Going Glamping In The Harrison River Valley

It's glamorous camping! What more could you ask for?

By Michaela Ludwig

Glamping in the summertime gives you a beautiful and comfortable home base while you spend the day out exploring and having adventures. Glamping in the wintertime is all about peace, relaxation and those wintery views that make you want to curl up by the fire with a good book or take a long soak in a tub.


Glamping is a portmanteau of “glamourous” and “camping,” and glamping offers accommodations more luxurious than what you’d find in traditional camping – think cabins or fancy yurts in the wilderness.



I was recently invited to spend a few days glamping in the Harrison River Valley area, specifically to Sandpiper Resort in Harrison Mills and The Lodge on Harrison Lake, and I decided to take my vacation to the area during the first week of December.

A view of the grounds at Sandpiper Resort.

Traditional camping is not for me. It’s not something we did as a family when I was a kid (which I find is a big factor in whether or not people like camping as adults) and it’s not an activity I have grown to love. I love spending the day out exploring, hiking, fishing, kayaking, sightseeing – whatever the day brings, I’m in! But I prefer to have a proper place to lay my head down at night and that place is not in a tent. So when I was told these glamping accommodations were cabins, that was right up my alley!



Let me tell you, there are cabins, and then there are cabins! The accommodations at both of these resorts just oozed luxury and they were absolutely stunning.


Sandpiper Resort

I first spent two nights at Sandpiper Resort, in one of their new woodland cabins. Sandpiper Resort, located along the Harrison River, is also home to a beautiful golf course and clubhouse, with colonial rooms available at Rowena’s Inn, as well as classic rustic cabins, luxury cabins, the woodland cabins and RV sites on the grounds.


The woodland cabin that I stayed in, called the Fir, was a one-bedroom, open-concept cabin with a kitchenette, small dining area, livingroom with a fireplace, the bathroom included a freestanding soaker tub and a large glass shower and, outside on the deck, there was a cedar hot tub just waiting to be enjoyed. The finishings inside the cabin were gorgeous, sort of a rustic, industrial kind of feel with the concrete floors, black fixtures and wood on the ceiling. The livingroom included wall-to-wall windows, and within that was a large sliding glass door that lets you out onto the deck. The cedar tub was easy to use – just like a bathtub, you put the stopper in the bottom and fill it up from the tap on the wall. The resort was peaceful and quiet, and being able to look out over the beautiful grounds and the river was magic. It rained during most of my stay in the Harrison River Valley, which is pretty typical for December, but the cedar tub was covered by the deck roof and the sound of the rain falling just added to the ambiance.

The outside of the Fir woodland cabin at Sandpiper Resort.
A perfect way to spend a chilly evening!
The cedar hot tub at Sandpiper Resort. Fill it up and soak your cares away!
The area stays so green, even in December.

During the winter and spring months, Sandpiper Resort hosts a Step Back In Time dinner at Rowena’s Inn and I was invited to attend. The dinner has a set menu, which changes with each event and can be found on the resort’s website, rowenasinnontheriver.com. The dinner started off with a late autumn velouté, which is a thick type of soup, and then baked brie en croute, rack of lamb for the main entrée and paris-brest for dessert. Kenzie, our server for the evening, was warm and friendly and she did such a wonderful job explaining each dish and answering my questions. The food was divine, with each dish offering something I hadn’t tried before but was eager to dive into. And the atmosphere! I was too busy enjoying my meal, and the evening in general, to snap many photos, but I can tell you that my photos wouldn’t have done it justice. The inn had a beautiful Christmas glow about it, with sparkling decorations and a fire roaring at one end of the dining room. Everyone was talking quietly and enjoying their meals and a musician was seated between the upper and lower dining rooms to entertain guests for the evening. The inn has a quaint, old-world kind of charm about it. If you’re looking for a special evening out or a date night, this is it. Rowena’s Inn also hosts whiskey tasting events.

A snapshot of the Step Back In Time dinner, at Rowena’s Inn at Sandpiper Resort.
Rowena’s Inn could not be any more picturesque!

Sandpiper Resort is close to Harrison Mills, and only about 20 minutes from Harrison Hot Springs and Agassiz. The woodland cabin comes equipped with pots, pans, dishes and utensils if you feel like cooking, and the River’s Edge Clubhouse, a short walk from the cabins, also offers delicious meals. Since cooking is never high on my to-do list, and certainly not while I’m on vacation, I enjoyed many meals at the River’s Edge Clubhouse. The clubhouse has a similar charm to the inn and there’s a section of the restaurant that’s enclosed in glass (which is likely opened up when the weather turns nice) and that’s where I took my meals – being able to look out over the green grounds, all the way to the river, and see the eagles flying by, always makes any meal even better! And I don’t know what they put in their morning coffee to make it taste so good, but I could have bottled it up and brought it home!

Inside the River’s Edge Clubhouse.
Inside the River’s Edge Clubhouse.

