Hot Springs Loop | British Columbia, Canada
The Hot Springs Loop is a Circle Route beginning near the city of Cranbrook on Highway 95, travelling north on Hwy 93/95 to the town of Golden. From Golden to Revelstoke, you will be travelling west on the TransCanada Hwy #1. Once at the city of Revelstoke, you will turn south on Hwy 23. At the village of Nakusp, continue southeast on Hwy 6 to New Denver, then head east on Hwy 31A to Kaslo. South from Kaslo on Hwy 31 will bring you to Ainsworth Hot Springs. Once you've taken the scenic & free Kootenay Lake Ferry from Balfour to Kootenay Bay, Hwy 3A will take you back to Creston and eventually Cranbrook again.
Points of Interest and Highlights along the Drive
Let’s begin this tour in the south, near the city of Cranbrook travelling north on Hwy 95A to Kimberley, once a thriving mining town, now a four season alpine city.
(Cranbrook to Kimberley: 28 km/17 mi) (Kimberley to Canal Flats: 70 km/44 mi) (Kimberley to Fairmont Hot Springs: 96 km/60 mi)
Continue north on Hwy 93/95 towards Fairmont Hot Springs. Along the way, you may like to leave the highway behind for a visit to the Lussier Hot Springs at Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park. The highway turnoff is near Canal Flats and this drive is 18 km (11 mi) on gravel road. These popular pools are easily accessed down a wooden stairway from the road; there are several pools among the boulders which average 44°C (111°F). The Whiteswan Lake Park is a wonderful recreational area with campgrounds and two great fishing lakes.
Once back on the highway again, the historic Fairmont Hot Springs Resort is a quick drive further north - (24 km/15 mi). The resort as it exists today was founded in 1965 and offers three hot pools. Mineral waters average 30 to 39°C (86-102°F). Resort amenities also include accommodation, dining, golf courses, spa services, hiking and on-site guided tours such as kayaking, snowshoeing and kid’s programs.
Another great vacation destination is the quaint town of Invermere and Lake Windermere. (Fairmont to Invermere: 18 km/11 mi) . Nearby Panorama Mountain Village, a four season resort offers many outdoor pursuits and the Panorama Springs pools, hot tubs and water slide complex, exclusive to overnighting guests. (Invermere to Panorama Mountain Village: 18 km/11 mi).
Radium Hot Springs natural mineral pool is set amidst the spectacular rock walls of Sinclair Canyon in Kootenay National Park. The dramatic scenery and soothing water combine to rejuvenate. The odourless hot pool is open year-round at 38-43°C (100-109°F) and the swimming pool is 27°C (81°F). The Pleiades Day Spa, snack bar and gift shop are also on-site. The village of Radium Hot Springs offers complete amenities for the visitor including dining, shopping, golfing and many accommodation properties. (Invermere to Radium Hot Springs: 13 km/8 mi).
Continue north on Highway 95 to Golden. (Radium Hot Springs to Golden: 106 km/66 mi). The TransCanada Hwy #1 and Rogers Pass will take you through magnificent Glacier National Park and to Canyon Hot Springs. (Golden to Canyon Hot Springs: 116 km/72 mi). This resort, open May to September, offers natural mineral hot pools - a 15,000 gallon hot pool (41°C/106°F) and a 60,000 gallon swimming pool (31°C/88°F), a campground, rv park and wonderful cabin accommodation. Set in the Columbia Mountains, its location also offers many hiking trails including Giant Cedars and Skunk Cabbage Trail in Mount Revelstoke National Park.
Once you arrive at the city of Revelstoke, head south on Highway #23 towards the Upper Arrow Lakes Ferry for a swift and scenic crossing to Galena Bay and soon thereafter, Halcyon Hot Springs.
(Canyon Hot Springs to Revelstoke: 32 km/20 mi) (Revelstoke to Ferry Crossing: 56 km/31 mi) (Ferry Crossing time: 20 minutes) (Ferry Crossing to Halcyon Hot Springs: 20 km/12 mi)
Surrounded by the spectacular Monashee mountain range and the crystal blue lake, the resort’s four mineral-rich natural hot springs pools await, each at a different temperature. Revitalize in the full-service spa or enjoy fresh and delicious selections from the Kingfisher’s culinary team while taking in the alpine scenery. Open year-round, this is a place of wellness and recreation with a wide variety of adventure activities and accommodation options from comfortable quaint cabins to luxurious mountain chalets.
Continuing alongside the beautiful Arrow Lakes to the village of Nakusp is a pleasure. (Halcyon Hot Springs to the village of Nakusp: 25 km/16 mi) Nakusp offers a lovely waterfront walkway displaying several gardens – one of them being a beautiful Japanese Garden. The Nakusp Hot Springs naturally heated mineral pools are situated in a beautiful mountain setting, with creeks rushing by and trees to shade your eyes. The small pool averages 41°C (106°F) and the large 37°C (99°F). Cedar chalets and a shaded campground are located on-site. There’s also a variety of lodging available nearby and downtown.(Nakusp Hot Springs is located 15 km/9 mi off highway from the village.)
If you are up for an adventure, the Nakusp area also offers some back country pools: Halfway River Hot Springs. Access to these natural hot springs can be a challenge; they are found off a steep trail which begins off the Halfway River Road. Check in at the Visitor Centre for details.
Once you’re ready to proceed, travel south on Hwy #6 to New Denver (Nakusp to New Denver: 46 km/28 mi) and then take Hwy 31A past the ghost town of Sandon to the pretty village of Kaslo. New Denver and Silverton offer artisan shops, walking trails and the Nikkei Internment Centre. Sandon and Kaslo offer excellent historical attractions such as Slocan Mercantile Block and the SS Moyie. (New Denver to Silverton: 5 km/3 mi) (New Denver to Kaslo: 46 km/28 mi) (Kaslo to Ainsworth Hot Springs: 20 km/13 mi)
Ainsworth Hot Springs is a short drive south on Hwy #31 from Kaslo. This resort offers casual dining and modern, comfortable rooms overlooking beautiful Kootenay Lake. These unique odourless hot springs have a horseshoe shaped cave, which is lined with stalagmites and stalactites. Explore the cave pool (43°C/109°F) or relax in the main pool, averaging 35°C (95°F) and gaze at the magnificent Purcell Mountain view. For the brave, there’s also a stream-fed cold plunge which changes temperatures with the seasons.
At Balfour, 14 km (9 mi) south of Ainsworth Hot Springs, take the free Kootenay Lake Ferry to Crawford Bay.
(Kootenay Lake Ferry Crossing time: 35 minutes) (Ferry Landing to Creston: 78 km/48 mi)
Travelling along Hwy #3A and the east shore of Kootenay Lake provides opportunities to explore many artisan shops before you enter the colourful world of orchards and gardens at Creston - a wonderful way to wrap up the Hot Springs tour. It’s a quick one hour drive from Creston back to Cranbrook, the business centre for the area.
Hot springs occur naturally in the Kootenay Rockies and the region boasts six hot springs resorts – Ainsworth, Canyon, Fairmont, Halcyon, Nakusp and Radium Hot Springs - each located in the midst of beautiful mountainous scenery. If you prefer a wilderness setting, the region also includes a number of back country pools, such as Lussier Hot Springs. Enjoy the calm and rejuvenating waters.
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