Reconnect with your primal roots and experience a getaway at Halfway Hot Springs. Located almost literally "halfway" between Nakusp and Revelstoke, these springs are bubbling right out of the hillside along a river. The springs feed via an amateur tube network into makeshift hot tubs and others into rock-lined mud-bottomed hot pools. For most, the area is an hour driving away from the bustling confusion and distraction of city life, including cell service. Disconnect, relax, and rejuvenate.
As of August 2016, Halfway Hot Springs has now been fully developed by BC Parks. The fee is $12/night from May 1st through October 31st every year. The new site host ("Bob") lives on and maintains the site. Please respect the area and pack out what you bring in. There are 12 vehicle-access camping spots, and another 10 spread out through the forest.
Halfway is a fantastic winter escape for snowshoers. Park on the highway and begin your 11 kilometre trek down the snowed in forest service road for the heated reward that awaits you at the end!
St. Leon Hot Springs
These springs are entirely different than Halfway, even though they are just up the road. See stleonhotsprings.com for more information.
Preparation & Amenities
There is are a few outhouses, but that is where the amenities end. Most of the campsites now have fire-pits, massive BC Parks-style tables, and a sand tent pad. Bring your own firewood, toilet paper, clean drinking water (or pump), and all of the other usual camping gear. Pack lightly, efficiently, but completely. The hike down is very steep to the springs, and visitors are no longer permitted to camp at them. Camping must be done at the new drive-in sites above.
Plan Your Route
Driving time to the destination is approximately four hours if leaving from downtown Kelowna, and includes the free Needles-Faquier ferry. The ferry leaves every 30 minutes, and only takes about 10 minutes to cross the river. Drive from Kelowna to Nakusp, despite what your GPS or Google may say about taking a route through Revelstoke. The Faquier route is faster as the Needles ferry is a much shorter ride and less painful if you miss it. However, the highway you will follow out of Vernon is substantially windier and not recommended at night. Take the Revelstoke route if coming from Kamloops or Salmon Arm. Essentially, get to Nakusp, BC as it is the starting point for our directions.
Needles-Fauquier Ferry Information
- Departure from Needles (Vernon Side): 15 min and 45 min past the hour
- Departure from Fauquier (Nakusp Side): On the hour, and 30 min past the hour
- Capacity: 30 vehicles
- Crossing Time: 5 to 15 min
- Operating Times: 24-hours per day
- Phone: +1 (250) 265-2105
- Web: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/marine/ferry_schedules.htm#needles
Directions from Kelowna
- Drive to Nakusp, BC and begin the journey at the corner of "Broadway St W" and "6th Ave SW" where the Overwaitea/Coopers Foods is located. Reset odometer trip-planner in your car to zero.
- Drive North on 6th Ave which continues onto Canyon Road North (Highway 6) towards Revelstoke. Continue on this road for 25.42 kilometres.
- Just before 25.42 km there is a short bridge, two turn offs, and then the "Halfway River" turn-off. Our turn-off is the one right before the Halfway River bridge and is relatively clear and often marked with ribbon. If you take the turn-off after the "Halfway River" bridge, you'll wind up on the wrong (North) side of the river on a different road.
- Continue on this dirt forest service road for almost exactly 11 kilometres and GO SLOWLY to avoid flat tires. There are a few forks in the road before the 11 km marker, but take none of them: stay on the road that looks the most used!
- At the 11 km fork you can either head down towards the springs on a VERY rough dirt road on foot, or in an SUV. It's a muddy and rough adventure, so for the wiser traveller, continue along the main road for another few hundred meters to reach another fork in the road which provides easier access to the springs.
- If at the second access fork to the springs, park and walk down the left-hand trail or drive if your vehicle will allow it for another couple hundred meters. The trailhead will be on your left and is moderately narrow. Begin your hiking descent to the springs!
- The trail eventually comes to a small camping area with an outhouse. Don't be fooled; this isn't the springs! Continue to the right on the backside of the outhouse down the VERY steep hill until you encounter a large boulder, the outhouse, and main campsites.
- The drive to Halfway includes a very rough forest service road. This is poorly maintained and can be tricky at best in a small car, but it is doable. 4x4-capable vehicles are highly recommended.
- The forest service road is often snowy right up until mid-April. Weather then deteriorates around the end of October, leaving the best and most popular travel dates mid-May through mid-October.
- There is a lot of poison ivy at the site. Please do your research and avoid it!
- The pools are not chlorinated; usage is at your own risk. Despite the healing mineral properties in the water, and the natural sulphur, bacteria and viruses can still grow here. Do not submerse your head in the pools or enter if you have open wounds.
- The hike down is very short (less than one kilometre), but it traverses down a very steep embankment. Recently, stairs have been added to aid adventurers.
- Avoid visiting the springs after the Shambhala music festival as it is often overrun with festival goers that regularly trash the place.
- Clothing is optional, according to many of the signs. However, public nudity in Canada is still illegal and we have heard stories of police arriving during popular times to search for drugs and stop criminal activity.
- Keep forest fires far away from the roots of trees as they can cause underground root fires that could permanently destroy the area.
- Watch for broken glass!
