Anyone that knows me at all is fully aware that I’m slightly obsessed with hot springs. I love finding them, I love looking at them, and I especially love sitting in them. I’ve even made entire trips (multiple times) just out of hot spring hunting. While there are a few hot springs that I won’t ever post about or give the names of because I don’t want to see these beautiful places get abused, there are a few that I don’t mind talking about. Hot Springs Cove is one of them. This particular spring is definitely a well known tourist destination, but it’s popular for good reason. It’s pretty amazing!
This past January Cameron and I were sick of the snow and cold here in Alberta, so we decided to escape it and take a last minute road trip to one of my favourite places, Tofino BC. I try to get out to the island a couple times a year, but I had never gone in January and I was expecting it to be rather cold and gloomy this time. Fortunately when we got there after driving through blizzards and -20 weather, we were greeted with a balmy temperature of plus 12 and sunshine. I guess we chose the right time to go! We spent our entire time there exploring forests and beaches and small towns.
On what was supposed to be our last day on the island, I was driving my Jeep Patriot in a small town outside of Tofino when we heard a strange noise, and then all of a sudden the power steering on my vehicle stopped working. That scared the crap out of me. Thankfully I was on a straight residential road and going a slow enough speed that I was able to pull over safely and call a tow truck. After waiting for three hours on the side of the road, our tow truck driver showed up. By this time it was dark, cold and starting to rain heavily. I was so thankful to see that tow truck pull up. I was pretty worried and all I could think was great, now I have to pay for a repair, and possibly stay an extra few nights in Tofino when we were supposed to leave today. I wasn’t too happy. Then I really let what I was thinking set in and my mood changed instantly. An extra night or two in Tofino? Ha! How could I complain about that?!
After a couple hours of driving we arrived in Tofino and made our way to the first cheap hotel we could find. With the recommendation from the tow truck driver, we ended up at Jamies Rainforest Inn. While rain was pouring down on us we unloaded our luggage out of my vehicle that was sitting on top of a flatbed behind the tow truck. After getting soaked we ran into the hotel lobby and right away I noticed how warm and friendly the environment of this hotel was. The staff ended up being so helpful and accommodating, and the entire facility was very clean and inviting. The restaurant had absolutely amazing food to top it off!
The next day I found out that the fan belt in my vehicle snapped and that I would have to wait two days for the part to come in from Nanaimo. After dealing with this somewhat stressful ordeal, I knew right away how I wanted to spend the next couple of days…exploring the nearby beaches by foot and then relaxing in a hot spring far away from any town or city. I called and booked the last two spots that were available on the Ocean Outfitters boat tour to Hot Springs Cove on what would be the day that we would be leaving.
After spending the previous day walking by the ocean and then getting my car back sooner than expected, we woke up bright and early and drove into town to meet the group that would be joining us at Ocean Outfitters. We walked down the dock and all piled into a small covered boat and got comfortable for the ride. The skipper took us along the inlets the whole way to the hot springs, which gave us the opportunity to see some pretty beautiful scenery and take it all in on the calm waters. We eventually arrived at a small dock where we all got out to start the 20-30 minute walk down a boardwalk through the rainforest.
The walk through the forest was stunning. The way the sun broke through the trees with rays spilling out between the leaves was breathtaking. When I could start to smell the familiar scent of sulphur, I knew we were almost to our destination. Now those beautiful sun rays I was seeing were mixing with the steam from the hot streams that were running along the ground beneath us. What a gorgeous sight that was. We came up to a wooden shelter and changing area which looked out over the ocean, and the view was great. We all got changed and headed down into the hot spring.
There was a small waterfall flowing from above bringing the hot water into the lower pool. Apparently we went at high tide, so every wave that came up would mix the hot spring water with the ocean water, creating this strange effect of the two waters sitting on top of each other. It was a a really neat thing to experience. I really enjoyed soaking in these springs and getting to look out at the ocean view. Although we didn’t get to see any, if you’re lucky enough sometimes you can see whales jumping out of the water while you’re soaking!
Throughout our time there, it started to get cloudy and more tour groups showed up and it got busier and busier. Eventually it was time to go and at that point I was thankful to be leaving because of all the tour groups that were there. Our group dried off, changed back into our clothes and made our way back down the boardwalk to the dock. You have the option of taking a float plane back instead, but we decided to take a boat this time. I sometimes wonder if this was the best idea for me personally because our skipper decided to take us home via the open ocean route which included big rolling waves. Needless to say I was very ill hanging off the back of the boat pretty much the whole trip to Tofino. Cam found this to be rather humorous.
All in all our day ended up being about 6 hours long, with 2 of the hours spent at the hot spring. If I were to do things differently next time I would go and camp for a night or two at one of the campsites in the area, and then go to the hot springs in the evening when the tour groups are all gone. I wish I would have been able to spend more time there. Another interesting little tid bit about this trip is that the day we went to these springs was the same day ( January 7th, 2015) that Tofino had an earthquake that actually caused the water to stop flowing at Hot Springs Cove. We were on a ferry headed towards Vancouver when we were told about the earthquake that had just happened. Thankfully in the next day or so I read in the news that the water had started to flow again. Thank goodness! This place is definitely somewhere I would like to visit again in the future.