Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park is located east of the community of Watson Lake, Yukon Territory on the British Columbia side of the Alaska Highway. The park features a campground, wildlife sightings and two natural hot springs. One is called the Alpha Pool and the other is the Beta Pool. Together they are the largest hot springs in Canada!
The 1082 hectare Liard Hot Springs Provincial Park is a highlight destination for many when exploring the Alaska Highway. The two hot springs attract much of the attention. Each unique in their own way and both reaching temperatures ranging from 42° C to 52° C (105°-126°F).
Established in 1957, the Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park was created to protect the sensitive eco system in the region. It is an eco system which includes the two natural hot springs, a boreal forest, a wetland marsh and plenty of protected wildlife and plant species.
The park is a feeding and breeding ground for many species of wildlife. There have been sightings of over 104 birds and 28 mammals in the park. Many come to visit the wetland marsh like moose and birds. Birdwatching is big here. There are birds like hawks, swallows, ducks, eagles, kingfishers woodpeckers, Canada Geese and others.
To access the hot springs one must walk a 750 metre raised boardwalk path. The trailhead to the boardwalk trail is located in the campground. The well maintained boardwalk trail explores the wetland marsh before entering the boreal forest and reaching the first hot spring - the Alpha Pool.
The Alpha Pool is long and narrow. It is surrounded by a boardwalk platform with a viewing deck, sitting benches, interpretive signs, toilets and change rooms. There is a shallow end for children and a very hot end with boiling water and bubbles. Many try to see how close they can get before it is too hot.
From the Alpha Pool the trail continues into the forest to the second hot spring - the Beta Pool. This hot spring is deeper and larger. The hot spring is fronted by a boardwalk deck also. There are some sitting benches, toilets and a change room.
Both hot springs are very special when it comes to decor and environment. What is so special is that both pools are left in their natural state. Both are set in a wilderness environment surrounded by the boreal forest and wildlife. There is no man made pool here. There is no hot spring water being pumped in. They are all natural as nature had them built.
Many who visit the Liard Hot Springs stay in the popular campground. Some prefer to stay at the motel across from the park. In the motel is a restaurant and in the parking lot is a gas pump.
The campground is large but, do not be fooled, it fills up quickly because of the popularity of the hot springs. The campground includes picnic tables, fire pits, two cold water hand pumps, a children's playground and some pit toilets.
The campsite operates on a first come first serve basis. There is a charge to stay in the campsite and to visit the hot springs. Day passes are also available for the hot springs.
There is a Day Use Area in the park with a large parking lot. Parking is also available in the gravel parking lot at the motel on the highway across the street.