Northern BC’s Liard River Hot Springs Campground

Northern BC’s Liard River Hot Springs Campground

Hot springs are amazing, and natural ones are even better. What could possibly be disliked about such steamy, scorching pools of water? The scent, perhaps, but you get used to it. The Liard River Hot Springs campground is a terrific place to pitch up camp, unwind, and take in BC’s vastness when you’re in the heart of northern BC. Not to mention how great a warm soak in the forest is for the spirit, as well as your travel-related aches and pains if you’re not as woo woo as I am.

On the Alaska Highway, at Historic Mile 496 (kilometre 765) sits Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park. In other words, it’s essentially on the Yukon-BC boundary. It’s a great spot for a camping trip where you can make the most of the local hot springs. On my summer excursion to northern British Columbia, it was a highlight.

Campground Details

  • $26/night plus free use of the hot springs
  • $15 per night off-season

Heat sources

  • Day use: $5/adults, $3/children, and $10/families
  • yearly pass: $10 for adults and $20 for families

Off-season: No cost

Cash only**

Pros

Sites that are private and well-maintained, accessible, close to hot springs, available year-round, with potable water, allowing dogs, frequently spotting wildlife, and with hot spring fees already included in the camping price

Cons

Summertime occupancy is high, there is no cell service or internet, there are few food options, and there are no showers.

Hot Springs at Liard River

The second-largest hot springs in Canada are a must-see if you enjoy hot springs—and, let’s face it, it would be strange if you didn’t! Only Fairmont Hot Springs are superior to Liard Hot Springs. However, Liard is the nation’s biggest natural hot spring. Really nice, huh?

Only a ten-minute walk separates the camping from the hot springs. A walkway connecting them travels through a warm marsh and boreal forest, where you can frequently see animals like moose and elk. Although we didn’t see any, we were fortunate enough to glimpse some bison on the road near the park.

Many of the amenities available in the entire campground, such as the playground, restrooms, picnic area, and potable water, are also available in the day-use section. Many visitors only spend a few hours in Liard Hot Springs, but I believe you should spend the night. You’ll have more time to explore the area and take in the serene, tranquil waters! And we all deserve to take things a bit easier. Take a moment to breathe in the clean air and forget about the road.

Camping area for Liard River Hot Springs

The Liard River campground is accessible year-round, but only from May 1 through September 30 do full facilities become available. There are 53 spots; 21 are available for reservations, while the remaining 32 are first-come, first-served. You can reserve a spot through Discover Camping if you want to.

In the summer, the campground fills up rapidly, so you have to act early to secure a first-come, first-served site. Try to arrive shortly after 11 am because that is check-out time. When we arrived at the campground at 11:45 am, we had our choice of roughly half of it. A sizable overflow area with pit toilets, dumpsters, and a few fire rings is also located across the highway. Although not the best, it’s still better than nothing!

Campsites

The camping at Liard River Hot Springs is fantastic! They have lots of room between them, are constantly freshly mowed, and are quite private. Every site is quite level, and the picnic tables and fire rings are kept up well, making it simple to sleep in tents. From locations close to the road, some residents have complained about highway noise, however it usually quiets down in the evening.

Additionally, the sites are spacious enough to fit RVs and trailers up to 32′. There are no hookups and they are back-in only, however you may receive potable water from the tap by the door. However, since your trailer would block the road, it’s not the best location to refuel.

Fees for Camping & Hot Springs

The cost of a campsite in the main campground and overflow is $26 per night, however it drops to $16 in the winter. Because camping and pool prices are often different, it’s a great value that your camping fee also includes entry to Liard Hot Springs.

Day-use passes are $5 for adults, $3 for children, or $10 for families if you’re just stopping over for the day. An annual pass is $10 for adults and $20 for families, so if you visit a lot, you might want to purchase one.

At the gatehouse, which also serves as the neighbourhood visitor centre, you can make payments for camping and day-use. The staff is really accommodating and eager to assist you! Your fees support the park by paying for amenities, labour, and upkeep. Just keep in mind that you can only pay with cash and that using a credit card would put you out of luck.

