Known to the Sts'ailes First Nations for countless generations, the hot springs on Harrison Lake's southern shore were first discovered by settlers in 1858 when a boat capsized. To the astonishment of the small crew, the water was unexpectedly warm. Quickly popularized, the then named "St. Alice's Well" was turned into a bath house and hotel by 1886 once train access was made available by the Canadian Pacific Railway. Ever since, the now named "Harrison* Hot Springs" has been a popular retreat destination for those living in the Fraser Valley.
Today, Harrison Hot Springs is a somewhat cliché yet undeniably quaint resort town with hotels, eateries, pensioners, and young families. While you'll need to go indoors to experience the hot springs, the town's beachfront and lagoon along Esplanade Avenue are the town's summer outdoor draw. The beach stretches 1,300 meters across the entire south shore of Harrison Lake, and while the sand itself is rather gravely, the cool waters, park and adjacent amenities, and incredible views make up for it.
The beachfront park includes restrooms, park benches, a playground, sand volleyball courts, a public dock for launching small watercraft, a private dock with boat rentals, and an inflatable waterpark floating just offshore that's amazingly popular with kids. Both the boat rental and waterpark are managed by Harrison Watersports. Harrison Eco Tours provides kayak rentals and tours of the lake during the summer season. Call 604.796.3345 for details.
Note: The beachfront does not provide boat ramp access to Harrison Lake. Instead, drive up the eastern shore of the lake via Lillooet Avenue/Rockwell Drive to the public boat ramp just past Killer's Cove Marina.
* The hot springs and lake were named "Harrison" to honor Hudson Bay Company director Benjamin Harrison.