I was recommended to go to the Banff Hot Springs when I was there. It is a nice relaxing thing to do after a long hike or even after skiing at the local mountains. They have swimsuits and towels for rent if you aren't prepared. The view of the mountains from the springs is breathtakingly beautiful. When we went, there were not too many people, but some regulars told me that the springs can get quite crowded on the weekends. It's great with chilly weather because staying in the water too long can make you dizzy, yet you can sit out of the water and cool down and get back in after. They have a shallow pool for young children. The facilities are clean and well maintained. Lockers are available.
Well one thing ...i forget what my bathing suit then my mum had to go buy me another one and wasnt not pleased about that at all,until i discorved i had my bathing suit on the entire time underneath my clothes! It was nice going up there it was when i usd to live in alberta I reember for a trip we all went up with carmen and anka to see banff it was AWESOME!
The Canadian Pacific Railway company began the massive task of constructing a track that spanned the entire country in the 1880's. The company envisioned the potential tourism of the Canadian west and saw the need to build accomodations for those that would ride the rails. At strategic stops along the way, the company constructed magnificent luxury hotels to house their guests, the Banff Springs of course being one of them. These hotels are as much a part of Canadian history as hockey and thankfully they have been preserved very well. The hotel was immaculate and definately worth a look!
Construction began on The Banff Springs Hotel in 1888 and was completed in 1928. It catered to the wealthier tourists coming into Banff, and still, unfortunately does with rooms topping $500 CDN during high season. As the hotel is historic, some of the rooms are also extremely small, being around 200 square feet.
However, having a look around costs nothing, and it gives you a chance to experience the grandeur of the hotel, plus explore the maze of common rooms and hallways decorated with furniture from a by-gone era. Visitors are free to wander the grounds and hotel. One time, I discovered a tiny library hidden under a set of stairs, filled with dust-covered books from the early 1900's.
An affordable way ( and I use the term loosely) to experience the hotel is to take part in their famous Sunday brunch, which is approximately $37.00 - $45.00CDN per person, depending if it is during a holiday or not. There is also an excellent Saturday lunch buffet which is probably a better deal at $28.00 per adult. It is exactly the same as the Sunday Brunch minus the breakfast items, which are the run-of-the-mill eggs benny, hash browns, bacon, etc.
Here, you can see the cave and hot springs that started all this crazy business. At the front of the cave, there is a small gift shop and the entrance to the cave. I am happy to report that the exhibits inside has been virtually unchanged for years -- there are interpretive displays, a 30-minute film you can watch, open mineral pools for viewing, plus a couple of mannequins posed in the sulphurous pool inside the cave, representing the railway workers who discovered the cave.
When I was a small child, there was a public swimming pool, and you could even rent swimming costume replicas from the 1920's. Then, the area was closed for many years. Parks Canada does deserve kudos for reopening and restoring the entrance way and pool to the original 1914 architecture, but i'm puzzled why they even bothered to do that much work on the pool, as it's no longer open to the public.
Much more interesting is taking a stroll around the area, as there are interpretive trails explaining the unique ecosystem that surrounds the area, due to the warm water. The main interpretive trail is the Marsh Loop, where you can see tropical fish someone released years ago surviving in the waters. There are also viewing platforms out towards Vermillion Lakes where you can see wildlife such as moose.
Keep your eyes peeled for pine martens (belonging to the weasel family) running around the area; observe their cuteness from a distance as they seem tame but can take your hand off without blinking.
They're extremely relaxing!
You can't stay in too long or you start to get dizzy, but you CAN'T miss it!
It's even more of an experience in the winter, when it's cold outside and you're bathing in hot water.... with snow slowly falling down....
Even if you can't afford to stay there, make sure you make it up to the Banff Springs Hotel. The views from the hotel are spectacular!! If you go at the right time, chances are you'll see some elk walking around the golf greens below the hotel.
A monumental part of Canada's heritage, the Banff Hot Springs were directly responsible for the creation of the first National Park in Canada. In 1885, there was a dispute over who actually owned the hot springs, and the decision to create a National Park ultimately suggested that all Canadians, present and future, had ownership in this Canadian treasure.
First developed in 1901, the springs were laid out in their present form in 1932 and completely renovated in 1996.
At 38 degrees this outdoor pool provides a steamy temptation. It's great if you're not a good swimmer, or a non-swimmer, or if you have arthritis, or any aches and pains from hiking and shopping, to just sit around the edge of the pool and soak up the hot, healing minerals from the natural spring waters.
Our family used to come here at least twice a year (from Calgary where we lived) so my mom could have her replenishing soaks. My brother and I would just goof off like most of the kids and make fun of the "old people" (anyone over 30 was old in our eyes!) sitting around like lumps. Our most enjoyable times were the days it would snow!! Nothing beats sitting comfortably in this big hot jacuzzi watching gigantic snowflakes drifting softly down to the water to melt instantly!
It was Heaven!!!
Especially Japanese tour buses. I don't even begin to know exactly why, but Banff is very popular with Japanese tourists. I think it has something to do with a Japanese soap opera that is set in Banff.
Nonetheless, this viewpoint is relatively new -- set up in the past couple of years on a road that crosses the face Tunnel Mountain and heads back into Banff on the other side of the Bow River from Sulphur Mountain (and the Banff Springs).
There is something grand about the Banff Springs Hotel.
The hotel was first built on 1888 shortly after the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed. Today it can accomodate 1700 guests in its 770 rooms. it has became one of the major attractions near Banff townsite.
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