After recently moving to Vancouver, I made a promise to myself to do more west coast travel and explore all that beautiful BC has to offer. I’ve heard a lot of things about Harrison Hot Springs over the years, and even drove past the sign once en route to SunPeaks Resort, but I never had a chance to actually visit it. So I decided to rent a car and head out for a weekend away. Little did I know at the time, how much this town had to offer!
Merely a 90 minute drive from the city of Vancouver, it wasn’t long before I was met with jaw dropping scenery in every direction around me.
After spending some time exploring this area of BC, I’ve come up with 5 of my highlights all which make up merely 5 great reasons to experience this town for yourself.
1. The Scenery
Nestled against southwestern BC’s coastal mountains on the sandy shores of Harrison Lake, I arrived to mountain fresh air, and the most picturesque backdrop one could ask for. With a 4km path along the beach, you can walk, go for a run, or simply sit and enjoy the beauty in front of you.
2. The Circle Farm Tour
While in Harrison, I decided to do a free and self-guided Circle Farm tour which ended up becoming one of my favourite parts of the trip. From getting up close and personal with the animals, to getting lost in fields of hazelnuts, the Agassiz Harrison area has a new surprise around every corner.
I particularly enjoyed visiting the Cheese Farm where I got to see the conditions the goats and animals were living in, watch how the cheese is made, and purchase their award winning cheeses to take home for myself.
You can either bike or drive from one farm to the next, and I highly recommend a stop into The Back Porch which is a farm owned by Dave and Lynda where you can watch (and buy) coffee being roasted in a classic 1919 Flame Roaster.
3. Home of the Sasquatch
Known as the Sasquatch capital of Canada, I soon discovered that this hairy creature has a long standing history with Harrison Hot Springs. Between listening to all the stories of spottings, to grasping just how much wilderness there is out there for them to possibly live in, it wouldn’t surprise me if there was at least one type of species in this area that we’ve yet to discover.
At first I thought this whole Sasquatch talk was merely a tourist attraction, but whether you believe the Sasquatch exists or not, I’ve learned that the Sasquatch still plays a big role in the Sts’ailes First Nations beliefs who have been living in this area for years. In fact, I happened to be in town when they had their Sasquatch Days Festival which not only celebrated their history with the Sasquatch, but was a great example of a community coming together to enjoy music, the outdoors, and bond with friends and family.
Currently Harrison has a couple of Sasquatch researchers; Bill Miller and Thomas Steenburg who operate Sasquatch Country Adventures. Both have spent years researching and tracking this mysterious creature and they now offer tours deep into the heart of Sasquatch country April till October. I did the tour myself, and the drive out through the mountains along with the epic scenery definitely makes it worthwhile (even if you aren’t lucky enough to spot one).
4. The Restaurants
Take a walk down the esplanade alongside the beach and you’ll find no shortage of food options all featuring different varieties of cuisine. My favourite find however was a restaurant called Morgan’s which offered an elevated patio with amazing lake views and featured a west coast menu with daily specials.
The servers were incredibly knowledgable about the dishes and I was delighted to learn that many of their dishes include fresh foods from the local farmers, and some of their ingredients (specifically their herbs and spices) are grown in-house. They even served us fresh bread that they made that day.
If you’re looking for a good brunch with friendly service, be sure to check out Chuck and Kitty’s as well. It was a small diner located directly across from the Ramada Hotel, where you’ll find many locals flock to for a great breakfast or brunch.
5. The Water Sports
As if their giant inflatable water park wasn’t enough fun, the Lake is a perfect place to rent a kayak or go for a boat ride to get an even better view of the mountains and greenery that surrounds the area.
Harrison Hot Springs has so much to offer year round, and I highly recommend getting out there to experience it for yourself. You will return feeling refreshed, nourished, and wanting to start planning your next visit back (trust me).
For more information on things to see and do at Harrison Hot Springs, check out their website: www.tourismharrison.com