From October to January, spawning salmon return to the Harrison River, one of the most protected and productive salmon ecosystems in the world. Following the salmon are bald eagles, and you can see tens of thousands of eagles along the Harrison River during this time, coming to feed on the salmon. (Find more information here: https://www.bcmag.ca/salmon-and-eagles/.) Even though the weather during my trip to the area wasn’t ideal, there was an eagle, or two or three, everywhere I turned – flying low over the river while I ate breakfast, perched high in the cedars at Sandpiper Resort while I toured the grounds or walked to my car to head out on a sightseeing adventure, perched on logs sticking out of the river while I soaked in the cedar tub. Everywhere! Harrison Eco Tours, located across the road from the Harrison Hot Springs Resort, offers guided eagle viewing trips and the winter months are prime time. I’ll write a full article on my eagle-viewing trip, but Tony, our guide for the day, took us from the dock on Harrison Lake down the Harrison River and there were eagles all along the stretch of river, searching for their next meal or perched up in the trees to wait out the snow that had started to come down. We even passed by Sandpiper Resort during our river adventure.


The Lodge On Harrison Lake

After checking out of Sandpiper Resort, I made my way to The Lodge On Harrison Lake. The weather stayed rainy and grey, but the Harrison River Valley always seems so green, despite what the weather throws at it.

Cabins 1 and 2 at The Lodge On Harrison Lake.

The Lodge On Harrison Lake offers a variety of accommodations – within the lodge there is a large main residence and a carriage house that are both two-storey suites for several guests to stay, four guest suites above that and then two cabins that are a short walk from the lodge. All of this overlooks Harrison Lake. I was offered a stay in cabin #2 and to say this cabin was stunning would be an understatement. The windows all along the front of the cabin – in the livingroom and kitchen area, and in the bedroom – look out over the lake and the small, rocky beach in front of the cabins. In between the lodge and the cabins are gathering areas for summertime fun and a large outdoor kitchen. Just outside the cabin door is a small area for chairs and a fire pit, which would be beautiful and relaxing with the summer breeze blowing off the lake. There is also a new sauna, located up by the main lodge. The cabin itself had a full kitchen, complete with all the pots, pans, dishes and utensils you would need, a large soaker tub in the bathroom that looked over the lake, a glassed-in shower and modern finishes throughout that made it feel like home. You can view photos of the Lodge and its accommodations at thelodgeonharrisonlake.ca.

Inside cabin #2 at The Lodge On Harrison Lake.
Inside cabin #2 at The Lodge On Harrison Lake.
The fire pit area and the view from cabin #2 over to the main lodge.

The Lodge On Harrison Lake is only a short drive from Harrison Hot Springs. While Harrison Hot Springs is not a large town, population-wise, you’ll definitely want to spend a few days in the area just so you can try all the food! The beaches, water sports and hiking available in the area also make this a must-stay destination.


After waking up (late, of course – it’s a vacation!) to stunning water views, I made my way into Harrison Hot Springs to tour the art gallery and shops along the main road. I shook off the rain and stopped into Muddy Waters Café for lunch – a hearty sandwich and a gingerbread latte that felt like I got a hug from the Gingerbread Man himself! For supper that night, I ventured to Morgan’s Bistro. Now, reviews on Google claim that Morgan’s Bistro is a hidden gem in Harrison Hot Springs, and I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. Tucked into an upper level on the main road, you might pass by the small restaurant and not notice it. But you would be missing out on a spectacular dinner, if so!

The gingerbread latte from Muddy Waters Cafe!
Great food and great service!

Fraser River Lodge

In addition to glamping with Sandpiper Resort or The Lodge On Harrison Lake, Fraser River Lodge also offers glamping experiences, with stunning views of Mount Cheam, the Fraser River and roaming bison. And there’s so much to do at Fraser River Lodge, you’ll want to be able to take it all in – jet boat rides along the river and Harrison Lake, guided fishing trips, axe throwing, group yoga, trap shooting and snowmageddeon (an epic snowball fight competition), just to name a few! You can find more information at fraserriverlodge.com.


What To Do In The Harrison River Valley

Even in the wintertime, there is no shortage of things to see and do during a trip to the Harrison River Valley. Between my stays at the two resorts, I was able to go on a guided eagle-viewing trip; see the light display at Lights By The Lake in Harrison Hot Springs (www.bcmag.ca/lights-by-the-lake-at-harrison-hot-springs/); eat at some impressive restaurants; explore local hot spots such as Harrison Lavender (harrisonlavender.com/) and the Kilby Historic Site (kilby.ca/); I took a turn off the road while travelling back to The Lodge On Harrison Lake and found the Green Point Day Use Area, which was beautiful in the wintertime and would be a must-visit destination in the summer, with several picnic tables and a long beach to explore. There are several markets and farm stores to explore in the area and many (many!) hiking trails. If you stop by the Harrison Visitor Information Centre & Sasquatch Museum, in Harrison Hot Springs, they have a whole rack of pamphlets and booklets for things to do and see in the area. And as the weather warms up, I have no doubt you’ll run out of days on your vacation long before you run out of activities to do. Visit tourismharrison.com for more information.

Green Point Day Use Area.
Green Point Day Use Area.

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