Dead and still dying grey ghosts of trees still stand as they did in piles of forest wreckage. Even the road in looks bizarre. The road was simply bulldozed back to life. On either side, hemmed in by piles of dirt and dead trees. The mudslide that did this seems beyond belief. This river valley in the midst of a beautiful, green forest, is a sea of brown. Mud, dirt, and dead trees.
At its peak of popularity in 1994, Meager Creek Hot Springs had 30,000 visitors a year. With the unrestrained numbers, vandalism and violence broke out at the springs often so the BC Forest Service stepped in. They hired an on-site supervisor, limited vehicle access and charged a usage fee. Then the big slide of 2010 happened and now of course it only gets a few, very motivated visitors.
In 2014 a new route was built to Meager Creek Hot Springs by the UBC Varsity Outdoor Club. The new VOC Harrison Hut Trail regains access to the much prized Harrison Hut, but also opens up an excellent access trail to Meager. The trail is long and not too easy, however, and getting to the trailhead is quite an adventure. The logging road deteriorates quickly on the last couple kilometres and you find yourself dodging basketball sized boulders strewn across the road.
The old access route to Meager ran along the far(north side) of the Lillooet Forest Service Rd. This new trailhead is located on the near(left or south) side of the Upper Lillooet River and you simply continue along the Pemberton Meadows Road (almost) until you can't go any further. From the middle of Pemberton to the trailhead is 64 kilometres. The easy to miss trailhead is marked with a small trailhead sign for "VOC Harrison Hut Trail" No mention of Meager Creek Hot Springs on it.
Skookumchuck Hot Springs - Squamish Trails in July
Skookumchuck Hot Springs, located almost three hours north of Squamish along the edge of the huge Lillooet River. The name Skookumchuck means "strong water" in the language of the Chinook people of the Pacific Northwest. The name is associated with the hot springs because of the nearby First Nation community of Skatin, which was once, and usually still called Skookumchuck.
The Skookumchuck Hot Springs were also once known as St. Agnes Well during the days of the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush, but that name has fallen into disuse. They are also known locally by the Skatin name as the T'sek Hot Springs. Though having three names, it is hard to beat the name Skookumchuck. It is awkward and beautiful at the same time, which describes the Skookumchuck Hot Springs perfectly. The tubs are a clumsy collection of odd looking tubs, which at first sight make you chuckle. But, after a few minutes, the extraordinary charm of the place takes over and Skookumchuck becomes oddly beautiful and wonderful.
The Skookumchuck Hot Springs start in a pool which is far to hot to use so there are a network of tubes emanating from this pool to feed a ramshackle array of tubs. There are five tubs, which include one very large one under an A-frame which could hold 10 people and is beautifully comfortable. A smaller one under a half A-frame privacy screen which could hold 8 under the stars. And three more open tubs. Clothing, you will quickly discover, is optional. There are small change rooms and one outhouse a few metres away.
Skookumchuck Hot Springs is the only, properly maintained and supervised hot springs of the four mentioned here. As a result there is a small and well worth it, charge to use them. Also, the campground is first class. Beautiful, secluded forest setting on the gorgeous Lillooet River. Firewood is even provided at each tent spot.
The wild and beautiful Sloquet Hot Springs is just one hour past Skookumchuck and so Skookumchuck makes a great pit stop on the way to and from Sloquet.
For more information, maps and info on Skookumchuck Hot Springs click here.
Sloquet Hot Springs - Squamish Trails in July
Sloquet Hot Springs is wonderfully designed, as it were, though randomly by nature. The large, spread out campsite lies a short walk from the springs. You have to follow a dark and quickly descending trail toward an enormous, crashing river. As you near, you can smell the unusual, but kind of nice hot springs smell, and you see steam rising all around you, some steam rising, bizarrely, out of the grass clearing on the edge of the river. On your left a rising cliff, on your right the crashing river. The path narrows and steepens. Finally, you come to a large fallen tree which the trail seems to run to. So huge though as to not worry you walking the length of. Then, there it is. The massive fallen tree flanks it. Nestled between the tree and a cliff, in a large triangular area, with the river forming the third side are the Sloquet Hot Springs.
Sloquet is the contrast of both Skookumchuck Hot Springs and Meager Creek Hot Springs. Meager is artificial, but wonderfully constructed by the BC Forest Service. Skookumchuck Hot Springs is shabby, though comfy. Sloquet has the best of both of these and none of the worst. It consists of seven pools formed with rocks positioned to segment pools out of what must have been one huge pool. It is in a dramatically natural, cozy and hidden place. Every aspect seems fined tuned for comfort. The cold, dark cliff at your back, specked with candles. The majestic river so loud and so close. The scent of cedar. As if it could get any more perfect you'll notice the water comes from a small waterfall cascading down the cliff. What a wonderful place.
The drive to Sloquet Hot Springs is a bit long and three plus hours north of Whistler. It is very beautiful though as the gravel road runs along the huge Lillooet Lake. The drive also takes you past Skookumchuck Hot Springs, which is an ideal pit stop as it is two thirds of the way to Sloquet. The last 8k to Sloquet is on an unmaintained logging road so can get a bit sketchy. You do see cars at Sloquet, but the rough, last 8k must take a toll on them. In the winter months this 8k is not plowed of snow, so you must hike in. But of course you will almost certainly have them to yourselves from December to mid May. For more info, maps and directions to Sloquet Hot Springs click here..