Attention: this is very old content, revived mostly for historical interest.
Many of the pages on this site
are still useful, but please bear in mind that they may be out of date. (Especially, do not try to use contact information, phone numbers, etc.
found on these pages unless you couldn't find anything more recent.)
See here for more information.
Mount Layton Hot Springs
PO Box 550, Terrace, British Columbia, Canada V8G 4B5
Telephone 250-798-2214 1-800-663-3862 Fax (250)798-2478
Mount Layton Hot Springs is located at Lakelse Lake 15 minutes south of Terrace, the hub of Northern British Columbia. Visitors can enjoy year round recreation and activities from fishing the world renowned Skeena River to skiing the magnificent slopes of Shames Mountain Ski Resort. Visitors raveling for pleasure or business will find a full range of tourism and business services available in the cities of Terrace and Kitimat. Mount Layton's friendly staff can provide you with information and assistance to ensure you have a memorable visit to our area.
- Downhill or Cross Country
Mount Layton Hot Springs Attractions
Mount Layton Hot Springs is located on 1000 acres of farmland in Northern British Columbia. Guests and visitors are invited to walk around the property and see the development that Bert and Marlene Orleans have done since they acquired the property.
Just a 20 minute walk through lush forest area takes you down to beautiful Lakelse Lake. You will likely experience some of the local wildlife and birds that reside in the Mount Layton area.
Stroll about the working farm and see some of the farm animals such as donkeys, goats, sheep, and ducks. You are welcome to pet the animals.
We have our own organic gardens that we use produce from (when available) in the Johnstone Dining Room.
Our friendly staff will be glad to direct you on a walking tour or answer any questions you may have about the grounds or therapeutic pools and waterslides.
Fun for the entire family.
Enjoy your stay at Mount Layton Hot Springs Resort!
Lloyd Johnstone, a resident of Lakelse Lake for the past 71 years, recalls the hot springs past which included a railway roadhouse, bath houses, and a planned town site, parts of the area's history unknown to many Northwest residents.
He explained that the hot spring's history as a tourist attraction began in 1907, when his father, Bruce Johnstone, gained title to the land as a preemption (homestead) site while he was working as a federal fisheries officer in a sockeye salmon hatchery at Lakelse Lake.
He and another fellow, Hank Boss, a telegraph operator, went into partnership and decided to develop an area of the hot springs. The motivation for a development, at what was then a relatively remote site, was supplied by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. At that time they were building a railway to Kitimat. It was supposed to come through Telkwa Pass and was going to go right by where they highway is now. The railway promised a bright future for the area.
Bruce Johnstone started building what was basically a roadhouse in anticipation of the coming rail traffic, the area surrounding his property was subdivided into a townsite and the railway built a "haul road" into the area which is now Old Lakelse Lake Road. The boom came to an abrupt halt, however, when the railway chose Prince Rupert as a terminal rather than Kitimat; but Johnstone still believed a branch line would be built to Kitimat and put his money into the land.
Johnstone stayed and ran the hotel at the hot springs from 1910 until 1929 and it was actually quite successful. He catered mostly to people with rheumatics and so on. The next phase of tourist development in the area was built in 1929. Johnstone built a hotel on the lakeshore just below Oli's Beach.
The development consisted of two substantial log buildings, a hotel and a bathhouse. In what must have been one of the curiosities of the time, the bathhouse had big enamel bathtubs, and a pipeline from the main hot spring all the way to the lakeshore with an eight-inch wooden wire-bound pipe.
Even with the worldwide economic difficulties of that period in history the operation was "quite successful", and tourists with rheumatic types of ailments took advantage of the therapeutic values of the hot springs water, right on the shores of Lakelse Lake, from 1929 until 1936 when disaster struck.
The great depression came along in 1929, just about the time he built the place, but the final straw was in 1936. There was a flood of the Skeena River which washed out all the way from Kwinitsa to Kitwanga. Consequently, nobody could get into this area and nobody could get out - so the whole summer was written off. Johnstone had a small mortgage on the place worth about $8,000 and if folded in 1936. He lost everything. Bruce Johnstone developed another small resort area on the lakeshore that same year, but the hot springs laid dormant from 1936 until 1958.
When Lloyd Johnstone returned to the lake in 1945 following the end of the Second World War he "picked up the pieces" by buying back the original 310 acres, which included 13 hot springs, but before an opportunity came to develop the property, he sold it to Ray Skoglund in 1958.
Ray Skoglund developed the operation that most people would remember, and it operated from about 1960 to about 1978 when the big flood came. The creek jammed up and the water came through the buildings and pretty well wrote them off. That ended the second major development on lot number 684, and the hot springs were dormant a second time - until Bert Orleans bought the property and started building the Mount Layton Hot Springs Resort.
Lloyd Johnstone pays a great tribute to Bert and his wife for the superb job they have done in developing the hot springs today, and is sure it will be a great asset to the north.