Friday, July 25, 2014

Update: Fairmont Natural Hot Springs 2014



This summer, during my family's annual trip to British Columbia, I had the chance to do a quick check-up on the natural hot springs located beneath the commercialized Fairmont Hot Springs.  After two years of people commenting on my blog, lamenting on the hot springs' state of disrepair, I had to see for myself.  I'd promised my readers to let them know if the springs had changed much from when I'd visited last.

fairmont hot springs, natural hot springs, hot springs in b.c.
Fairmont Hot Springs as they appeared in 2012 - beautiful 'warm' pools to lounge in.

My husband, daughter and I took the familiar path down towards the RV park outside the commercial springs.  A creek runs down the mountainside, separating the resort from the camping area.  Just beside the creek, a gravel trail (now fixed from the muddy mess we encountered last time, after the big mud slide in 2012) leads you down towards the hot pool run-off areas.

The road to the former natural hot springs in Fairmont, British Columbia.

The gravel trail leading down to where the Fairmont Natural Hot Springs used to be

We followed the gravel trail down for about six minutes, and found the first hot pool run-off area.  The hillside is sleek with the algae that thrives in the temperate waters, and the creek warms slightly as the hot pool run-off mingles with the glacial water.  But don't stop there - that's not the only run-off area near Fairmont.

It may be a water outflow area, but it used to be so nice...

Further down the path, just another five minutes, is the area where there USED to be three fantastic naturally formed hot pools.  A waterfall, shooting warm water run-off from the resort hot pool, USED to supply the natural hot pools with their heat.  (People have debated whether or not the hot pools I am talking about are indeed 'natural' since they are supplied with run-off from the commercial pool, but I argue that the commercial pool is fed from a natural spring, so it's just as natural as the resort pool, if not more... but I digress.)  My point is, when we arrived at the area where the natural pools USED to be - they weren't there.

The area where the Fairmont natural hot pool used to be is now just a water run-off area - so sad!

I wasn't surprised.  Several people had commented on my Natural Hot Springs blog post that the pools had been destroyed during clean-up from the mud slide. I was expecting to see what I saw: a small waterfall sending tepid water down to a pile of jagged rocks, the water sliding down the rumpled and crumbled hill to the creek beyond.  One teeny tiny pool persisted, but it wouldn't be big enough for one person to lounge in and soak.  The whole area was destroyed, sadly.

The one tiny hot pool left over from the razing of the Fairmont natural hot springs.

I'm not sure why this happened - I know there was a mudslide, but I'm not sure why there was a need to annihilate the natural pools when they were obviously still in good shape after the mudslide occurred. Perhaps there was a safety issue?  I didn't see a safety issue when I was there last, but Mother Nature is unpredictable and ever-changing, and who is to say something dangerous didn't arise?  Another possibility is that the Fairmont Resort prefers to have people come and pay to swim in their hot spring, and not to sit in the natural ones just below the resort.  But who knows?

We enjoyed the hike down the trail, regardless of whether or not the natural hot pools were there.

Despite the reason why, the fact is that there are no more natural hot pools to enjoy in Fairmont, B.C., unless you go to the Fairmont Resort Hot Springs.  Read about some other, true NATURAL hot springs in British Columbia in my post on Lussier Hot Springs!

14 comments:

  1. What a shame it sounds like it used to be such a wonderful place. British Columbia is high on my list too. :) -Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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    1. It was beautiful! It still is... you just can't enjoy the vista from a nice, warm natural pool. Oh well - stay tuned for the Lussier Hot Springs post! That place made up for the Fairmont pools being destroyed! :)

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  2. Looking forward to your Lussier hot springs post. We are planning to go this long weekend. We have 3 families with 6 younger kids (6-10 years old). Is the gravel as bad as it's described by other bloggers? Is it really busy?

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    1. The road there wasn't that bad - in fact, it was a well-maintained gravel road with no ruts or slippery patches. It is relatively wide too. The worst bit is right before the actual springs (the last kilometre) where it narrows. Then you are driving right along the cliff edge, but if you go slow and steady, no biggie! Just for you, I will write the Lussier post tonight, so check back tomorrow!! :)

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  3. Many thanks! You are so nice... The springs is so gorgeous! With your informative post and video, I think I can convince our group to go! So excited...

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    1. I hope you make it there! Have fun! :)

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  4. Had to have been a money grab from the resort! How sad.

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    1. That is kind of what I thought - we were there right after the mudslide and we swam in the water and it wasn't 'unsafe'. There was really no reason for the bulldozing. Oh well. Go try Lussier instead!! And it's free (for now).

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  5. Rather than an accusatory speculative post, why not do some research and find out why the 'natural pool' was changed.

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    1. Not trying to be 'accusatory' - just updating on the state of the free 'natural' pools because several people requested I do so. The reason for the bulldozing was stated because of safety issues and that may be true. I am also entitled to my own opinion (as are you) and like I said, we were there after the mudslide and enjoyed it immensely. Like I ALSO said, who knows if it became unstable afterwards. This is not a news report or a historical timeline of the pools, just a notification that the pools are no longer available for swimming.

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  6. Please, Please don't post the exact location of the Lussier springs. It is already sadly suffering the effects of too much publicity, too many people visiting who don't really care. Sometimes treasures like these should be left with a little mystery.

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    1. Considering I found exact instructions on how to get there from several different websites, including two British Columbia government websites (such as the Whiteswan Provincial Park site), I don't know if the secret can be kept to just the locals. It's a tough debate: people who love it want to keep it unspoiled, but at the same, there are people out there who deserve to see its beauty as well. I agree - if you don't care about natural hot springs or respect them and try to preserve them, don't come. But if you are there to be respectful, have a nice soak, and enjoy the surroundings, then why shouldn't you get to visit?

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  7. If every visitor moves a few rocks at a time below the waterfalls, eventually the pool will come back in a few years.

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