Banff Upper Hot Springs#9 in Best Things To Do in Banff
These springs, which were first discovered by Canada's First Nations people prior to the 1880s, were regarded as sacred waters that could cure illness and maintain health. Now, the springs are a popular tourist attraction thanks to their serene atmosphere and stunning alpine views. The facility, which is akin to Budapest's thermal baths, features all of the modern amenities you would expect from a public swimming pool (such as railings, ladders, lockers, changing areas, a cafe and a gift shop), but the water is kept at 98 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit and is infused with minerals like sulfate, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium and sodium.
Recent visitors described the springs as "relaxing" and a great thing to do at the end of the day. Along with the mountain vistas, travelers also appreciated how clean the facility is kept, though, they do warn that it can get crowded, especially during ski season. Another gripe with reviewers: at times, the natural flow from the springs is insufficient, so the pool is supplemented with municipal water. That means if you came to take advantage of the springs' "sacred" properties, you may be out of luck.
Accessible via Roam bus, the Banff Upper Hot Springs sit at the top of Mountain Avenue, about 2 ½ miles south of Banff Town. It welcomes visitors from 10 a.m. to 10 or 11 p.m. daily; hours vary seasonally. You'll find a parking lot, a gift shop, an ATM, picnic spots and walking trails on-site. Admission costs CA$8.30 (about $6.60) for adults ages 18 to 64, CA$6.30 (around $5) for youths between 3 and 17; children younger than 3 enter for free. A family rate of CA$24.50 (approximately $19) for two adults and two children is also available. Swimsuits and towels are available to rent. Use of a locker is included for adults and families. For more information, visit the hot springs' website.
More Best Things To Do in Banff
#1 Banff Sunshine Village
Located miles 11 miles west of Banff Town, Banff Sunshine Village offers 12 lifts, more than 3,300 skiable acres and a peak elevation of 7,200 feet. And thanks to its location straddling the Continental Divide, Sunshine sees more snow than its neighbors, meaning the ski season here is long – typically from early November to late May. The powdery terrain beckons skiers of all levels (another point of praise from recent travelers), and the Sunshine Mountain Lodge offers a great setting for dinner and drinks after a day on the slopes.
If you're not in Banff for ski season, you should still make a point to visit Sunshine, according to reviewers. From mid-June to early autumn, the Sunshine Meadows are open for hiking and provide visitors spectacular alpine views of the surrounding peaks, including Mount Assiniboine. Hiking is free and so is the shuttle from town, which runs from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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