- Distance 4km
- Elevation Gain ~ 1000 stairs
- Camping No
Hot Springs Cove is located along a remote area of Vancouver Island's west coast, in Maquinna Provincial Park, about 50km (31 Miles) northwest of Tofino. Access to the park is by taking a 1 - 1.5 hour water taxi trip or a 20-minute float plane flight from Tofino. From the dock, the geothermal hot springs are located at the end of a 2km walk along well maintained boardwalks and wooden stairs.
The area is located on a major geological fault, an unstable area of the earth's crust. The ocean water is pulled into the earth to a depth of 5km, heated to more than 100 degrees celsius, before pressure pushes the water back up the earth's surface. The heated water is released through fractured rock at a temperature around 50 degrees celsius. While the temperature of the water pouring from the rock is quite hot, when it becomes mixed with the cold ocean water, the temperature becomes very enjoyable.
Part of the enjoyment of this trip is the boat ride to the hot springs. Depending on the time of year and if you are lucky, you may spot seals, otters, eagles, bears, killer whales, or humpback whales. The route also gives a sense of how massive and remote the Pacific Northwest coastline is.
Once you are at the dock, walk to the shore and past the sign, following the wooden boardwalks into the forest. The boardwalks are well maintained and even included the names of people and other markings who have visited over the years. The old-growth forest is spectacular and lush with with west coast greenery. There are quite a few stairs along the route but the route is relatively easy and should take about 30 - 40 minutes to walk.
Once at the hot springs, there is an area to change before heading down onto the rocks. The rocks are quite sharp and best to have footwear like sandals or shoes you don't mind getting wet. Climb down to where the water is pouring out of the rock but be cautious because the water is very hot. Depending on the tides, some of the best spots are located where the waves wash up and fill the pools of hot water, cooling them to an nice temperature. Where you enjoy the hot springs water will also depend on the time of year and the temperature outside as well.
Make sure to leave enough time for the hike back to the dock for the ride back to Tofino.
How to get to Hot Springs Cove
Hot Springs Cove is located in Maquinna Marine Provincial Park, about 48km north of Tofino. Getting to the hot springs requires taking one of Tofino's water taxi services and, due to the long distance, they generally require a minimum number of people to be registered to make the trip. The boat trip takes about 1-hour and you get to see some amazing coastal scenery and sometimes wildlife that might include whales, bears, or seals.
Once at the large dock in Maquinna Marine Provincial Park, the water taxi operator will point the direction to go. Your park usage fees should be included in your water taxi payment.