Canada is an acclaimed recreational activity capital of the world, for its immeasurable natural attractions across the country. But when it comes to hot springs, the western territories of Canada steal the spotlight with a vast assemblage of enchanting thermal and mineral springs. Extensive collections of these steaming geothermal springs gush out of the mountain slopes of Alberta and British Columbia Provinces.
While hiking and snow sports mark the main outdoor activities in the country, the hot springs offer a remedy for sore feet muscles and a delightful relief from the frozen weather. The exceptional relaxing experience at the hot pools is complemented by the picturesque nature of the Canadian landscape.
Here is a list of our 15 favorite hot springs in Canada.
1. Banff Upper Hot Springs
A few kilometers drive from Calgary to west, ascends to the rising slopes of Canadian Rocky Ranges, and the hot spring of Banff Upper National Park. The large steaming pools of Banff Upper are renowned for the rich mineral content and consequently relaxant properties. Overlooking the rugged valley of Mount Rundle, visitors can submerge in the hot spring pool, while savoring the astonishing vista of bold summits and the alpine valley.
Since the 1883 and discovery of the geothermal waters, the Sulphur Mountain springs have remained a popular destination with an adjacent café and basic bathing facilities.
2. Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park
At the northern British Columbia and flanked by Yukon territory, Liard River Hot Springs marks the largest thermal pool in Canada. Located amid the encircling forest of Muskwa-Kechika, these pools are built on a natural hot water river. The pools are well-equipped to accommodate the visitors through summer and winter.
While relaxing in an outdoor thermal bath may be considered a winter activity, Liard thermal pools offer a unique winter experience with a thick blanket of snow around the pools and the bewitching spectacle of the northern lights.
3. Fairmont Hot Springs
Established as Canada’s largest Hot Springs, Fairmont thermal pools offer hot and relaxing pools to diving and freshwater-dip pools. These popular springs have their own airport, posh tourist amenities-such as fine restaurants and golf courses-, and a neighboring small rural commune.
Apart from relaxing properties, the curative waters are rich in minerals and mixtures of detoxifying elements including Radium and magnesium sulfate. The crystalline pools hold a century-old legacy of tourism, for its remarkable surrounding nature and healing waters.
4. Rabbitkettle Hot Springs
The trail to the South Nahanni River and Rabbitkettle Hot Springs runs through the wilderness of Nahanni National Park. The geothermal waters surge through the earth’s crust, forming an astonishing mound of Travertine deposits, creating escalates of crystal clear mineral pools- much resembling those of Cappadocia. In essence, the indigenous Dene tribes titled the springs as “kettle”, due to its structure formation, and regarded the mesmerizing pools as a sacred place of worship.
The temperature in these springs is rather tepid, not exceeding over 20 degrees; although spectators are often lured to these waterfalls for its breathtaking scenery and nearby attractions such as the fossil embedded bedrocks dating back to the Ordovician geological era-consequent with the formation of the Grand Canyon of Arizona.
The very thin silt layers of limestone and siliciclastic bedrocks call for extra attention while accommodating the visitors; in order to conserve the fragile landscape, accessing these phenomenon pools is supervised by Nahanni national park’s staff and available only through guided tours.
5. Kraus Hot Springs
Kraus Hot Springs can be reached by rafting down the river Nahanni or trekking through the dense alpines of Yellowknife territory. Tucked between the southern Yukon summits and verdant slopes, these sulfur hot springs offer nothing but uncontaminated wilderness and an unwinding experience. Small circular containers, made of rocks and pebbles, gather the scalding water in these man-made pools, offering a thermal bath amid the lush nature.
Recognized as one of the popular destinations in Northwest territory, these springs are one of the few locations that make bathing in nature possible at no cost. Many visitors camp at the spring’s adjacent banks, or after a delightful break, continue to ride on the torrents of Nahanni.
6. Hot Springs Cove
From whale watching and grizzly bear spotting to relaxing at the hot natural pools and savoring the rare view of steaming waterfalls sweeping into the ocean- Hot Springs Cove in British Columbia stands as a true wonder. On the Sydney Inlet of Vancouver Island’s West Coast, the collection of seven springs can be reached by a water taxi, boat, and plane from Tofino.
However, the marine vistas of the misty waterfalls are the most fabled of all connective routes. It is described as an experience within itself while encountering Nordic sea creatures such as seals, humpback and killer whales, and eagles. After landing, display panels guide the way amid a verdant forest, to the flowing hot waterfalls, sided with small facilities such as locker rooms and a snack bar.
7. Lussier Hot Springs
Lussier Hot Springs upsurge on the slopes of Kootenay Ranges, within the boundaries of Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park. The astounding scenery and exceptional thermal pools have turned Lussier springs into a popular destination among hikers and backpackers.
A short hike from Lussier river descends to several pools, accompanied by a guarded campground, compost bathrooms, and basic camping facilities. The lower pools offer a 42-degree steaming pool, while the upper pool is filled with the bracing waters of the creed, for a refreshing dip.
