like isolation, while others prefer to connect with their friends—to each their own. People are drawn to hot springs for the ability to unwind, however. Be respectful of the opportunity for quiet relaxation.

Where it occurs, be accepting, open, and respectful of nudity. Clothing is often optional at backcountry hot springs, but not at easily accessible springs, depending on the location and time of year. Use your best judgement when in doubt. Soaking in the buff can be a freeing and uplifting experience when done in the appropriate environment. When soaking nude, be open and accepting of others. When visiting a clothing-optional hot spring, be courteous of other people’s bodies by not staring or engaging in other actions that objectify their bodies.

Baths are not the same as hot springs! Showering before entering the pools is recommended if possible. The level of access will decide whether or not this is possible, but cross-contamination is a serious danger that can pose difficulties for both you and the springs’ long-term health. Hot springs are commonly contaminated with pathogens and bacteria, however adequate cleanliness can lessen this danger.

Recognize your limitations. Hot springs have a reputation for causing fainting spells. Heat stroke is easily induced in hotter pools, which can exceed 110 degrees. Maintain hydration and pay attention to your body. A pounding heart or a headache are signs that your body has had enough and needs to rest. Exiting pools should also be done with prudence. Overactivity can easily cause a fainting condition.

Glass should never be brought near the hot springs. It becomes a significant hazard that is difficult to remove once it breaks. Be mindful of high-traffic hours and make necessary adjustments. Visiting popular hot springs at less congested periods helps to regulate the impact, and avoiding the throng will substantially improve your experience.

The landowner should be respected and permission asked. You are a guest if the hot springs are on private property. Disrespect can easily result in public access being revoked.

Remove any traces of your presence Even when examining natural regions that have been constructed specifically for human use, the principles of Leave No Trace must be considered, especially given the rising activity surrounding these sensitive areas. Even though they are developed areas, they are still sensitive areas where Leave No Trace rules must be followed. In fact, this is doubly true: the BC Parks Service and other managing organisations lack the funding to adequately care for many of these sites, and some will close if they are not maintained.

It is our responsibility to make sure access endures so that we are all able to enjoy these hot springs.

Keep an eye out for plantlife near the hot springs and be careful not to trample any plants that thrive there. If you pack it in, Then you need to pack it out.

Whatever you bring to the hot springs should stay with you, and if others haven’t cleaned up after themselves, clean up after them.

If you’re camping in the backcountry, stay at least 100 yards away from hot springs.

Leaving your dogs at home is not a good idea. It is impossible to maintain a standard of cleanliness with your pets in your company for obvious reasons.

Plan ahead of time to use the restroom and relieve yourself before visiting a hot spring region. If you have to go number one during your vacation to the hot springs, observe standard Leave No Trace rules about human waste.

Featured Image By @milne.19





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