There is a private campground, shelters, and soaking tubs available to the public. The undeveloped hot springs are situated on private property, but permission to enjoy the springs is generously granted by the Tretheway family. The Skookumchuck Hot Springs are open year, and can be busy on summer weekends as St. Agnes Well is a popular weekend destination for Vancouver residents. Early morning is normally the best time for a good soak. The Skookumchuck Hot Springs are located about 35 miles (56 km) south of the community of Mount Currie, on the original Cariboo Wagon Road. From the logging road that parallels the Lillooet River, turn west at the BC Hydro tower 682. This narrow gravel road leads to the campsite and the hot springs. The road is very rough, with very large potholes. Access is difficult in winter due to the heavy snow conditions. The coordinates will take you to the hot springs and pool.
The Nature of Hot Springs
Where does the spring water come from? Most of the rain and snow that falls on the slopes of a mountain ends up in rivers and streams. Some of it, however, filters down through the cracks and pores in the earths surface, pulled by gravity to depths of up to three kilometres below the surface. It is this water which later returns to the surface in our hot springs.
Why is it warm? As it seeps into the ground, the water becomes hotter and hotter as it descends. The source of the heat is from the rocks which are hot due to magma residing a few kilometers below the surface. When the water gets hot enough it boils, and the resulting pressure forces it upward, just like the water in a coffee percolator. The speed at which the water rises, and the degree to which it mixes with cold ground water, causes the resulting hot springs to have different temperatures.
Why does it smell? As the water heats up, it dissolves minerals in the surrounding rock. When these dissolved minerals break down, they release hydrogen sulphide gas, which smells like rotten eggs. Pyrite and gypsum are two common sulphur-bearing minerals dissolved in the Banff and Miette hot springs. This is probably the most common occurrence. However, some hot springs are odourless such as the Radium Hot Springs due to the type of rock in that area.
What is tufa? As the hot springs water bubbles from its underground source onto the surface, it begins to drop the load of minerals (precipitating) it gained on its travels through the ground. One of the common minerals is calcium carbonate which hardens into a porous grey/brown rock called tufa when it precipitates onto the surface and is usually seen around each hot spring.
As of November 18, 2006 to log this Earthcache:
You must post some unique bit of information regarding the site that you learn while there. Taking a water temperature measurement of the hot spring or pool is acceptable. Other possible information could be the size of the hotspring or the water flow rate. I'll leave it up to each cacher to decide what to post to show that they have learned something. I will monitor logs for appropriate information. You must also post a photo of the area. Unfortunately, any log that does not meet the requirements will be deleted. Thanks for visiting an Earthcache!