Bathe in the luxury of mother nature's natural beauty as you soak your toes in the primal waters of St. Leon Hot Springs! Located approximately halfway between Nakusp and Revelstoke, the springs bubble out of the side of the cliff and traverse via mini-waterfalls through numerous pools. At the bottom, a giant man-made makeshift cement lined soaking area! The area is about 30 min driving from the bustling confusion and distraction of city life: including cell service! Rejuvenate your body while while rediscovering how to fully disconnect. Please respect the area and pack out what you bring in.
UPDATE As of 2016, St. Leon has been reported as CLOSED with a gate at the bottom of the road. Rumours have it that a man died of a heart-attack while in the springs. Allegedly, in reaction to this, the owners of the private property it resides on have closed off all access. We strongly suggest seeking permission from the owners of the land to visit these springs (Kate firstname.lastname@example.org). Even though these springs should be a protected natural resource on public land and free for the enjoyment all, the government still unfortunately sold off this valuable crown land instead of turning it into a park. If you have any additional updates or corrections to this story, please let us know.
Preparation & Amenities
There is a poolside change room, but don't hope for any other luxuries! Numerous forest clearings can be used as camping spots. The grounds are much less dense than those at Halfway Hot Springs. Regardless, prepare for uneven rocky, root-laden, and potentially muddy ground at points.
Never submerge your head in or drink hot springs water. Always bring an ample supply of fresh drinking water to stay hydrated. Physicians recommend not staying in hot tubs of 40°C for more than 15 minutes. The temperature in natural hot springs such as St. Leon can dramatically vary. This can be dangerous to your health, and even cause death, if you are not careful!
Bring your own firewood, toilet paper, clean drinking water (or pump), and all of the other usual camping gear. Pack lightly, efficiently, but completely. The hike down is very steep and you will not want to make more than one or two trips. Absolutely do not pack a cooler, campfire chairs, large camp stove, etc. You will regret it! Make sure you have proper backpacking gear, or you may be spending most of your trip going up and down the hill.
Plan Your Route
Driving time to the destination is approximately four hours if leaving from downtown Kelowna, and includes the free Needles-Faquier ferry. The ferry leaves every 30 minutes, and only takes about 10 minutes to cross the river. Drive from Kelowna to Nakusp, despite what your GPS or Google may say about taking a route through Revelstoke. The Faquier route is faster as the Needles ferry is a much shorter ride and less painful if you miss it. However, the highway you will follow out of Vernon is substantially windier and not recommended at night. Take the Revelstoke route if coming from Kamloops or Salmon Arm. Essentially, get to Nakusp, BC as it is the starting point for our directions.
Needles-Fauquier Ferry Information
- Departure from Needles (Vernon Side): 15 min and 45 min past the hour
- Departure from Fauquier (Nakusp Side): On the hour, and 30 min past the hour
- Capacity: 30 vehicles
- Crossing Time: 5 to 15 min
- Operating Times: 24-hours per day
- Phone: +1 (250) 265-2105
- Web: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/marine/ferry_schedules.htm#needles
Directions from Kelowna
- Drive to Nakusp, BC and begin the journey at the corner of "Broadway St W" and "6th Ave SW" where the Overwaitea/Coopers Foods is located. Reset odometer trip-planner in your car to zero.
- Drive North on 6th Ave which continues onto Canyon Road North (Highway 6) towards Revelstoke. Continue on this road for 23.29 kilometres.
- Turn RIGHT up the dirt road (GPS: 50.427233°,-117.895188°). If you hit the Halfway River bridge, you have gone too far!
- Drive up this road for 3.5 km and park (GPS: 50.43244°,-117.854051°).
- Notice the water pipe on the left side of the road, and begin the steep hike down to the springs! Follow signs of trail usage, but the trek is virtually straight for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Turn-off from Highway @ 50.427233,-117.895188
- Park and Trail Down @ 50.43244,-117.854051
- Actual Springs @ 50.434,-117.853956
- The drive to St. Leon includes a trek on a private dirt logging road. This is poorly maintained and can be tricky at best in a small car, but it is doable. 4x4-capable vehicles are highly recommended.
- The dirt road is often snowy right up until mid-April. Weather then deteriorates around the end of October, leaving the best and most popular travel dates mid-May through mid-October.
- The pools are not chlorinated; usage is at your own risk. Despite the healing mineral properties in the water, and the natural sulphur, bacteria and viruses can still grow here. Do not submerse your head in the pools or enter if you have open wounds.
- The hike down is very short (250 meters), but it traverses down a very steep embankment along a path that is marked by usage rather than signage. You will lose approximately 130 meters of elevation.
- Avoid visiting the springs after the Shambhala music festival as it is often overrun with festival goers that regularly trash the place.
- Clothing is optional, according to many of the signs. However, public nudity in Canada is still illegal and we have heard stories of police arriving during popular times to search for drugs and stop criminal activity.
- Keep forest fires far away from the roots of trees as they can cause underground root fires that could permanently destroy the area.
- Watch for broken glass!
This is not an official resource page for St. Leon Hot Springs. This page is maintained by a volunteer. Usage of the springs is entirely at your own risk! As I only go occasionally, I unfortunately cannot answer questions about the current state of the road and springs at various times of the year.