Monday, August 24, 2009

Not far north of Muncho Lake was Liard River Hotsprings Provincial Park, at Mile 496 on the Alaska highway.

Liard River bridge - near the provincial park.
We arrived in the early evening, but there was still a bit of room in the campground. We selected a site and had supper, but it was late and the mosquitoes were a bit 'active', so it was decided to delay swimming till morning, so we enjoyed a movie in the camper instead.
In the morning, we got a very early start, and had the pools to ourselves for a fair while.
The pools are natural, with very well maintained wooden walkways, stairs into the pools and change rooms and bathrooms on site.
The pools themselves are about a 20 minute walk from the campground.
Before visitors arrive and mix up the waters, there is a very evident temperature difference from the hot surface water, and the cooler underlying layer. It is very hot where the water flows into the pools, and we were constantly stirring cooler water from below to keep from overheating.
Because of the size of the pools though, you can pretty much choose the right temperature for yourself by moving further from the source. As an additional advantage to the peace and quiet in the early morning was the lack of many active mosquitoes.

Park Info

Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park

Relaxation seeps into your body as you ease into the second largest hot spring in Canada. Liard River Hot Springs provides relief to Alaskan bound travellers after a long day on the road. The hot springs complex is of national ecological significance and is well known for its natural setting in a lush boreal spruce forest. The park is such a popular stop over for tourists that the campgound fills up early each day during the summer months. Liard is also open year round. There are two hot springs with water temperatures ranging from 42° C to 52° C; the nearest is the Alpha pool. Beta pool is beyond Alpha and is larger and deeper. A boardwalk, which leads to the hot spring pools, passes through a warm water swamp and boreal forest which supports rich and diverse plant communities as well as mammal and bird species. Watch for moose feeding in the the warm water swamps. Due to the lush plant life influenced by the warmth of the springs, the area was originally known as the "Tropical Valley."

After a leisurely soak in the pools, we hit the road north, and encountered a number of herds of bison grazing roadside.
This one was obviously sporting a radio collar.

Bison movie star!

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