Swimming like the moose – Liard Hot Springs

We took the Alaska Highway from Whitehorse to Edmonton (Alberta), stopped at Liard Hot Springs and booked a provincial park campsite.

A 10-minute walk over a wooden walkway through a swampy area leads us to the hot springs. Being surrounded by moss, ferns, pines, rosehip bushes and marsh grass it almost feels like a mystical place. At the end of the walkway two natural hot springs invite us to jump in.


Ten minutes walk through a swampy area leading to the hot springs.

Nature at its best

The edge of the basin is formed by soil, ferns and shrubs, the ground is littered with small pebbles, the water is clear. On one side of the hot springs a wooden boardwalk has been built with some simple dressing rooms and stairs leading into the water. At one side of the hot springs the water rises from the floor at 53 degrees Celsius. Cold water flows into the pool from a nearby waterfall. The closer you get to the point where the hot water rises, the hotter it is, and also a bit smelly. The water smells like sulfur, but this is supposed to be good for you. There are stones piled on a ledge. This is created by brave people who go to the hottest spot in the pool with a stone in their hand, drop the stone and hurry back again. A test of courage! At the other end the water flows through two small ramps into a deeper pool. Swimmers can sit under the small waterfalls and gently massage their neck. Further down the water flows into a creek, which means there is a constant flow of fresh water.

Swimming in the Liard Hot Springs surrounded by nature

A lot of water must be flowing from the source constantly. In Germany, such a source would have been commercialized into a large spa a long time ago. When I mention this to one of the employees of the provincial park, she replies: “We do not want that here.” And I understand that. It is a unique experience to swim in the middle of nature and to feel the fine pebbles underneath your feet. No fancy tiles, no smell of chlorine and other hygienic measures. There are not even showers here. A sign indicates that it’s prohibited to use shower gels in the pool. It’s all natural.

Moose in the hot springs

Sometimes in the early morning moose are swimming in the lower pool. The next morning shortly after 6AM we are waiting for them. Unfortunately no moose, just early swimmers. The pools can be visited round the clock. We leave the campground early that day and on our way out we scare away some bears. They quickly disappear into the bushes when they see us.

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