One of the iconic features in Banff is the Upper Hot Springs. What could be better than taking some time to relax in a natural hot tub with heath benefits while on a family vacation? Not much! Did you know that the Upper Hot Springs is filled with 100% natural mineral water?
When we first arrived in Banff we actually had no idea there were two locations of the Banff Hot Springs: the original location at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site and the Upper Hot Springs, which hosts the incredible bath house built in 1904.
We spontaneously decided to go to the Cave and Basin National Historic Site and I’m so glad we did. We learned a lot about the history of Canada’s Parks!
The Cave and Basin Site is where the hot springs were originally discovered by Canadian Pacific Railway workers in 1882. This discovery led to the creation of Canada’s first National Park! A bathhouse was built on this site in 1886, however it was destroyed by fire twice before closing to the public for bathing. You can tour the cave and museum here, and learn more about hot springs and how they work!
At the Cave and Basin National Historic Site you can also check out the traditional bathing suits people used to wear at the hot springs. Pretty fancy eh?
After all this history, we wanted to check out the real thing! The Upper Hot Springs are a very popular place! We were glad we waited until late afternoon to go. If we had the time we would have loved to go at night. The Upper Hot Springs Bathhouse has a restaurant, gift shop, massage clinic, changing rooms with showers, and yes, you can still rent those old-fashioned bathing suits! We declined to rent the suits because it was very busy and we were not brave enough to wear them in the crowd. Silly us.
The hot springs felt wonderful! The temperature of the water ranges from 98 – 104 degrees Fahrenheit. It was very relaxing and very clean. Although the recommended time to stay in the hot springs is 10 minutes, many people were sitting on the edge to cool off and then dipping back in. You don’t want to leave that fast!