Keyhole Hot Springs (also known as Pebble Creek Hot Springs) is located 100 kilometers from Whistler (Village Gate Blvd). While the majority of the 100 kilometers are on logging roads, the conditions are suitable for most vehicles.
The hot springs at Keyhole emerge from the ground next to the Lillooet River’s swirling, roaring, and glacier-colored water. The color changes with the seasons, but it is always a wonderful, rich, milky turquoise. When sunshine penetrates the deep gorge, the milky turquoise transforms into an unnaturally bizarre emerald green that swirls all around you.
Sitting in the springs, you gaze out at the steep rock face and the vast, truck-sized blocks of it that lies in the river beside you.
The Lillooet River is Powered by many glaciers and snow-capped mountains visible all the way to Pemberton. Take a look in the distance at the Lillooet River crossing in Pemberton Meadows, and you’ll see Mount Meager, a spectacularly jagged and violent-looking mountain.
It’s also a safe place to think about Mount Meager, which caused Canada’s largest volcanic eruption in the last ten thousand years. It happened about 2400 years ago, and Keyhole and Meager Hot Springs are signs of recent volcanic activity, with another significant eruption conceivable. Keyhole Hot Springs has a pretty complex hot springs layout for such a remote location, as well as a very big (unmaintained) camping area in the deep forest, high above the hot springs, about a 10-minute walk away.
Signs of semi-permanent tarp homes can be found in various states of decay, but the campsite area is impressive overall. It is perched on a great bluff with excellent views of the river below and cliff, valleys, and waterfalls across, with the exception of being dark due to the dense forest and freshwater a steep, 5-minute walk away. If the campsite had a dozen tents, you could quickly space them apart enough that you couldn’t see or hear each other.
Keyhole Falls Hot Springs Rec Site and Trail are closed to all travelers from April 1st to November 15th each year due to heightened wildlife problems caused by recreational users. From November 16th to March 31st, it is accessible.
Please be conscious that the Lillooet River FSR is not plowed on a daily basis during the winter, and travel can be hazardous. The route runs across several avalanche chutes. Take precautions and be aware if snow is in the forecast.
Driving Directions: The trailhead is located at 42 km on the Upper Lillooet FSR. PLEASE NOTE: During the winter, while the Hot Springs Trail is open, the Upper Lillooet FSR is not plowed or maintained. Access can be minimal, with potential avalanche danger. Please use it at your own risk.
Travel up Pemberton Meadows Road from Pemberton BC until it intersects with the Hurley Pass Road, then turn right onto the Hurley Pass Road.
Cross the Lillooet River, travel approximately 6 kilometers, turn left down the Upper Lillooet FSR, and continue upstream until 42 kilometers. Make sure you don’t take the Hurley Pass route to Gold Bridge or Bralorne.
Featured photo by: jm.wy