Known as "Upper Halfway Hot Springs" or "Wholeway Hot Springs," this incredibly elusive soaking spot is nestled deep within the Halfway River valley. This hidden gem took weeks of internet research and a full day of hiking in the "wrong ways" with only whispers if they actually existed. All-natural pristine spring water bubbles out of the side of the mountain with a view that boasts a mountain vista. Perfect for bathing in a moon-lit "off the grid" sanctuary.
This is one of the very few natural springs left in the area that has not been commercialized or taken over by BC Parks. Respect this place as if it were your own. Pack out what you pack in, and preserve its natural serenity by keeping noise to a minimum. Getting there is incredibly dangerous and difficult even with directions. GO AT YOUR OWN RISK!
These springs are active year-round, but the stream which feeds in the cooler water dries up around mid-July. The springs are too hot to visit without this fresh water source.
Route One: Far Side Logging Road & Zip Line
2017 Update: This route, as of spring 2017, was no longer transversable due to the logging road washing out a mere couple kilometers up the road. If anyone has updates, please contact me.
- Throw together a zip line harness with pulley, two carabiners, and a backup support line. Any local climbing store will likely have the gear required.
- Begin with the same directions as getting to normal Halfway Hot Springs, but instead of turning before the Halfway River bridge, cross it, and turn right immediately onto the forest service road on the other side. Reset the car's odometer.
- At 22.08 km notice a very overgrown trail to the right. Walk down with all of your camping gear and setup camp. You'll likely want to stay here instead of hauling all of your equipment up the very steep trek on the other side. There is a nice clearing with a fire pit.
- Walk down to the river, hop up the small embankment and notice the remains of an old bridge now long-lost to time. There is a metal cable drawn across the river, secured to two trees. Attach your zip line equipment safely and fly across. This line could break at any time. Absolutely use at your own risk!
- On the other side of the river, head up what is left of the trail, veer left, and then eventually arc right over the short 1.2 km distance where the trail peters out. While only a 230 meter elevation gain, this path is often ludicrously overgrown with ferns, stinging nettle, and other hazards.
- Having correctly navigated your way to the springs, you will see a small pool on the far side of the stream bed that has been reinforced with cement. Plug the pipe at the bottom back against the rock wall and allow it to fill. Use the available black tubes to siphon water from the creek to bring the temperature down to a comfortable level.
Route Two: Full Day Bushwack (2.75 hours each way)
- TAKE THE FREE GPS LOG WE HAVE ON THE SITE. Absolutely DO NOT try this route without it. Bring a battery backup for your phone, a real compass, and even print a paper copy of the map to ensure you do not get lost.
- Begin with the same directions as getting to normal Halfway Hot Springs, but pass it. RESET ODOMETER at the BC Parks sign.
- Around 1.5 km, continue through the hair-pin turn over a creek.
- Around 2.7 km, take the fork to the left. The road to the right will lead up to a logging clearcut.
- Around 3.75 km, there has been a major rock slide and the road is unusable. Don't be stupid and try to take your jeep through it. Park. The trail gets too narrow to drive shortly after this anyway.
- The bushwhacking adventure begins. Start recording your own GPS log now and watch the kilometers closely.
- At 0.6 km into the trail, reach another hairpin turn and continue on across the bridge and creek.
- At 1.85 km, reach a fork. There is a very tempting clearer trail to the right, but if you take it, you won't wind up anywhere near the springs! Continue LEFT on the more overgrown trail.
- Around 2 km (or only 200 meters after being on this overgrown trail), reach an area where there was a MAJOR landslide and the trail now sneaks around the right side of the slide.
- Look up. The sky is now your guide. As this was once an old 4x4ing road, and you are walking through new growth, the trail can be followed by watching the height of the trees. Stay in the area that is much shorter.
- Around 5.04 km, an old hand-carved sign for "Wholeway Hot Springs"
- Around 8.25 km, you now intersect with the trail from Route One. Turning left will take you down to the old washed-out bridge and zip-line access. Heading straight-on will lead to the springs.
- Around 8.878 km, the trail takes a dramatic uphill turn.
- Around 9.325 km, push through the bushes and cross the clear and rocky creek-bed to the springs on the other side!
GPS Directions (Route 1)
- Turn-off from Highway @ 50.445964,-117.896717
- Park & Trail Down @ 50.505384,-117.663263
- Old Bridge & Zip Line @ 50.50366,-117.664466
- Route 1 & 2 Intersection @ 50.502912,-117.663701
- Actual Springs @ 50.498748,-117.65495
- Turn-off from Highway @ 50.427233,-117.895188
- Park @ 50.500045,-117.746307
- Giant Washout @ 50.503504,-117.734233
- Wholeway Hot Springs sign @ 50.504218,-117.698212
- Route 1 & 2 Intersection @ 50.502912,-117.663701
- Actual Springs @ 50.498748,-117.65495
This is not an official resource page for Halfway Hot Springs. This page is maintained by a volunteer. Usage of the springs is entirely at your own risk! As I do not frequent the springs monthly, I am afraid I cannot provide updates on the condition of the springs, weather or road (notably in the winter).