Thursday, May 04, 2023

Plan a Spring Camping Trip at Fairmont Hot Springs

Spring has arrived in the sunny Columbia Valley with dry trails for hiking and biking just waiting for you to explore. We usually launch the camping season at the Fairmont Hot Springs RV Resort where we also get to enjoy unlimited soaking and swimming in their large pools.

Introduction to the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

The Fairmont Hot Springs Resort is located in the Columbia Valley between the communities of Radium Hot Springs and Invermere to the north, and the City of Kimberley to the south. From Calgary, the drive is just over 3 hours depending on where you live. It's easy enough to reach Fairmont on a Friday after work, and the drive is doable for a short weekend, returning to the city Sunday afternoon.

Options for accommodations at the resort include:

  • Lodge rooms in the main resort (some with lofts and kitchenettes) - they sleep 4-6 people

  • Cabins and cottages - they sleep 4 -6 people and some are dog friendly 

  • Juniper Lodge rooms (with kitchenettes) - they sleep up to 4 people and some are dog friendly

  • Family Villas - they sleep 4-6 people 

  • RV sites at the adjoining campground next door

  • RV or tent campsites at the Spruce Grove campground  a short drive down the highway (open after the May long weekend)

    All stays at the hotel resort include access to the hot pools.

    Guests staying at the RV resort get a discounted admission to the pools of $12 per person, which gets you a day pass and unlimited access to the pools for the day.

    Guests staying at the Spruce Grove Campground do not get discounted admission, but the campground is less expensive to stay at, so it evens out in the end.

    There's lots of room to splash around in the warm swimming pool at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

    Soaking in the the hot pool at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

      Spring Specials and Events at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

      Visit this link to view all spring specials at Fairmont Hot Springs.

      RV camping at the Fairmont Hot Springs RV Resort (deluxe river view site)

      Celebrate Mother's Day at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort 

      Camping over the Mother's Day weekend makes a great gift for any outdoor-loving mom (especially if you treat her to brunch at the resort Sunday morning!)

      View Mother's Day events on the resort website.

      Plan a Mother's Day Trip to the Columbia Valley 

      Camping at the Fairmont Hot Springs RV Resort

      The Fairmont Hot Springs RV Resort is located next door to the regular hotel resort and we've camped here many times. 
      "The Fairmont Hot Springs RV Resort is the highest Good Sam rated RV Resort in British Columbia and one of the highest rated in Canada, and it’s easy to see why. 
      Your immaculate site is just steps from the legendary natural mineral hot springs, our three golf courses, year-round shops, the Natural Springs Spa, an abundance of dining locations and our Basecamp, where our Activity & Experience experts provide fun for the whole family and help you plan your next adventure.
      The RV Resort’s proximity to nature is unrivaled. With trail heads right at your doorstep, you don’t have to trek far find tranquility in the surrounding mountains." - Fairmont Hot Springs RV Resort

      The resort has 190 full service sites and guests get to enjoy all of the amenities of the main resort next door. 

      Fall camping at the Fairmont Hot Springs RV Resort in a standard site

      View the Fairmont website to see the different kind of campsites available to book at the RV Resort. 

      We usually book a standard site but the bar has been set higher now that we've tried a deluxe river view site (where it felt like we were camping on top of a mountain as we watched the sun set over the Columbia River each night.)

      Many of the middle sites don't have "great" privacy when the campground is full, but if you have a smaller trailer/van, try to book one of the standard sites in the eastern part of the campground (sites 71-83,) or if you're camping early season we really like sites 108-115 in the upper part of the campground where it's very quiet.

      You'll see the resort map when you go to book sites online.

      These small sites in the upper campground are very quiet in spring 

      Note: You must have a certified RV or motorhome to reserve a site in the RV Resort. Trucks with truck caps, roof top tents or converted vans or buses that are not certified will not be allowed. 

      If you don't meet the requirements to camp at Fairmont, the Spruce Grove Campground is located just down the road. This campground opens for the May long weekend each year and is a lovely campground for tenters with many non serviced sites. It also has several RV sites with full or partial hookups and its own swimming pool. (And you can still drive to access the hot springs as a public user.)

      We usually camp at Spruce Grove later in the season (June through the September long weekend) because we like camping beside the Columbia River.

