Welcome to our Virtual Hot Spring Tour & Guide

Welcome to our Virtual Hot Spring Tour & Guide
Beautiful, clothing optional, Saline Valley Hot Springs, our favourite place on Earth.

Beautiful, clothing optional, Saline Valley Hot Springs, our favourite place on Earth.

As many a seasoned overlander knows, hot springs are a valuable resource. They provide a space to relax and luxuriate after what might be a week or longer without access to hot water. Unless you're the fancy kind of RVer with a shower somewhere in or on your rig, you look forward to a hot soak more than you look forward to almost anything else. More than a hot meal, more than a quiet night's sleep, more than a couch or a toilet, and maybe even more than a cold beer on a hot day (unless of course you're drinking that cold beer while soaking in a hot spring; nothing beats that).

Often times, our breath is taken away by the unspeakable beauty that surrounds the most remote hot springs. Take a long day hike, and then treat your aching muscles to a rewarding soak.

Often times, our breath is taken away by the unspeakable beauty that surrounds the most remote hot springs. Take a long day hike, and then treat your aching muscles to a rewarding soak.

As such, we felt the need to write about all of the hot springs we've visited over our two years on the road. There are many of them, and we had a lot to say about all of them. Over the course of the next several weeks, we will be posting about each hot spring in the order we visited them, giving each the credit it's due. Wherever we can, we will post pictures of the tubs and the environment around them, but sometimes it isn't possible to snap pictures at a hot spring. Most commercial hot springs have no camera signs posted everywhere, for the comfort and privacy of its patrons. Natural hot springs have etiquettes of their own, and if the hot spring is clothing optional, it goes without saying that photography is not welcome (unless you ask and the crowd complies). Sometimes the area surrounding the tubs was rocky or sopping wet, and out of concern over the damage this might do to our phones we left them behind. In cases such as these we will do our best to please the crowds with some shots of the beautiful scenery within the vicinity of the hot spring in lieu of photos of the tubs themselves.

Some hot springs fail to meet our expectations; we make the most of them by enjoying the scenery around us and by snapping a few flattering pics of the tubs. From here, you can’t tell that the bottom of this one is full of mud and decaying plant refuse.

Some hot springs fail to meet our expectations; we make the most of them by enjoying the scenery around us and by snapping a few flattering pics of the tubs. From here, you can’t tell that the bottom of this one is full of mud and decaying plant refuse.

Of course, not all hot springs are created equally, and so when we have finished telling you about all the hot springs we've been to, we'll complete our virtual hot spring tour with our official hot spring ranking. At the bottom of every hot spring article, we have evaluated the spring criteria such as cleanliness, amenities, scenery, etc. We tried to keep these rankings as objective as possible, and sometimes the scores that the springs garner don't coincide with our personal favourite places to soak. For example, a commercial hot spring will usually rank high for cleanliness and amenities, but to us they often lack the charm - that certain special something - that makes a "wild" hot spring appealing to us. Naturally, everyone has their own notions of what a perfect hot spring is, and so these objective evaluations are meant to help you find the perfect hot spring for you. At the bottom of this article, you'll find a legend for those evaluations, so you'll have a little context by the time you read the articles themselves. As you read through them, see if you can figure out which ones made the top of our list. You might be surprised.

Hotspring Evaluation Legend

Commercial hot springs are nearly always pristine. Wild ones are often a crap chute. Here at Saline, the tubs are immaculate thanks to the communal effort of the bathers who flock from miles away, bringing with them cleaning supplies and provisions for weeks, but not often their bathing suits.

Commercial hot springs are nearly always pristine. Wild ones are often a crap chute. Here at Saline, the tubs are immaculate thanks to the communal effort of the bathers who flock from miles away, bringing with them cleaning supplies and provisions for weeks, but not often their bathing suits.

Cleanliness 1 - 5 (1 = water and surrounding area are dirty/muddy/garbage strewn; 5 = pools and surrounding area are pristine.)

Amenities (1 = no bathrooms/showers/change area/potable water (a necessity when you're sweating like a champ in the pools); 5=bathrooms/showers/change area/potable water/canteen, etc.)

We love conversing with the hippies usually found lounging around the edges of “wild” hot spring tubs. Still, there is something magical about having a secluded place all to ourselves as we watch the sun set behind the distant mountains and feeling the heat of the spring against our skin as the dry desert air grows increasingly colder in the absence of the glowing celestial orb.

We love conversing with the hippies usually found lounging around the edges of “wild” hot spring tubs. Still, there is something magical about having a secluded place all to ourselves as we watch the sun set behind the distant mountains and feeling the heat of the spring against our skin as the dry desert air grows increasingly colder in the absence of the glowing celestial orb.

Exclusivity (1 = easy to find, get to, well attended/touristy; 5 = difficult to find or get to, not highly attended, die hard soakers only )

Natural Scenery (1 = not much to look at or obstructed views ; 5 = amazing views, how is it possible that there is ALSO a sweet hot spring here?!)

Community (1 = attendees keep to themselves and their group, no mingling; 5 = people come to make friends with other like-minded hot spring hippies, everyone chats with everyone else, people are often generous and caring)

Although camping is not welcome in Lussier’s road side parking lot, it’s not difficult to find an epic, free campsite just down the road. The Kootenays are filled with hidden gems like this one.

Although camping is not welcome in Lussier’s road side parking lot, it’s not difficult to find an epic, free campsite just down the road. The Kootenays are filled with hidden gems like this one.

Camping (1 = no camping allowed; 2 = loud/bright parking lot, incognito camping; 3 = secluded/quiet and dark parking lot, incognito camping OR basic, but quiet dry camping; 4 = nice open area camping for everything from tents to RVs, 5 = amazing campsites for all types of campers with amazing views close to the tubs)