Nestled on the edge of the southernmost shores of Harrison Lake is the sleepy village of Harrison Hot Springs. Fittingly, the roots of this historic resort town are based on the railway. With the opening of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the late 1800s, Harrison Hot Springs became a destination of choice for couples looking for a relaxing getaway and a soak in the natural hot springs with famed healing powers. While much has changed over the years, Harrison Hot Springs remains an enticing romantic getaway for couples.
Harrison is typically a summer resort town, so as the temperature cools and the snow begins to creep down the sides of the surrounding mountains, the village begins to prepare for its own winter hibernation. In my mind, this makes it a perfect destination for those who are looking to check out of the rat race and unwind in a quaint little village close to home.
The town is located just one and a half hours outside of Vancouver by car and true to its history, you can still take the train to a nearby station in Hope or Chilliwack and drive to the hot springs from there.
Brewing a Relaxing Vacation
Because the journey is just as important as the destination, don’t forget to start your getaway before you actually arrive in the village. When I’m heading out to Harrison, I like to visit one of the local breweries.
Field House Brewing is one such location. With an award-winning selection of brews and an unbelievably cozy tasting room, a stop at this brewhouse is a must. It offers brunch on the weekends and other delicious food options throughout the day. I love the Zinfandel Ale with Vanilla and Oak and always pick up a few bottles to savour during my stay in the town.
Let’s be honest, if you are going to Harrison Hot Springs in the winter, you are going for the hot springs. This means that you are going to want to check-in to Harrison Hot Springs Resort as the natural sulphuric pools located on the grounds are only accessible to guests. For extra-cozy vibes, stay in one of the hotel’s cottages which feature gas burning fireplaces. (Be sure to unpack those beers and get them into the fridge before you head down to the hot springs for a soak.)
Where to eat in Harrison Hot Springs
If you’ve spent your afternoon lazing in the hot pools, I’ll bet thoughts of dinner are beginning to creep into your mind. My go to dinner location is Morgan’s Bistro. This lakefront, family-run restaurant offers beautiful views and locally sourced, high-quality ingredients. The staff is delightfully friendly and passionate about their food. The dishes are hearty, wholesome and delicious. The Duo of Fraser Valley Duck is a crispy skin lover’s dream, especially when paired with a glass of BC wine. Good luck saving room for dessert!
After dinner bundle up and take a stroll along the waterfront. This year marks the village’s first annual Lights on the Lake winter light festival. You can’t help but feel festive and full of cheer while enjoying the lights which are on display until late January.
There are a number of local activities to keep you busy, but before we get too wild let’s get some coffee and breakfast in you. Yes, you could just eat at the hotel, but then you would be missing out on Muddy Waters Cafe which is undoubtedly serving up the best coffee in the village. The cafe is just a short stroll from the resort, down the lakefront. This cozy, bright location prides itself on serving up a high quality, locally sourced menu. All the food is homemade, with baked goods, breakfast and light lunches on offer.
Venture out into Nature
With your belly full and your body relaxed from yesterday’s soak in the hot springs, I’ll bet you’re ready to get your legs moving. Sandy Cove Trail is a 3.5 km long trail which begins near the hotel and is accessible year-round. Make sure that you bring seasonally appropriate clothing and footwear for the hike. The trail winds its way up through the forest, past a hidden sandy beach and features lookouts onto the valley and lake below.
If you’re looking to get out into the snow, bundle up and head to Sasquatch Mountain Resort. The resort offers a number of snowshoe trails which are perfect for enjoying the crisp fresh air. Note: it’s about a 50-minute drive from the village, but once there they have it all. They rent the equipment you’ll need and give guided tours, or there are non-guided Nordic options as well. The mountain trails open as soon as weather permits.
Just like that, it is time to pack up, leaving behind the sleepy village of Harrison Hot Springs. Fresh in your mind are the hours spent soaking in the hot pools and snuggling with your loved one in front of the fire. Yes, you are ready to face the city again.