At this time of year, when my family and I are all longing for warm sunshine, swimming, green grass and summer fun, we love to go on our early-spring favourite; a day trip to Fairmont Hot Springs for a fun-filled trilogy of hoodoos, hot springs & (hot) lunch.
The Fairmont Hoodoos are a
significant landmark in the region. They can be observed from Highway 93/95
while driving north from Canal Flats to Fairmont or can be reached from the top
by taking a short hike on a well-maintained trail.
Hoodoos are a geological feature formed by the erosional pattern of water on soft and harder rock layers typically in sedimentary terrain, creating sculpted towers of different colours.
The easy trail starts at about 1-km from the junction of Westside Road and the Highway to the left, near the Dutch Creek Station. It’s a 3-km return trek and can easily be hiked by small children or by pushing an all-wheel-drive stroller. The trail climbs gently for the first few minutes and then becomes flat. Make sure children are kept close as the cliffs drop quite abruptly once you reach the end of the trail. From there, a stunning view opens up on the whole valley all the way to Columbia Lake and to Dutch Creek just below. This viewpoint definitely makes the list of "top photo spots" in the area.
After this very pleasant and rewarding leg
stretcher, a soak in Fairmont Hot Springs Resort’s mineral hot springs offers mandatory relaxation.
Alternating between the different temperature pools releases all the tension
from your body and leaves you in a wonderful state of wellness. The hot pools
are very family-friendly with shallow water areas, use of life-jackets for any
child size for free, and a diving board that will keep the older kids (and
their…dads!) entertained for a while. The pools are surrounded by a fenced flat
grassy area with lawn chairs and picnic tables where kids are free to roam. Be
careful to protect them from the sun with a generous coat of sunscreen, hat and
t-shirt though and not to let them soak too long in the hotter pool as little
ones tend to get sunburns and dehydrate quickly.
After the soak has left us relaxed and very hungry, we usually make our way to our favourite local restaurant: From Scratch. Wood oven thin crust pizza and roasted sandwiches on in-house baked bread, soups, salads and decadent desserts are made with passion from fresh, in-season, local ingredients…and obviously from scratch. The dining room is unpretentious and welcoming and the service is very friendly; it makes you feel you’re having a meal over at a friend’s. Plus, they serve excellent coffee. From Scratch also offers a small selection of fine groceries in its adjacent market such as chocolate, loose leaf teas, herb & spice blends, home-made preserves and vinaigrettes. For locals and visitors with “Obsessive Cooking Disorder” (which I believe I suffer from!). From Scratch is even offering themed cooking classes.
Families who prefer a gourmet picnic-style lunch on the grass will find plenty of pleasant spots around Fairmont, as well as a delicious selection of fresh local food at the Resort’s very own Brewer’s Market.
This fun family day is sure to leave your little ones gently snoozing in the car on the way home, for bonus relaxation time for the parents! Although it can take place at any time of the year, it definitely is a lovely summer preview when enjoyed in the spring.
Perhaps the grass is, in fact, a little greener and the water a little warmer…in Fairmont Hot Springs!
Story by Emilie Cayer-Huard. Photos by David Gluns (top), Andrew Penner (Fairmont Hoodoos) and Kari Medig (Fairmont Hot Springs pools).