Services + Amenities

There aren’t many amenities at the Liard River Hot Springs campground. No showers, mobile service, wifi, or hookups are available. However, you are left without any facilities or services! Every campsite has a picnic shelter, potable water, pit toilets, trash cans, and fire rings with grates. There is also a nice playground nearby. Inside the gatehouse, there is a book exchange as well (or $2 per book if you don’t have one to swap).

You won’t be able to obtain drinkable water from October 1 through April 30 during the off-season.

If you must have a taste of home, the resort across the highway offers wifi and shower rentals. However, don’t anticipate having a super-fast internet connection, and appreciate the shower because there aren’t many places to get a shower along the Alaska Highway.

Pets

We ask request you keep your pets on a leash while they are allowed at the campground. Your four-legged companions must stay at camp if you plan to visit the hot springs because they aren’t permitted there.

Food

There aren’t many places to eat nearby. If you don’t bring your own food, the Liard Hot Springs Lodge across the highway, which contains a convenience shop and restaurant, is your only practical alternative. Muncho Lake Provincial Park offers additional alternatives, but it is roughly an hour away.

We found the convenience store to have a limited selection and be extremely pricey; we spent $2.50 each for Mr. Noodle cups. However, the straightforward sit-down restaurant is a much better choice if you’re wanting to refuel after a long day of driving. There is a respectable assortment of cuisine but no gourmet or special diet options. Additionally, it is a touch pricey, but that is to be expected given the area’s great isolation in northern British Columbia. After several exhausting days on the road, we were just grateful for a warm lunch!

If you’re camping with a tent, you should absolutely use the bear storage lockers that are available.

Suggestions for Packing

The Liard Hot Springs campground is situated close to the Yukon border in remote northern British Columbia. Since there aren’t many facilities or services nearby, you should be ready before you go up.

PS: Don’t forget to bring cash. Only cash is accepted at the hot springs and campground.

  • Swimsuit

Bring your swimwear if you plan to camp here so you won’t have to miss out on the Liard River hot springs. My favourite swimsuit is by a local BC brand called Londre; it is constructed of recycled plastic bottles and feels (and appears) fantastic.

  • water bottle:

It’s crucial to fill up while you can because the campground has potable water during the summer. Take advantage of it because it’s not always simple to get drinkable water in northern British Columbia. You won’t have to search as long for water because hydration packs contain more than water bottles.

  • Fast-drying towel

The last thing you want when camping is a towel that is sopping wet when it comes time to pack. That’s no problem with a towel that dries quickly! They are also excellent when you need a “blanket” or additional pillow padding.

  • portable camp stove

A portable camp stove is ideal for heating up food and brewing beverages if you don’t feel like cooking over the campfire (or if there is a fire ban). For accomplishing just that, the MSR Pocket Rocket or BioLite CampStove 2 are fantastic tiny stoves!

  • Camp stool

Evenings by the fire are more comfortable and cosy in camp chairs. I own a Helinox Chair One and adore it for its portability, comfort, and light weight. Although it is somewhat expensive, it is completely worth it.

Final Remarks

Provincial parks vary greatly from one another. Fortunately, one of the finest campgrounds is Liard River Hot Springs! The hot springs are stunning, and the campground itself is well-kept and peaceful.

Spending at least one night at the campground is worthwhile even though there isn’t much to do around than bathing in the hot springs. Two soaks in the hot springs and relaxing in camp comfortably filled our day.

I cannot stress how wonderful Liard River Hot Springs are! I only returned from there two weeks ago, yet I’m already planning my return.

Conclusion

The Liard River Hot Springs campground is the perfect place to relax and unwind. The natural hot springs are nothing short of sensational – the steamy water creates an intoxicating aroma that fills your senses. And even if you don’t fancy a soak, there are plenty of other things to do at this secluded spot: hike through the surrounding forest, kayak on tranquil Lake Liard or just enjoy being self-sufficient for a few days in nature. Everyone will agree it was worth every ache and pain afterwards!


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