Deep in the woods outside of Pemberton is a campsite with natural hot spring pools, a site that accommodates the varying needs of all-night partiers, early rising nudists, and relaxation seekers alike.
Pemberton is about two hours north of Vancouver, and another hour or so further up a gravel dirt road will take you out of cell service and into Sloquet hot springs. The drive to the campsite itself is worth the time, the winding road is sandwiched between lush forest and a long shimmering turquoise lake, although the last leg of the journey consists of mostly potholes.
The forest here is thick with ferns and fuzzy green moss. The ground surrounding the camp is a maze of twisting tree roots, rocks, and fallen logs. The campsite has expanded in the last few years, from a cozy cul de sac of sites to an extended road with additional sites. This mostly eliminates the chance of driving all day to arrive at a full campsite, but also potentially results in hot springs body capacity, which really just takes away from the serenity of the experience.
The hot spring is located ten minutes from the campsite, down a steep rocky path and make shift log-bridge and leads down to a series of small pools that gently cascade into a glacier fed rushing river. Each pool varies slightly in temperature, the top pools are fed from the underground spring and a waterfall that is too hot to touch, unless you are insane. The larger middle pools are the perfect bath water temperature, and the pools near the river can be warm to hot. The springs do have a sulfur smell to them, but it is forgotten shortly after you hang your clothing on the small wooden hut and dip into the warm pools of water warmed by the earth.
The hot springs are beautiful during the day, but are magical at night. The bumpy rock wall behind the main pools of the hot springs are perfectly shaped to hold dozens of tea lights. The gentle orange glow of candles and the nearby rushing river sooth the soul while the hot springs sooth the muscles. That is, assuming there aren’t dozens of other intoxicated bodies also being soothed in the warm pools. The increasing popularity of the campsite means that most long weekends or warm spring and summer weekends there will be countless campers crowding the hot springs to party. During the early spring and late fall the hot springs and campsite are usually less busy, and while it’s colder outside it makes the hot springs that much more rewarding to soak in.
The hot springs are considered a native spiritual zone as well as frequented by spiritual and religious groups and nudists looking to enjoy the all-natural hot springs the all-natural way. This wonderful gem may lose its quaint personality with its growing popularity but will still continue to be one of my favourite places to spend a weekend camping.