The Village of Harrison Hot Springs has been a small resort community since 1886, when the opening of the Canadian Pacific Railway brought the lakeside springs within a short carriage ride of the transcontinental mainline. In its first promotion as a resort it was known as St. Alice's Well, although it had been discovered decades earlier when a party of goldfield-bound travellers on Harrison Lake capsized into what they thought was their doom, only to discover the lake at that spot was not freezing, but warm.
Although the resort flourished in a low-key fashion for years after this discovery, a proliferation of hotels and motels led to its further development and it was incorporated as the Village of Harrison Hot Springs in1949. The village is known for its namesake hot springs, which are a major attraction for tourists.
The hot springs themselves were originally used and revered by the Sts'Ailes (Chehalis) First Nations people who lived along the Harrison River nearby. There are two hot springs, the "Potash", with a temperature of 40 degrees C, and the "Sulphur", with a temperature of 65 degrees C.
The Village of Harrison Hot Springs is located at the southern end of Harrison Lake in the Fraser Valley 120 km (75 mi) from Vancouver. Its immediate neighbour is the District of Kent which includes the town of Agassiz 8 km (5 mi) from Harrison Hot Springs and Harrison Mills 20 km (12 mi) from Harrison Hot Springs.
Unwind in the beneficial hot mineral waters of Harrison Hot Springs, originally revered as the "healing place" by the Coast Salish natives in the 1800s. The two hot springs that exist in the area are Potash and Sulpher, which are 40 degrees C (120 degrees F) and 62 degrees C (145 degrees F) respectively. The water is pumped from one of the springs and cooled to provide a public mineral hot springs pool that visitors can enjoy at 38 degrees C (100 degrees F). The pools are said to bring relief from rheumatism and arthritis.
If you like stock car, hot rod or custom racing, catch the excitement with oval track racing Saturday night under the lights at Agassiz Speedway.
A 1920s living history BC Heritage attraction with costumed interpreters is located on the shore of Harrison Mills. Buildings include a 1906 general store, museum, Manchester House Hotel and post office. Visitors can also tour the working farm and visit the friendly animals. A homestyle restaurant and country gift shop are also located on the site.
Drive the local Agassiz-Harrison Mills Circle Farm Tour (brochure available from Visitor Information Centres) and experience hand made artisan cheeses made from rich, fresh milk produced from the dairy cows and goats; tour a hazelnut orchard and taste some of their delicious products; and stop a while at the Kilby Historic Site and enjoy lunch made from farm-fresh produce.
Minter Gardens has been in operation for over 30 years. A 32 acre world-class show garden designed to dazzle the senses changes with the seasons. Check out the over 100,000 tulips in the spring, rose garden in the summer, 1,000 trees, woodlands, brooks and waterfalls plus thousands of annuals that provide a riot of colour throughout the growing season. Restaurants, gift & plant shop are on site.
Fishing is popular in the glacier-fed Harrison Lake. 60 km (37 mi) long, Harrison Lake and the nearby Harrison River are home to cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, Pink, Chum, Coho and Sockeye salmon as well as chinook and Sturgeon.
Pick up a trail map at the Visitor Information Centre and enjoy a short walk on one of the easy trails or hike the back country. Some of the easier trails start from Harrison Hot Springs village while others, including hiking trails, are located in Sasquatch Provincial Park, Bridal Veil Falls and Coquitlam Canyon, all an easy dr ive from the Village.
Harrison Lake has an abundance of water sports for every age including banana boat rides, water slides, paddle boats, bumper boats, seadoos and more.
Harrison Resort Golf Course is considered one of the best kept secrets in the Fraser Valley. The 9-hole, PGA rated course spans 3,375 yards over 90 acres and caters to all skill levels. Sandpiper Golf Club is an 18-hole course located in Harrison Mills along the bank of the Harrison River. Depending on the time of year, golfers may see bald eagles, hawks and herons.
Tourism Harrison Hot Springs Visitor Information Centre
PO Box 255 499 Hot Springs Road
Harrison Hot Springs, BC V0M 1K0
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia