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"Relaxation seeps into your body as you ease into the second-largest hot spring in Canada.  
Liard River Hot Springs provides relief to Alaskan-bound travelers after a long day on  
the road. The hot springs complex is of national ecological significance and is well known
for its natural setting in a lush spruce boreal forest. The park is such a popular stopover
for tourists that the campground fills up early each day during the summer months."
~ from the Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park website
Continued from the previous entry.

We didn't stop at this popular tourist destination at KM 1463 on our way to Alaska in early June because we were focused on getting to Alaska. We passed the park on June 12, our first day back on the road after being "stuck" in Watson Lake for five days due to the unprecedented washouts on the Alaska Hwy. between Watson Lake and Whitehorse. We didn't want any more delays.

There was plenty of room in the campground today if we'd wanted to stay overnight. Ironically, now we're "tripped out" sufficiently to try to get back to the Lower 48 rather quickly. 

Along the Liard River before we reached the hot springs going eastbound

I did suggest staying here tonight instead of driving farther to Fort Nelson. After reading about the popularity of the place I wanted to at least see the hot springs.

Jim wasn't interested in getting in the water or even walking back to the springs, which are about half a mile from the entrance parking area and campground. He was willing to let me go on a short hike, though, so we stopped for about 45 minutes while I walked through part of the campground and back to the springs.

He parked the camper in a large pullout across the highway from the park entrance and took a nap while I was gone:

I didn't see any signs about not parking there overnight so that's an option for boondockers.

After talking to the woman at the entrance station and letting her know my plan she pointed me to the campground. I walked through the front loop and was pleased to see that most of those sites are large enough for our camper:

Then I found the trailhead to the springs. I marked my route in yellow on the map above.

Note that dogs are allowed in the campground but not on the trail to the springs (see sign below) so I knew to leave Cody in the truck with Jim.

Did you also notice the bear warning??


Itís a 10-minute walk on boardwalks over wetlands and through boreal forest to the springs. There are several interpretive panels about the fish and other creatures that live in the warm-water marsh and the types of plants that live in the forest.

Here's one that explains the geology of this unusual ecosystem:

Most of the flowers and thick vegetation from the summer are gone now as plants prepare for winter:



Because of the warm, moist air near the springs plants like cow parsnip grow to be so lush and tall in the summer that in the 1940s this area was known as the "Liard Tropical Valley."

The remaining photos are from the hot springs, where crews are doing a major construction job on the deck and change room this fall.

Part of the springs was roped off but 15-20 people were enjoying them anyway:





It was very noisy today with all the construction work.

The folks in the water didn't seem to notice, however. They looked pretty relaxed! The park waited to do this project until most of the visitors were gone but they have to work even on Sundays to get the project completed before winter. 

I walked to the other end of the springs and stood on the boardwalk shown below to take more photos. I don't know how far the trail goes beyond this:


You can read more about the hot springs and the provincial park at the official website or do an online search.

Every RVer's blog I read prior to our Alaska trip mentioned this place. It's probably packed when the majority of tourists from the U.S. and other areas of Canada are heading to and from Alaska. I think we were ahead of most folks in the spring (went by here on June 7) and behind them in the fall (September 9).

Add this to the long list of things I want to do the next time we're up here . . .

Next entrybison and caribou and stone sheep, oh my! This was a banner day for wildlife along the Alaska Highway.

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, and Cody the ultra Lab

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© 2012 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil