The History and Wonder of Hot Springs Cove

A must-see on any travel list while visiting the West Coast of Vancouver Island is a tour to the Geothermal Hot Springs in Maquinna Marine Provincial Park, located in Clayoquot Sound. Accessible by a stunning 30 nautical mile boat ride or a beautiful 20-minute floatplane flight from Tofino, followed by a gentle 1.5km hike through old-growth forests along a well-maintained boardwalk. The area, previously known as Refuge Cove because boat captains sought refuge in the sheltered harbour from fierce Pacific Ocean storms, is the ancestral home of the Ahousaht & Hesquiaht First Nations. Located on a major geological fault, the ocean is pulled into fractured rock 5km below the surface and then heated to over 100 degrees Celsius. After this process, pressure releases the heated water back up through fissures in the rock, and it mixes with ocean water again to produce a much more enjoyable temperature of around 50 degrees Celsius.

In 1933, pioneer Ivan Clarke established a general store to service stranded mariners seeking shelter from the storms. The Nuu-chah-nulth families, who were already living there, were later joined by their neighbors from the north, the Hesquiaht People, who built a settlement at the head of the cove. Over the next 30 years, Clarke built businesses, a schoolhouse, water towers, and a community at the start of the present-day trail out to the Hot Springs. Clarke eventually donated much of his property to the Province of British Columbia, and the area became part of Maquinna Marine Provincial Park. Visitors departing for the Hot Springs by boat from Tofino will enjoy a journey through Clayoquot Sound and its unparalleled natural beauty. The hour and a half ride weaves through islands, fjords, and a breathtaking remote coastline dwarfed by the Strathcona Provincial Park Mountains behind it. Depending on the time of year, visitors might even see a vast array of West Coast Wildlife, including humpback whales, killer whales, otters, seals, porpoises, and eagles along the way.

Once moored up at the dock, the hike to the Hot Springs begins. The 1.5km relaxing stroll along boardwalks and stairs hugs the coastline and provides ample opportunities to view the vast Pacific Ocean while surrounded by Old Growth Forests and the greens of the West Coast. Upon arrival at the Hot Springs, visitors are greeted by washrooms and a large changing area. After changing, guests venture down the stairs and enjoy the hot geothermal pools dotted around the area while taking in the unmatched vistas of the Pacific Ocean. Depending on the tides, visitors can sit in the hot pools while simultaneously cooling off as the ocean waves wash over the rocks or, if they're brave enough, dunk themselves underneath one of the hot waterfalls that feed this world-famous wonder of nature. Get in touch today if you'd like to experience this truly magical place for yourself!

a boat exploring clayoquot sound, a great thing to do in Tofino B.C.

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