Keyhole Hot Springs in Pemberton, BC, is reopening on Monday after a seasonal summer closure.
The popular hot springs closed indefinitely in 2017 because irresponsible visitors left garbage that attracted bears. The bears became food-habituated and aggressive to the point that the province closed the hot springs to prevent an attack.
The COVID-19 pandemic further delayed the hot springs’ reopening, but now the government says a seasonal closure is in effect for the summer months.
Once the bears begin their hibernation, the seasonal closure is lifted. This year, people are officially allowed to visit the hot springs as of Monday, November 15.
But even though visitors won’t risk a fine after November 15, the road leading to the hot springs can still be treacherous. Would-be soakers need to drive along a snow-covered logging road and then hike four kilometres to the pools themselves.
The conditions will be wintry, so snowshoes, spikes, and poles are a must.
When there’s a risk of an avalanche, the gate on the logging road is closed further down — about 40 kilometres away from the pools.
Despite the challenges of getting there, Keyhole Hot Springs prove popular year after year. Reviewers on AllTrails recommend visiting on a weekday and leaving early to ensure there’s ample daylight for the hike down.