Find nature and amazing outdoor recreation just up the road in Harrison Hot Springs

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      (This article is sponsored by Tourism Harrison Hot Springs.)

      The village of Harrison Hot Springs is only two hours by car from Vancouver, but it’s a world away for those seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

      It offers spectacular outdoor-recreational opportunities, both on land and on the water.

      Visitors can paddle Harrison River or go windsurfing, parasailing, kayaking, or banana tubing on the 60-kilometre Harrison Lake.

      Or they can hop on their bikes for the 11th annual on July 22.

      It’s an easygoing and flat 30-kilometre ride to a dozen farms in the area for those interested in learning how food makes it from the fields to the dinner table.

      The flat Fraser Valley land near Harrison Hot Springs attracts many recreational cyclists.
      Graham Osborne

      There are also some outstanding hiking opportunities along the Sandy Cove Trail, the Campbell Lake Trail, the Bear Mountain Trail, and the Spirit Trail. According to Tourism Harrison executive director Robert Reyerse, the has about 40 ceramic masks hanging in trees and other locations along a 1.5-kilometre walk through a forest.

      “You try to see how many of these masks you can spot,” Reyerse told the Straight by phone. “It’s a great trail for young families and older people.”

      The east side of the hot springs is a popular spot for many visitors.
      Graham Osborne

      The Fraser Valley has undergone tremendous changes during the past two decades, but Harrison Hot Springs remains much the same as it was in the 1980s.

      Its claim to fame is the hot springs, which are owned by the Harrison Hot Springs Resort. So to experience them in a natural setting, you have to book a room. But for those who don’t mind being indoors, it’s possible to experience the same water at a public hot-springs pool.

      There are many options for accommodation, and for more information on that, visit the .

      The Harrison Festival of the Arts runs from July 8 to 16.

      The major cultural event is the , which features world music, art exhibits, and a country craft market. In addition to ticketed events, there are also free concerts on the beach at the fest, which takes place from July 8 to 16. 

      For those looking for a family-friendly way to celebrate Canada Day, Reyerse recommended the village’s lighthearted, small-town parade in which everyone, including neighbourhood dogs, are invited to participate. It culiminates in a memorable fireworks display over the lake.

      Canada Day features an annual fireworks show over Harrison Lake.

      The lake is also home to the only floating water park in southwestern B.C.

      “It’s like our own personal version of the wipeout zone,” Reyerse said. “It’s got these huge blowup obstacles that people can climb on, jump on, and swing on. People are given a wetsuit so they don’t get too cold.”

      Graham Osborne

      Of course, no trip to Harrison Hot Springs is complete without having a photo taken with a replica of the legendary Sasquatch. The bipedal and exceptionally shy primate is believed by some investigators to have lived or perhaps even still lives around Harrison Lake. Anyone interested in learning more can visit Bill Miller and Thomas Steenburg, who such investigators who operate a touring company called Sasquatch Country Adventures.

      "They show people footprints of Sasquatch and tell the whole story," Reyerse said.

      (This article is sponsored by Tourism Harrison Hot Springs.)