The Liard Hot Springs

Liard004This was a very short driving day because we planned to stop at Liard River to visit the hot springs. The Liard River Hot Springs are apparently a must stop on the Alaska Highway. And, of course, it was still my birthday week.Liard003

It was pretty chilly the last couple of days at Muncho Lake, so the thought of a soak in some hot springs was quite appealing.

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Liard001Day 4 driving recap:

Road Name (s): British Columbia Highway 97 (Alaska Highway)

Road Type: 2-laneLiard023Liard011

Road Conditions: Very good, some road work along the shoulders.

Miles Today: 36

Miles driven from Canadian border: 1206

Miles on the Alaska Highway: 477.7

Driving Time: :50 minutes

The drive was quite scenic with the road surrounded by forest and mountains. As it neared Liard River, there were stunning views of the mountains and the river ahead.Liard006Liard007

We crossed a very cool suspension bridge, the only remaining one on the Alaska Highway, the Lower Liard River Bridge. After the bridge we could see the massive Liard River alongside the highway.Liard005

Liard009Liard008We arrived at the Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park, where the hot springs are located. Although at CA$26 the camping fee is a bit steep for dry camping in a provincial park, the fee includes the hot springs, which normally cost CA$5 per person, or CA$10 per car for the day.

The other advantage to staying at the provincial park is that the boardwalk leading to the hot springs is walking distance from all of the campsites. The boardwalk crosses a beautiful wetland area for just under ½ mile to the springs and then across to a “hanging garden”.Liard047Liard024Liard016

Liard020Tip of the Day: There is a very large gravel rest area across from the Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park where we saw several RVs boondocking. There is still the fee for the hot springs, but boondocking saves the extra CA$16 per night campground fee. The rest area does seem to get crowded though.Liard018Liard012

Although the hot springs are the hot attraction (pun!), the boardwalk leading to and from the springs is surrounded by a stunning wetlands area. This environment is said to support more than 250 boreal plans, including many orchids. It was lush and green with lots of little wildflowers throughout. We saw and heard lots of birds in the trees and butterflies were flitting about.Liard042Liard039Liard022Liard038

Liard028There were various ponds along the boardwalk, with tall grasses growing amongst them. We watched a family of two geese and two adorable goslings swimming and walking about while feeding. Moose and bear are frequently seen here.Liard029

Liard015Liard019The hot springs are indeed very hot. There is a higher pool, which is the hottest, and whose water runs down to a lower pool. I really liked the fact that the pools have been maintained in a mostly natural state.Liard014Liard021

There are two structures by the pools, as well as steps with hand rails leading down to them. One structure is a shelter with benches and little storage nooks alongside the pools. The other, a short walk away, houses rest rooms and changing rooms.Liard036Liard030Liard035

Liard013Liard017The boardwalk continues to the hanging gardens that are basically an enormous tufa structure that has been built up over time by the springs. This part of the walk is closed at times due to bear activity but was open when we were there.Liard046

Liard045Liard040The one downside to the hot pools is that there are mosquitoes, no-seeums and horse flies hovering around the pools. The first day we were there, which was the warmest day, they were all around any part of us that was not in the water. The second day, which was cooler and windier, they were not as bad.fLiard044

We decided to stay one more night and continue to enjoy the wetlands and the hot springs.Liard041

Liard043Our walks to and from the pools became photographic expeditions, and Hector had a field day photographing all the beautiful plants and flowers. We also walked out on the boardwalk in the evenings, specifically looking for moose that supposedly live in the area, but did not see any.

Liard010The second afternoon we went for a short drive back across the suspension bridge for more photography. The weather was changing once again and a rainstorm was approaching.Liard052

Then a beautiful intense rainbow appeared, with a second fainter one appearing just above it. Amazing.Liard053

Liard049Afterwards we used the WiFi at the Liard Hot Springs Lodge Restaurant – CA$5 for their “premium network” which worked pretty well.

Liard Hot Springs is definitely a must on any trip up the Alaska Highway,

But the followint morning, we were off once again, this time to Watson Lake and the signpost forest.

~ BrendaLiard054

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  1. That rainbow shot! Oh my gosh, how beautiful! Glad you two are having a good experience on your trip. Hugs.

  2. I am so excited to read about your trip and to see your amazing photos. It’s almost like I am along with you on this adventure. I have read numerous blogs about trips to & from Alaska, but I have never enjoyed one as much as I enjoy yours. Thanks so much for sharing in your very special & talented way. Safe travels. Best wishes, Amy

    • Thank you so much, Amy, so glad you are enjoying the blog. We love to share our experiences.
      Best to you.

  3. I have to agree with Amy; you’re doing a super job with this Alaska trip record. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your sight seeing to find wifi and write the blog and include these photos. I’m loving it!

    • Thank you! It has been a bit of a challenge but we are committed to keeping up on the blog. So glad you’re enjoying it.

    • It is! We know it’s only a matter of time before the attack of the killer mosquitoes – but we are ready!

  4. Fun time!! You are doing a good job working this birthday, Brenda:) I like the idea of a birthday week!

    The rainbows (I could see the second one) are beautiful. How nice to see the whole rainbow:)

  5. Wow! it looked like they fixed up and improved this place, including that one where you posed! The spring really soothes your traveling body.
    We did see the moose that resides there.
    That was your birthday rainbow, you had quite a celebration! Belated Happy Birthday

  6. Great photography, as always. What lens does Hector use for the wildlife shots? I’m upgrading my lens collection in advance of my retirement (hopefully soon!)

    • Hi Mike, thanks for the kind words. I’m a Canon shooter so I have Canon lenses or Canon mount lenses. For wildlife I use 2 long lenses. I have a Canon 100-400 L series zoom which I highly recommend. Also, I recently bought the new Sigma 150-600 Contemporary series lens and am very happy with my first impressions of it. I would dearly love a long Canon prime lens like a 500 or 600, but those are HUGE money. You can not go wrong with the Canon L series. That is their “pro” line and the quality is tops. Depending on your budget, I would also say that technology trickle down has made the Canon mid range lenses very affordable. If you have any more specific follow up Qs dont hesitate to reach out. Happy to help if I can. H

  7. The rainbow is amazing! We also stayed two nights in the campground at the hot springs. It’s a perfect place to relax and take a break from the driving. I was lucky and saw a moose on one of my walks down the boardwalk.

  8. I like the idea of a birthday week Brenda! I say milk it for all it’s worth! Those hot springs look so inviting and those rainbow shots…magnificent!