Added by Brenda Lin
Distance: 2 km (1.2 miles) one-way to the hot springMinimal elevation gainRide a sea plane and take a boat through Clayoquot SoundAmazing wildlife: whales, bears, bald eagles, sea ottersEasy hike through a dense rainforest with coastal viewsSoak in a hot spring right on the edge of the ocean
Hot Springs Cove is a splendid hot spring located in Maquinna Provincial Park on Vancouver Island, in the remote northern end of Clayoquot Sound. The undeveloped natural hot mineral spring pools are still enjoyable in their natural state, reached via a pleasant two-kilometer boardwalk through old-growth rainforest from the landing on Openit Peninsula.
Getting to and from the hot spring is an adventure in of itself. The peninsula is only reachable by seaplane or by boat. If you happen to have either, lucky you! If not, charter one through one of the many touring companies located in Tofino. The seaplane is highly recommended - to be able to get an aerial perspective over the ruggedly beautiful area is such an absolute thrill. The whole tour lasts around six hours.
Once you dock at the landing, it's pretty straight forward as to where to go. You will see the park sign located above the landing and the boardwalk that leads to the hot spring. The boardwalk trail itself is a pretty cool and easy trek through the rainforest with coastal views peaking their way through the trees. It's a pretty unique experience, as you can hear the waves crashing while walking through a dense tropical jungle.
You’ll know you are getting close to the Hot Springs when the boardwalk crosses over a very steamy creek. Of course, depending on the wind direction, you may smell it first. At the end of the boardwalk, there is a change house to get into your suit and restrooms for your convenience.
The hot water spills from the creek over a waterfall into a number of rocky pools that make up the Hot Springs. As you get closer to the ocean, the water gets cooler until you are right at the ocean’s edge, and the Hot Springs’ water is mixing with the sea water with each ocean swell. For maximum heat, make your way back to the waterfall to be pummeled as the water free falls onto your head and shoulders.
Don’t forget to enjoy your picnic lunch while taking in the wild and natural views all around you. And do a little exploring while you are there. Just be aware of the time because although you can literally spend the entire day exploring, your return boat will be waiting at the dock at a designated time. They firmly express that they won't come get you if you are late!
The return trip by boat is no ordinary boat ride. Often times wildlife can be seen, such as whales, bald eagles, sea otters, and bears along the shores. The captain of our boat took the time to explain the natural and human history of the area as well.
If you ever do find yourself on Vancouver Island (and everyone should at least once in their life), you owe it to yourself to make the trip up the coast to Tofino and get to Hot Springs Cove, a very unique and BC hot spring. And if you can, take your time on the journey and explore the natural, wild beauty of the place.
- Lunch, snacks, and water
- Swimsuit and towel
- Sturdy shoes and/or sturdy water shoes
- Bug repellent
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