WRITTEN BY OUR VERY OWN HAYLEY MURPHY /
The village of Harrison Hot Springs is nestled in the Fraser Valley in British Columbia. It is situated on the Sts’ailes people’s land, and is one of a number of communities spanning across the traditional territories of the Stó:lō people.
Today, I’ll take you through the steps I took to travel to the beautiful village without a car. I’ll also be giving some recommendations and tips based on my experience. I call Vancouver home so this is my starting point, and I travelled in the month of June.
Considering the various modes of transit and transfers, this trip takes about 2.5hrs-3hrs one way. I had previously completed this trip once when Greyhound was still operating, and now the route is covered by Ebus. They offer two daily trips stopping in Chilliwack (at the time of posting). It was CAD 93.40 in total for the Ebus when I purchased my tickets, so a return ticket will cost you just less than CAD 100. Because of the distance and the cost, we decided to stay 3 nights.
The bus leaves Vancouver from Pacific Central Station and drops you off at the Husky/Esso gas station in Chilliwack located at 7620A Vedder Rd. (Always check the locations for updates).
From the Husky/Esso stop, you need to make your way to the Downtown Exchange Bay B stop to board the 11 bus to Harrison. Walk towards the Vedder Road and board the 1 bus (outside Iris Opticians or else walk to the Real Canadian Superstore for another 1 stop) – I’m mentioning both because I was able to get on the 1 outside the Opticians but Google/BC Transit isn’t saying the same thing!
Have change for this bus and the 11 – it’ll cost you about CAD 2-6 depending on the ticket, and the buses take exact change. I’d recommend mentioning to the driver of the 1 that you’re transferring to the 11, they may give you a transfer ticket/rate or recommend the day pass. And you’ll only be on the 1 for 7-10 minutes or so.
You’ll get off the 1 at Yale and Spadina, and walk to the Downtown Exchange to board the 11. Then you’ll exit the 11 bus (most likely) at the last stop – the Harrison Hot Springs Hotel.
If you find the Ebus too pricey, there is a route which uses only public transit. I have not tried this option myself, but I did research it prior to my most recent trip to the village. It would involve numerous transfers, and would have to be mapped out and timed. You would have to get the Expo Line to Surrey Central station. From there, board the 501 or 509 to Carvolth Exchange where you would transfer to the 66 Fraser Valley Express to Chilliwack, exiting at the previously mentioned Downtown Exchange stop to board the 11. Or else you could take the Expo Line to Lougheed Town Centre station. From there, board the 555 to Carvolth Exchange, transfer to the 66 to Chilliwack and exit at the Downtown Exchange stop to board the 11. Again, I have not attempted this route so unfortunately I don’t have it properly mapped out.
Where to Stay:
I highly suggest paying the slightly more expensive rate and staying in the East Tower – I have read some of the older sections are a little bit outdated, and have made experiences less enjoyable. And while the East Tower rooms aren’t a picture of modernity, I could not fault the Resort in the ways other reviewers had on TripAdvisor. Both times I have stayed, I have been impressed with the Resort and thoroughly enjoyed my stay. As I had gone on a girls’ trip with a friend of mine this time, the overall cost was divided in 2. We stayed 3 nights at a reserved price of CAD 884.44 but upon checkout learned we had received a discounted rate, and the cost was CAD 810.74. So the cost for me was CAD 405.37 which works out at around CAD 135pp per night. Use of the pools is obviously included in the stay, and they have five rejuvenating mineral pools. These pools also offer an adults’ only time, so if you want some kids-free space, you can get it!
While we did choose to stay at the Resort, another option we looked at was the Harrison Beach Hotel. They also have a pool (although not from the hot springs) and a hot tub. They’re overlooking Harrison Lake, and a few minutes’ walk from the where the bus leaves you. Plus, if the mineral pools are something you really want to try, the village does have a public pool which is filled from the hot springs. And I believe admission is CAD 10 for an adult.
Where to Eat:
What to Do:
So, if the bus and hotel have you pretty much wiped out, there are plenty of free things to do in the village – without the use of a car!
- The short but lovely walk titled the Miami Bridges Trail.
- The labelled easy but not-so-easy hike to Sandy Cove beach on the Whippoorwill point trail – it’s not the most difficult hike, but it’s overgrown in parts and not clearly marked at times so can be confusing. The trailhead is after you pass the source of the hot springs. It’ll look like you’ve reached a dead end, but to the left of the metal fence/gate the trailhead begins as a steep, uphill climb in the wooded area. We saw a few people attempt it in flip flops, but I’d recommend runners at the very least!
- Another option is relaxing or walking along the beautiful lake in the village.
- There is also a visitor centre & sasquatch museum, which I believe is free of charge. Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to visit it yet, but it’s on my list for when I return.
- As previously mentioned, if you’re staying at the Resort, the 5 mineral pools are included in your stay and absolutely lovely.
- Finally, I’m a sucker for watching sunrises and sunsets, and would always recommend this free activity!
Activities for a fee include boat tours, kayak rentals, sampling the various ice-creams on offer in Chantilly Gelato Café and the watersports waterpark (depending on the time of year you visit). We had just missed the opening day but it looks really fun, and a cool way to tackle the heat in the summer months. You can find many more activities to enjoy listed on the Tourism Harrison website.
Some final tips from me:
- Depending on the time of year, bring bug spray and anything you need if you typically get a reaction to bug bites. There is a small market in the village, and while they do have some pharmaceutical products, they are not a full pharmacy. I believe the nearest doctor or health centre is in Agassiz, so you’d have to get the 11 bus.
- Always have change (1s and 2s) for the buses.
- If you can, travel on weekdays as the rates can be lower and the hotel itself is less busy.
- Depending on when you can check-in to your hotel (it was 4pm for us), I’d recommend the bus leaving Vancouver just after 2. I would also recommend getting the earliest bus back from Chilliwack to Vancouver – you don’t want to be stranded if there are long delays.
- Always check the times for the 11 on the days you’re travelling, they’re not frequent and the last bus is at 17:25 to Harrison on weekdays.
Thank you so much for reading. All photographs and opinions are my own. I have not been sponsored by any business mentioned in this post. Please do let me know if I have fact-checked anything incorrectly, I’m always open to feedback and corrections.