      Spring camping at the Spruce Grove Campground beside the Columbia River

      Why we Love Camping at the Fairmont Hot Springs RV Resort

      The Hot Springs!

      We love camping right beside the hot spring pools. We usually bring bath robes so that we can wear our swim suits over from our campsite, and we enjoy not having to drive to the pools.

      We head to the pools right after breakfast while we wait for it to warm up on a cool spring morning. We usually head out for a bike ride or a hike afterwards, and then return to the pools again late afternoon, sometimes visiting a third time in the evening. A $19 day pass gets you unlimited access to the hot springs (per person) for a day. A family pass is $56. This is a discounted rate from what the public pays to enter the pools.

      Enjoying the warm swimming pool at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

      There are endless options for activities without leaving camp

      We love camping here because there are many hiking paths that start right from the campground. We can go out for a walk, warm up in the hot pools, hang out at camp for a while, play a round of mini golf, and then go back to the pools. And to splurge, we can just walk over to the main resort for a decadent restaurant meal, Sunday brunch, or even afternoon appies and drinks at the family friendly pub.

      You'll pay a $10 "resort experience" fee when you stay at the Fairmont Resort (including the RV Resort) but it includes many activities and amenities including:
      • Discounted access to the hot springs for RV users (complimentary access for hotel guests)

      • Mini golf on site (with both an 18 hole and 9 hole course)

      • Daily family activities such as movie nights, scavenger hunts, crafts, and indoor and outdoor games

      • Access to the gym inside the resort's main building

      • Sports including tennis, bocce, and basketball (with equipment available to borrow)

      • One bucket of balls per day (per person) for the driving range at the Riverside Golf Course across the highway - with clubs available to borrow

      • Unlimited Wi-Fi at the resort and in the campground 

      Read more about the RV Resort amenities here on the Fairmont Hot Springs website or in my story below: 

      Free mini golf awaits you when you camp at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort 

      Luxury Campsites

      We also love that every site has full hookups so we don't have to fill our water tank before setting up camp. (And we don't have to empty the tanks when leaving!) I can use my coffee maker, the toaster, and the microwave (we don't camp simply,) and cable TV hookups are available on some sites.

      Note: There are no campfires permitted at this RV Resort. If you want a campfire at night you can either use a propane fire bowl, or you can camp at the Spruce Grove Campground down the road which has fire pits at each site.

      Premium mountain view RV sites at the Fairmont Hot Springs RV Resort

      Make a Reservation! 

      Read more about the RV Resort on the Fairmont website where you'll see a description for each site category and find a map of the resort. 

      Reservations can also be made online a year in advance and are super easy to make! Just select the type of campsite you want, and an availability map will show up with available sites.

      And don't worry if you aren't a "book sites a year in advance" kind of person! There are always available campsites at Fairmont in the spring.

      This could be you at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort!

      Camping at the Spruce Grove Campground

      Riverside camping doesn't get much better than the Spruce Grove Campground, affiliated with the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. When the river is low, there's also a beautiful sandy beach to play at.
      "With 137 camping and tenting sites (some of which are fully serviced) and a free heated swimming pool, this scenic BC camping spot is particularly popular with group gatherings and families.
      Situated on the banks of the sparkling Columbia River that wraps around the campground, Spruce Grove is just a short drive from the main Fairmont Hot Springs resort area. " - Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

      Riverside Camping at the Spruce Grove Campground

      Riverside camping 

      If you're looking for riverside camping, there are four riverside sites with power + water (248-251,) and the rest (252-275) are non-serviced. 

      You must have an RV or trailer to camp in one of the "pink" sites with services. You can't claim a prime serviced site and put up a tent on it. 

      If you want a site with full hookups (water + electric + sewer) you can't camp beside the river, but there are a few nice sites across from it (240-243.)

      And while not exactly "beside" the river, these unserviced sites, (277-280,) are worth mentioning for their quiet private location.  Camp here in the spring and you might be all alone in the back.

      You can see a resort map when you go to book a site online.

      We love camping beside the river at the Spruce Grove Campground

      Beach camping 

      I've had people express shock when they see my photos of the campground with an actual beach, because it disappears when the water is high. When the campground opens May long weekend, there is definitely a big sandy area beside the river.  After that, it varies year to year. 

      In July or early August you likely won't see the beach, but then it slowly comes back by mid August in time for the September long weekend.

