Canada’s first national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Banff is a region that promises postcard-perfect landscapes, vibrantly blue lakes, and towering mountains. It is a destination of outdoor wonders and untouched adventures that attract over four million visitors from around the world every year.
Among the region’s natural attractions are a collection of Canada’s most surreal hot springs, perfect for soothing aching muscles worn from exploring the park’s more demanding attractions and hiking trails.
From protected primitive springs to luxury thermal resorts, these six hot springs near Banff offer visitors the opportunity to find blissful tranquility in the breathtaking landscapes of the Canadian Rockies. (Distance from Banff in brackets).
6 Hot Springs Near Banff, Alberta
1. Cave and Basin Hot Springs (1.4 Miles)
Blending the region’s therapeutic waters with thousands of years of history, the hot springs found in the Cave and Basin National Historic Site are an absolute must-visit for any visitor to Banff.
Located just five minutes from downtown, the Cave and Basin Hot Springs have been frequented by Canada’s indigenous peoples for millennia but were only discovered by the Western world during the construction of the region’s railway network in 1883.
While an early effort to commercialize the site was made, the Canadian government quickly stopped the development of the facilities and created the Banff Hot Springs Reserve, which protected 26 acres surrounding the facility. The reserve eventually expanded into what is now Banff National Park.
While visitors are not permitted to swim in the thermal pools that comprise the natural complex, the Cave and Basin Hot Springs remain one of the most important hot springs near Banff and provide for a historical exploration of the region’s geothermal water features and the very beginning of Canada’s national park service.
2. Banff Upper Hot Springs (2.8 Miles)
Located just slightly further out of town than the Cave and Basin Hot Springs, the Banff Upper Hot Springs is the most accessible hot spring near Banff that allows visitors to submerge in the region’s therapeutic mineral waters.
The Banff Upper Hot Springs were just one of the nine thermal pools discovered by railway workers in 1883 to be protected as part of the Banff Hot Springs Reserve. And after the near century and a half that has since passed, the Upper Hot Springs is also the only one of these thermal pools open for public use.
Easy Access to Banff Upper Hot Springs
“The serenity of the surroundings feels secluded away from large crowds and yet close to the town if looking for something to do and see. Best of both worlds”
The hot springs consist of a singular large thermal pool that does not require a reservation to visit, instead functioning on a first-come, first-serve basis. The natural spring waters fluctuate throughout the year and typically average between 98 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Although, temperatures can reach as low as 80 degrees in the spring and as high as 116 in the winter.
Despite being a protected primitive thermal pool, the Banff Upper Hot Springs does feature basic onsite amenities to ensure safety, such as on-duty lifeguards.
3. Radium Hot Springs (84.3 Miles)
Tucked away in the Kootenai National Forest just over the provincial boundaries in British Columbia, the Radium Hot Springs require an hour and a half drive to reach from Banff but serve as a fantastic day trip destination for combining an exploration of the region’s mountainous terrains with a therapeutic soak in a geothermal mineral spring.
Like many hot springs in the region, the Radium Hot Springs were revered by the region’s indigenous peoples and were even used as a center of healing for treating battle wounds.
However, upon being discovered by the Western world in the 19th century, the complex underwent light development, including the construction of a bathhouse, store, and bathing pool.
Easy Access to Radium Hot Springs
“The Inn was absolutely beautiful. The room was extremely comfortable and had everything we needed. The breakfast in the morning was delicious as well."
The hot springs operated briefly until the Canadian government bought the property and preceded to convert the area into the Kootenay National Park. The springs were eventually reopened to the public in 1925, boasting newly renovated complexes.
Modern visitors can still enjoy the soothing properties of the mineral water from the comforts of the site’s developed facilities. The property features a massive mineral pool that averages between 98 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year.
A more traditional swimming pool averaging between 80 and 84 degrees is also found within the complex, offering a cooling respite from the hot springs’ elevated temperatures.
4. Fairmont Hot Springs (107 Miles)
Also situated on the British Columbia side of the provincial border, the Fairmont Hot Springs is about two hours from Banff but is the closest hot spring resort to the community, offering a full-service stay that provides heaps of relaxation and opulence.
Nicknamed “the land of smoking waters,” the Fairmont Hot Springs is home to Canada’s largest natural mineral spring pools and features plenty of onsite amenities, including several lodging options, dining facilities, and even an extensive thermal spa complex.
The property features three large swimming pools with 1.2 million gallons of odorless mineral water flowing through daily, providing a continuously clean and refreshing soak.
Thermal Pools On-Site
“We loved that the room was comfortable, clean, and had everything we needed. The temperature of the pools was perfect for our family."
The property’s main thermal soaking pool features temperatures of 102 degrees Fahrenheit, while the swimming and diving pool is maintained at slightly more traditional temperatures of 89 and 86 degrees, respectively. Each of the pools features mineral concentrations renowned for their ability to promote healthy skin, eliminate toxins, and soothe symptoms of arthritis.
While the resort boasts one of the most extensively maintained thermal pools in the region, what truly sets the Fairmont Hot Springs apart is the presence of onsite amenities, including luxury lodgings, fine dining facilities, and a spa complex offering a diverse catalog of treatments.
5. Lussier Hot Springs (137 Miles)
Nestled within the idyllic natural environments of British Columbia’s Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park, Lussier Hot Springs provides a surreal soaking experience in a collection of four primitive hot springs near Banff.
Lined with a rock wall and boasting gravel bottoms, the Lussier Hot Springs’ thermal pools vary in temperature, ranging between 94 and 118 degrees Fahrenheit. If these elevated temperatures prove too warm, visitors are encouraged to dip into the adjacent river, which offers guests a cooling respite for a varied soaking experience.
Despite being a primitive hot spring, the Lussier Hot Springs is very popular. To protect the facility’s natural allure and beauty, the thermal pools have a strict no-littering policy and are checked regularly by park rangers.
While camping is not permitted in the area immediately surrounding the springs, visitors can spend the night only five minutes away at the Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park Alces Lake campground.
6. Ram Creek Hot Springs (152 Miles)
Also known as the Dewar Hot Springs, the Ram Creek Hot Springs are a collection of primitive thermal pools tucked deep into the isolated environments of the Canadian Wilderness.
Thanks to its remote nature and undeveloped facilities, the Ram Creek Hot Springs are much less trafficked than other springs in the area and offer a soaking experience free from the heavy crowding that can occur at the other facilities featured on this list.
Surrounded by lush forests and picturesque vistas, the Ram Creek Hot Springs consists of three small hillside thermal pools. The pools are clothing optional and are located in a natural preserve, so visitors should be wary of bears and other wildlife when visiting.