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Cave and Basin National Historic Site

311 Cave Avenue | Banff, Banff National Park, Alberta | Official website
Cave and Basin National Historic Site Photo info
Jairo Leiva/Getty Images
  • Type: Natural Wonders, Sightseeing
  • Time to Spend: 1 to 2 hours
Overall Rating: 3.5 (3.5)
Value: 3.5 (3.5)
Facilities: 3.0 (3.0)
Atmosphere: 4.0 (4.0)
About these ratings

This is a popular attraction among nature lovers and history buffs alike. Experts refer to this site as the birthplace of Banff National Park and the natural hot springs have lured travelers in search of solace for years. Although the original springs are no longer open to the public (the Banff Upper Hot Springs are the new hot spot for comfort-seekers), the Cave and Basin National Historic Site does feature interactive displays educating visitors on local wildlife and the history behind the park's establishment.

Travelers who stopped here while in Banff said this a must-visit, not only for its historical significance but also for the stunning views. Though some visitors complain of the sulfur smell from the hot springs, they said the informative displays are worth the unpleasant stench. If you have time, you should plan to tag along on the 45-minute, guided Discovery Tour, which is included in the cost of admission. The tour explains how railway workers first discovered the thermal pools and their uses.

Sitting a mile west of Banff Town, the Cave and Basin National Historic Site operates different hours depending on the season (a detailed schedule is available on the Parks Canada website). Admission costs CA$3.90 per adult (about $3) and CA$1.90 for youths (about $1.50). Along with the site's interactive exhibits, you'll also find a gift shop, a cafe, parking, restrooms, picnic tables and more than 4 miles of walking trails. 

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