      August camping at the Spruce Grove Campground with our private beach

      How to access the river and the beach:

      The official campground access to the beach and to the river is from the far end of the campground, near site 278, where there is a path to the river. The path doesn't show  up on the campground map, but I promise it's there.

      So, if you want to spend time on the beach or beside the river, camp at the far end of the campground near sites 277 - 278. 

      Please do not walk through occupied campsites to access the beach or the river. (We've camped in front of the beach and had people walk through the middle of our campsite without asking permission, while dragging kids, chairs, toys, etc.)

      If you really want to make sure you get a site in front of the beach, you can book your site up to a year in advance and then you can secure your campsite with its private beach. - which  is what I do.

      Spruce Grove is a hidden gem in the Columbia Valley

      Other perks of camping at the Spruce Grove Campground:

      • You can camp in a mixed group with tents and RVs (great for family get togethers)

      • You still get access to the Fairmont Hot Springs pools as a public day user

      • There is a free swimming pool at Spruce Grove

      • You can fish in the river right from the campground (don't forget to buy a BC fishing license)

      • Riverside access for those who like kayaking, canoeing, or stand up paddleboarding. (more information below)

      • No resort experience fees (Campers at Spruce Grove do not pay the $10 resort fee that you pay when staying at the RV Resort)

      • A natural camping experience. (Expect grass, gravel roads, and lots of trees.)

      This campground is only open between the May long, and September long weekends. For early or late season camping, make a reservation at the Fairmont Hot Springs RV Resort. - no tents.

      Fishing from the Spruce Grove campground

      Paddling from the Spruce Grove Campground

      If you like kayaking, canoeing, or stand up paddleboarding, this is a great campground. It's a short paddle from the boat launch on Columbia River Road back to camp, and a quick one-hour trip. (Google maps is a bit weird with this one, but I promise if you follow this road, you'll come to a good put in spot beside the river that's fairly obvious.)

      Alternately, start at camp, paddle through the Riverside golf course, and take out at the boat launch below the golf course on River Drive (near Wilder Memorial Park.) This takes a couple of hours at most.

      Evening paddling on the Columbia River

      My husband often drives me up to the put in above camp so that I can SUP my way back to camp in the evening. As a family we like to do the longer paddle down river, but we have to figure out the shuttle part which gets tricky (unless camping with friends.)

      Paddling down the Columbia River from the Spruce Grove campground 

      Make a Reservation! 

      Read more about the Spruce Grove Campground on the Fairmont website where you'll see a description for each site category and find a map of the resort. 

      Reservations can also be made online a year in advance and are super easy to make! Just select the type of campsite you want, and an availability map will show up with available sites.

      And even if you decide to make a spontaneous last minute decision to go camping, there are usually sites available in spring.

      Adventure awaits when you camp at Fairmont Hot Springs

      Other Activities to Enjoy While Camping at Fairmont this Spring

      If you're visiting in May, check out the family-friendly Wings over the Rockies Nature Festival which happens early to mid May each year. There are some great family-friendly events happening over the Mother's Day weekend.

      Mountain biking is one of our fav. spring activities at Fairmont

      Biking around Fairmont

      Some of our favourite family-friendly mountain bike trails are located near Fairmont so we always come out here in the spring when it's not quite as hot. The Spirit Trail is a fav. bike ride of ours every spring (and usually one of our first mountain bike rides of the season in April.)

      There's also a brand new paved bike trail that starts near Invermere and ends at Fairmont. The Markin-MacPhail Westside Legacy Trail is 25 km long (one way) and has easy, intermediate, and advanced sections.

      Read more about the trails around Fairmont here in my bike guide:

      Paved Biking on The Markin-MacPhail Westside Legacy Trail 

      Hiking around the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort 

      For hiking around the campground, we like the Owl Loop and the Geary Lookout Trail. 

      You can view all trails on the All Trails website or app, or pick up a map from the Activities desk at the resort.

      And for a fun walking challenge, check out the Hot Spring Heist Scavenger Hunt. The game is free for resort guests with a special code that staff can give you.

      There are also several geocaches hidden around the resort that we've had fun looking for.

      There are many great walking trails around the resort 

      Other Spring Fun!

      There's LOTS to do around Fairmont in the spring. For more inspiration, read my previous guides:

      Disclaimer: We have been hosted at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort and this story is written in partnership with the resort. 

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