8. Takhini Hot Springs
The municipality of Whitehorse is a home to the delightful host springs of Takhini, embraced by Yukon’s Boreal Forest. In addition to the otherworldly wealth of nature, the springs are characterized as “odor-free” thermal springs, rich in calcium, magnesium and iron particles. The springs initially were found by first nation tribes and held as a hot spring village for centuries.
In the 20th century, the regional growth transformed the village into a locally run business, with over eighty campgrounds and two major hot pools. Takhini Hot Springs attracts thousands of visitors every year to the charming town of Whitehorse and the remarkable nature around Mile’s Canyon.
9. Miette Hot Springs
Overlooking the dramatic spectacles of Fiddle River Valley, Miette Hot Springs highlights the hottest thermal pools in the country at 54 degrees. Although the temperatures are usually kept about 40 degrees by adding a cold water inlet. Located in the northern regions of Jasper National Park, the thermal paths can be reached directly by the road, providing on-site parking and caravan campsites.
There are public hours provided for benefiting from the pool’s therapeutic and relaxant properties. For a private session, prior booking can be made for an hour before or after the operative hours for a deluxe experience of the scenic pools.
10. Temple Garden Mineral Spa
In addition to a grand hotel, Temple Garden offers therapeutic thermal treatments and mineral pools. The formation of the springs as a result of an oil venture in the 20th century, and the accidental discovery of an ancient ocean deposit beneath the Spa and earth crust. The hotel itself marks one of the posh tourist destinations with a state of the art architecture and interior design.
International grade restaurant, exceptional service, and encircling natural surroundings enhance the visitor’s experience at the curated thermal bath, here at Canada’s largest therapeutic thermal spa.
11. Harrison Hot Springs
Harrison hot springs sit on the banks of Harrison Lake, enveloped by the magnificent Fraser Valley. Noted as the thermal springs with the highest mineral content across the country, Harrison springs are classified as two springs; Potash and Sulphur- with high-temperature waters.
The highly mineralized thermal springs are linked to Lillooet River, along with several other hot spring outlets including Whistler’s hot springs; the entire chain of these springs is established as the most sulphuric thermal waters in Canada and the world.
The small community of Harrison Hot Springs strongly evolved around the thermal pool tourism, complemented with souvenir shops, authentic restaurants and characteristic hotels.
12. Keyhole Hot Springs
From the chain series of sulfur hot springs of Lillooet River, Keyhole hot springs bubble into the container pools at the proximity of the enthralling town of Whistler. Mount Meager is a young and active volcano; such reactions have given rise to the temperature of water banks of the mountain, resulting in steaming waters at Keyhole and Meager hot springs.
The pools of ski resort town perch at the edge of the river, overlooking the astonishing pebble creek, surrounding alpine slopes, and the thriving wildlife. The park is a national conservatory of the grizzly bear populations in Canada.
Through the warmer months, it is easy to come by playful grizzly cobs and curious adult bears around the park’s numerous campgrounds.
13. Ainsworth Hot Springs
Ranked as the second highest thermal bath resort in Canada, Ainsworth hot springs are located within the municipality of the historic hamlet, on the cragged slopes of Kootenay summits. The community has a population of only 20 people, yet it is crowded with seasonal tourists to the relaxing spas and natural thermal pools of Ainsworth; it is said that these pools are the most regarded commercial hot springs in BC.
Besides the boiling springs of mount Selkirk, the abandoned mines and ancient parts of the village, along with Cody Caves with interesting limestone formations, present other attractions of Ainsworth Hot Springs.
14. Prophet River Hot Springs
On the valley of Muskwa Ranges and shores of the Prophet River, Prophet River Hot Springs encompass a rugged landscape, complemented with the crisp air of round-year glaciers. Travertine tufa deposits and thermal water erosion have created a clamber of cerulean pools- setting forth a breathtaking backdrop.
Many Nordic animal species call the Prophet River Hot springs Provincial Park home, such as Elks, Stone’s Sheep, Caribou, and Canadian Moose. Occasionally, visitors spot the biodiverse wildlife of the park, while relaxing inside the hot pools. This outstanding destination can be reached by cycling and hiking routes, horseback rides, and helicopter tours; for a panoramic visit to ancient hot springs of the Prophet River.
15. Ahousaht Hot Springs
A two-hour boat ride on the Pacific waters from Tofino reaches to the historic Island of Flores, within the inhabited territory of the indigenous Nuu-chah-nulth community. The tepid waters of the spring gush out of the bedrock at 22 degrees and are regarded as therapeutics thermal baths.
Sitting on the scenic coast of Matilda Inlet, these warm springs are connected by Walk the Wild Side Trail to interesting heritage sites and natural landscapes, including an ancient telegraph pole and a historic residential structure.
Camping in the region is unfacilitated, though rewarding. However, it is recommended to take utmost care, in particular, while eating, due to the native wolf packs within the boundaries of Gibson Marine Provincial Park.
A short list of hot springs does not cover a fraction of the incredible thermal pools, springs and spas in Canada. For instance, the fabled springs of the charming village of Radium located at eastern Kootenay Ranges, or Canyon hot springs at Revelstoke river banks and even private and posh thermal spa of Frizzell Hot Springs. Frizzell springs are perhaps located in the most demanding position and are noted as the most difficult to access.