Nakusp Hot Springs is by far my favourite hot spring so far. You get a bit of everything here: commercial pool, charming hike to the source hot spring, and gorgeous town with a beautiful lake.
When I visited in 2014, a new bridge had been built for hikers to access the trails, which start from the parking lot at the commercial pool. The commercial pool is small, but well maintain and has absolutely spectacular views. It wasn’t too busy when I was there, but I was told by locals that it can get quite crowded when the weather cools off a bit. The pool, by the way, is owned by the town.
The gorgeous hike up to the source hot spring is fairly easy and only takes about 15 minutes. If you’re feeling adventurous, there are a few natural pools you can soak in. The challenge here though is that the river is down a very steep incline, so it is difficult to regulate the temperature of the water.
After a hot day at the pools, the lake is a lovely place to cool off. There are plenty of locations where you can take a dip, either at the public beach or any of the stairs located off the walking trail that surrounds the town. The lake is serene, and the people of Nakusp are very friendly.
When the Keenleyside Dam was built in the 1960s, thousands of people were relocated–including members of the Sinixt Nation, which had been declared extinct by the Canadian government in 1956–and the lower half of Nakusp was submerged. More recently, I was thrilled to learn that the Sinixt Nation won a BC provincial court battle in March 2017 to have its existence recognized. (CBC article: “Desautel’s lawyer, Mark Underhill, said that for now the ruling means the Sinixt ‘have a right to hunt in their traditional ways in this part of the world. What it means for the future is hard to say at this point.'”)