When the outside temperature plummets well below zero, there is nothing more appealing than a dip in the 40°C waters of Banff Upper Hot Springs.
Originally used by First Nations people as their sacred place, Banff Upper Hot Springs were developed commercially in the 1880s and have been enticing 'bathers' ever since.
Steamy and welcoming, these natural mineral-rich springs are nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 1,585m, making them the highest hot springs in Canada.
A short walk up the road from the car park brings visitors to the bathhouse where you pay the entry fee and can hire a towel and swimsuit for a few dollars. There are separate male/female changing rooms with showers, restrooms, cubicles and CN$1 lockers where you can leave your clothes and bags. A covered walkway takes you to the poolside, minimising your exposure to the freezing cold.
When we visited, at about 4pm on Boxing Day, we had to queue for about five minutes and there were quite a lot of people in the pool but plenty of space for more. The maximum recommended time in water of such a high temperature is 10 minutes, however, so there is quite a rapid turnaround of visitors.
The waters are wonderfully relaxing and are enjoyed by adults and children of all ages, health permitting. An added bonus is the view of the surrounding mountains, visible through the steam.
Why? Wonderfully respite from the cold in warm mineral-rich waters
When:October 31st to December 24th, 2015 Sunday - Thursday: 10am to 10pm Friday - Saturday: 10am to 11pm December 25th, 2015 to January 2nd, 2016 (Holiday Hours) Daily 10am to 11pm January 3rd to May 16th, 2016 Sunday - Thursday: 10am to 10pm Fr