Vancouver to Harrison Hot Springs via the Scenic Hwy 7
The Vancouver to Harrison Hot Springs trip will, for the most part, take you along scenic Highway 7 from Coquitlam to the resort village of Harrison Hot Springs. Before you go make sure you have winter tires and that you have appropriate clothes and shoes for the colder temperatures.
Highway 7 runs east-west and follows the northern bank of the Fraser River. Head east on the highway in the direction of the Fraser Valley. The highway will deviate through the cities of Maple Ridge and Mission (expect traffic lights here) and then you are out into the country with stunning views of fields and mountains. The distance from Coquitlam to Harrison Hot Springs is approximately 100 km (62 mi) and takes about 1.5 hours’ driving time, not including stops. Here are some suggested stops and things to do along the way:
- It’s worth the drive to Sasquatch Mountain Resort in the Douglas Ranges, which has excellent snowshoeing opportunities, from easy to more strenuous, and do-it-yourself or guided tours. There is also skiing, tubing and much more to experience on the mountain. The distance from Coquitlam to the turnoff at Sasquatch Inn is approximately 75 km (47 mi), then 10 km (6 mi) to the resort. Note that tire chains are mandatory to travel up the mountain road in the winter.
- Between Mission and Harrison Hot Springs you may spot bald eagles in the area. The Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival takes place in mid-November when they come to feast on the spawning salmon, but there are eagles around from October to February. Viewing can be had at various locations including Kilby Provincial Park and along the rich ecosystem of Nicomen Slough on Highway 7 east of Mission from Dewdney to Deroche (take caution if parking on the side of the highway).
- Shortly past the Sasquatch Mountain turnoff you will come to the sign to Kilby Historic Site in Harrison Mills, a living museum of rural history. Don’t miss the right turn after a sweeping right-hand bend which crosses the Harrison River. If you miss the first one there is another right turn just along the highway. This historic museum houses a fascinating display of artifacts from the 1920s and ‘30s, a post office and the Manchester House Hotel; it’s decorated for Christmas too!
- Back on the road and still heading east you will come to a stop light (13 km / 8 mi) that directs you to turn right to continue on Highway 7; however, go straight on towards Harrison Hot Springs on Highway 9 north. It’s only a short distance away. This resort is very popular in the summer as visitors soak up the small-town ambience, relax on the beach or enjoy the lake. In the winter it is much quieter; enjoy a walk along the waterfront and stop for a hot chocolate or bowl of soup or take a relaxing dip in the hot springs at Harrison’s Public Pool. The hot mineral waters are pumped into the pool from one of the hot springs and cooled to 38°C (100°F). If you are there around the Christmas season, you will be able to experience the twinkling Lights by the Lake, which runs from the end of November to January.
- Now, turn around and head back the way you came. You may find some quirky little places to stop at such as Lake Errock and Deroche but we will take you on into Maple Ridge. If you need a diversion and want to stretch your legs, head to Golden Ears Provincial Park and Alouette Lake with its beautiful views of snow-capped mountains. Take 232nd St north off Highway 7, right on 132nd Ave and onto Fern Crescent and follow signs.
- Maple Ridge has lots of food offerings; here are a few suggestions for a snack, dinner or whatever takes your fancy:
- Kingfisher Waterfront Bar & Grill offers great atmosphere, fab food and Fraser River views. You can locate this restaurant by turning left (south) off Highway 7 at 240th St in an area known as Albion.
- Big Feast Bistro offers a menu utilizing local suppliers and foods, all served with a big heart. Check out the frozen dishes that you can take back to enjoy. Find them at 11920-227 St in the heart of Maple Ridge, just a short distance north of Highway 7.
- Heading west towards Pitt Meadows is Golden Ears Cheesecrafters offering their own farm cheeses (watch them make the cheese as well), country kitchen lunches and locally made items. Their cheeses are so tasty they are incorporated in menus at many of Vancouver’s premier restaurants. Situated in the ‘country’ north of Maple Ridge on 128th Ave, this little gem is worth a visit.
- Since you are on 128th Ave we suggest you continue west turning right on 210th St which turns into 132nd Ave and then into Old Dewdney Trunk Road. At a T-junction you will need to turn right and then left at the next stop sign – you are still on Old Dewdney Trunk Road – until you come to Hopcott Farms in Pitt Meadows. This family butcher offers sustainable meats and other local produce, and you can enjoy a snack or lunch in their bistro. Blue Heron Fruit Winery, known for their cranberries and blueberries, is also next door.
- Just a short distance along the road you will join up again with Highway 7. Turning right takes you over the Pitt River Bridge with options to head into Coquitlam and beyond or taking Highway 7A (the Mary Hill By-Pass) and onto the Trans Canada Highway 1. Heading into Coquitlam there are many choices – trails, lakes, shopping, theatres (such as the Evergreen Cultural Centre), casino and more (take in a dinner and show at the Hard Rock Casino).
- Head to the 1.1 km loop trail at Lafarge Lake to stretch your legs and enjoy the stunning Lights at Lafarge, the largest free holiday lights display in the Vancouver area (open throughout December and into early January). If you need to polish up on your golf Eaglequest Golf Course is open year-round (weather permitting).
- Finally, if you are here in December and haven’t experienced the CP Holiday Train, this is the time. The train crosses the country leaving Montreal at the end of November and completes its journey in Port Coquitlam just before Christmas raising awareness of hunger and collecting food donations along the route. The train is adorned with Christmas lights plus, has entertainment, and in this area stops at Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Port Moody and Port Coquitlam – all close to Highway 7.
Check DriveBC for road conditions before you head out and visit websites or call businesses ahead regarding opening and closing times during the winter.
Looking ahead beyond winter, the blog article Three Ways to Welcome Spring in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley has more information on this area.
Published: December 15, 2022
Last Updated: December 15, 2022