The Aiyansh hot springs or nass valley hotsprings or Hlgu Isgwit Hot Springs are located near New Aiyansh. It’s about 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of Terrace on a path that goes through the Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park. This park offers a unique environment due to its scenic scenery and vibrant native culture. The park allows tourists to discover many rare and fascinating aspects of a volcanic landscape as well as hear about the Nisga’a history and legends.
Drive through the lava fields of Nass Valley to Aiyansh Hotsprings, a culturally important, declared heritage site. Find the little pull-out. You can’t miss it, the signs are visible, and the parking lot is huge, you could fit eight to twelve cars there. It’s 5km from the creek near the posted position and a five-minute walk to the springs. The trailhead is a little steep and can be slippery, particularly in winter.
On the south side of the highway, about 500 metres east of Ksi Ansit’aagan (Ansedagen Creek) is the parking lot for Aiyansh Hot Springs. The route has been refurbished with ramps to make it easier to access, as well as extra changing rooms. About 50 metres from the trailhead, there is a rest spot.
The strong sulphur odour in the water could make people uncomfortable. There’s plenty of chilly water to mix with, but the vents are between 55 and 58 degrees Celsius (toasty).
More information on the location
The last volcanic eruption in Canada occurred nearly 263 years ago in the Nass Valley. The lava destroyed everything in its way, ignited forest fires, and engulfed two Nisga’a villages. About 2,000 civilians were killed. The massive lava beds still occupy the Nass Valley today. They act as a memorial to those who died, as well as a reminder of the value of reverence — for both the natural world and the experience of the elders. Join us for guided tours of the Nisga’a lava fields, which tell the story of Nisga’a origins, society, and clan relationships.
From July 1 to Labor Day, drop-in hiking tours to the Lava Cone depart from the Visitors Centre. The hike is about 3 kilometers long and takes you through scenic old-growth woodland, past volcanic features, and to a great viewpoint overlooking the crater. The hiking is mild in difficulty, with some hills and a few steep stairs. Access to the cone without a guide is not permitted. Visit Nass Valley Tours for guided tours, or call Steve Johnson, Owner, and Operator of Nass Valley Tours, at 250-641-4400 or email [email protected].
the natives’ story: Laxmihl: Where the Fire Ran Out
Two children were playing by the water a long time ago. One boy captured a salmon and cut its back open. The child inserted sticks into the salmon’s back, ignited them and returned the fish to the river. The kids laughed as they watched the salmon swim erratically, smoke coming from its back. The other child captured a salmon and cut its back, inserting a piece of shale before returning it to the river.
The shale weighted down the salmon, which floated on its side. The kids mocked the struggling trout. When an elder arrived on the scene, he told the girls, “Take care what you do.” The salmon will curse you, and the Creator will retaliate.” The earth started to tremble and quake. Nature’s balance has been disrupted. A scout was sent to investigate. He saw smoke and fire from the top of Gennu’axwt and fled to alert the people of their fiery fate.
Many villagers ran up the mountain in a panic. Others attempted to canoe to the other side of the river but were destroyed by the lava. As the people watched the lava spillover their villages, Gwaxts’agat (a mighty magical being) appeared out of nowhere to stop the lava. Gwaxts’agat battled the lava for days by breathing on it with its great nose. Gwaxts’agat eventually withdrew into the mountain, where it stands to this day. — taken from Nisga’a oral heritage
The Tax Cone continues to pique the attention of modern-day vulcanologists. The Smithsonian has more information on the Tax Cone.
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