I love hot springs and I love natural ones even more. I thoroughly enjoyed spending a night at the Liard River Hot Springs campground and taking advantage of the relaxing hot springs. A warm soak amidst a lush, boreal forest is the perfect way to let go of the aches and pains of travel!
Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park is located at Historic Mile 496 (kilometer 765) on the Alaska Highway. It’s a wonderful place to spend a night camping and to take full advantage of the beautiful hot springs located in BC’s vast wilderness. It was a highlight on our recent northern BC motorcycle road trip and I know I’ll be back!
- 53 sites, 21 reservable
- $26/night + includes hot springs fee
- Open year-round
- Private and well-maintained sites
- Easy access
- Near hot springs
- Open year-round
- Potable water
- Pets allowed
- Frequent wildlife sightings
- Hot spring fee included in camping fee
- Fills quickly in the summer
- No cell or internet service
- No hookups
- Limited food options
- No showers
Liard River Hot Springs
If you’re into hot springs — which, I’ll be honest, it would be weird if you weren’t — you’ll definitely want to visit the second largest hot springs in Canada! Liard Hot Springs is second only to Fairmont Hot Springs, which is also located in BC. However, Liard is actually the largest natural hot springs in Canada.
The hot springs are only a short, ten-minute walk from the Liard River Hot Springs campground. A well-maintained boardwalk leads from the campground to the hot springs and passes through a warm swamp and boreal forest. You can often spot wildlife such as moose and elk here! We also spotted bison on the highway just outside of the park.
The day-use area gives you access to many of the same facilities as the full campground, including the hot springs, playground, toilets, picnic area, and potable water. Many people stop for only a few hours to enjoy Liard River Hot Springs, but I highly recommend actually camping here. It gives you more time to enjoy the peaceful, relaxing waters!
Liard River Hot Springs campground
Liard River Hot Springs campground is open year-round and full facilities are available from May 1 through September 30. There are 53 sites, 21 of which are reservable. The rest are first-come first-serve. If you want to make a reservation, you’ll need to do it through Discover Camping.
During the summer months, the campground usually fills quickly. Checkout is 11 am, so aim to be at the campground shortly after to increase your chance of getting a site. We arrived at 11:45 am and had our pick of about half the campground. There’s also a large overflow area across the highway that has a few fire rings, pit toilets, and dumpsters.
The campsites at Liard River Hot Springs campground are wonderful. They are large and have plenty of space and trees between them, which makes them very private. The picnic tables and fire rings are well maintained and the sites are always freshly raked. Every site is very level and we slept quite comfortably in our tents. Some people have reported highway noise from sites near the road, but it generally quiets down in the evening.
The sites are large enough to accommodate RVs and trailers up to 32’. They are back-in only and have no hookups. You can get potable water from the tap near the entrance, but it’s not an ideal place to fill up because your trailer would block the road.
Campsites are $26 per night for both the main campground and overflow. During the winter, it’s reduced to $16 per night. Your camping fee includes access to Liard Hot Springs, which is such a great deal! In many other places, your camping and pool fees are separate.
If you’re only visiting for the day, day-use passes are $5 for adults, $3 for kids, or $10 for families. If you visit lots, annual passes are $10 for adults and $20 for families.
You can pay for camping and day-use at the gate house, which doubles as the local visitor centre. The staff are very friendly and are happy to answer your questions! Your fees go towards the park by funding services, staff, and maintenance. Keep in mind that you can only pay in cash.
Amenities + services
The Liard River Hot Springs campground has limited services. There are no hookups, cell service, wifi, or showers available. That’s not to say you’re left without any amenities or services! There are picnic tables and fire rings with grates in every site, potable water, pit toilets, trash cans, a great playground, and picnic shelters. There’s also a book swap located inside the gate house (or $2 per book if you don’t have one to swap).
During the off-season (October 1 through April 30), potable water isn’t available.
If you absolutely need a taste of home, you can get wifi and rent showers at the lodge across the highway. A word of caution: don’t expect a lightning speed internet connection and be grateful for the shower, since there aren’t many places for one along the Alaska Highway.
You can bring your pets to the Liard River Hot Springs campground, but they need to be kept on their leash. When you’re headed up for a soak in the hot springs, your furry friends need to be left at camp because they aren’t allowed in the hot springs area.
There are very limited food options in the area. If you don’t bring your own food, your only convenient option is the Liard Hot Springs Lodge across the highway which has a convenience store and restaurant. There are additional options available at Muncho Lake Provincial Park, which is about an hour away.
The convenience store has very few options and we found it quite expensive; we paid $2.50 each for Mr Noodle cups. The simple, sit-down restaurant is a much better option if you’re looking to fill up after a long day on the road. They offer a decent selection of food, but don’t offer any special dietary options or fancy meals. It’s also a little expensive, but that’s not surprising considering the extremely remote location in northern BC. We were just happy to have a warm meal after a few long days on the road!
The campground also has bear storage lockers, which I highly recommend using if you’re sleeping in a tent.
The Liard Hot Springs campground is located deep in northern BC and is almost on the Yukon border. There are very few amenities or services around, so it’s important to be prepared when you head up.
PS: Bring CASH. The campground and hot springs only accept cash.
- Swimsuit: You don’t want to miss out on the Liard River hot springs when you’re camping here, so make sure to bring your swimsuit. I personally love my Londre swimsuit — it’s a local BC brand that’s made of recycled plastic bottles and feels (and looks) amazing.
- Camp chair: Camp chairs make nights around the fire cozy and relaxing. I have the Helinox Chair One and love it; it’s lightweight, small, and comfortable. It is a little on the pricey side, but it’s totally worth it.
- Hydration pack: During the summer, there’s potable water at the campground and it’s important to fill up while you can. Drinkable water isn’t always the easiest to find in northern BC, so take advantage of it while you can. Hydration packs carry more than water bottles, which means you’ll spend less time hunting for water and more time enjoying the north.
- Quick dry towel: When you’re camping, the last thing you want is a towel that’s soaking wet when you pack up the next day. With a quick dry towel, that’s not an issue! They work great as extra pillow cushioning or a “blanket” if you need, too.
- Lightweight camp stove: If you don’t feel like using the campfire to cook (or there’s a fire ban), a lightweight camp stove is perfect for heating up your dinner and making yummy, warm drinks. The MSR Pocket Rocket is a great little stove for doing just that! (It’s not the same one pictured above, but it performs better than that stove did.)
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Not all provincial parks are created equal. Luckily, the Liard River Hot Springs campground is one of the better ones! The campground itself is well maintained and private, and the hot springs are beautiful.
There isn’t much else to do in the area other than soak in the hot springs, but it’s worth spending at least one night at the campground. We easily filled up our day with two soaks in the hot springs and relaxing in camp.
I highly, highly recommend going to Liard River Hot Springs! I was there only two weeks ago and already can’t wait to go back.