While the neighboring province of British Columbia gets all the hot springs hype, Alberta, has some of the best in Canada. From rustic, mountain getaways, to historic, luxurious lodgings, there’s a hot springs resort for everybody.
Home to five stunning national parks in the Canadian Rockies, including Banff, Jasper, Elk Island, Waterton, and Wood Buffalo, there are plenty of opportunities to convene with nature while on your thermal springs holiday. There are a handful of soaking choices nearby popular Alberta destinations like Banff and Calgary.
And if your travels take you west to BC, consider the top hot springs in British Columbia for your itinerary. Let’s take a look at some of the top thermal springs in AB, Canada, in no particular order:
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Kananaskis Nordic Spa
Set just outside of Calgary with mountains in every direction, Kananaskis Nordic Spa is designed for hot and cold activities followed by rest inside and outside of the 50,000 square-foot, cell phone-free facility.
Start with a hot pool, a barrel sauna, a banya sauna, the eucalyptus and alchemist steam cabin, or a Finnish sauna. Follow it up with a cold plunge in one of the chillier pools. Then, relax near a fire cauldron, in the exfoliation cabin, or in a hammock. Rinse and repeat.
Three to four circuits of this hydrotherapy, and you’ll work up an appetite. Two Trees Bistro let’s robed patrons choose from many health-forward dishes that have all been sourced in Canada. Wine, beer, herbal teas, and espresso drinks are an excellent way to end the day. A massage at the spa is a nice alternative before spending the night at the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge.
Hidden Ridge Resort
Hidden Ridge Resort is an excellent stop for anyone visiting Banff. After a day of exploring the surrounding mountains, guests can de-stress in either a hot outdoor pool, a wading pool, or a sauna. Those preferring to stay dry and hang out in the outdoor lounge or by one of the fire pits.
The cabin-like feel of the on-site condos with wood-burning fireplaces and full kitchens makes it feel especially cozy. The connected patios and balconies offer postcard-perfect views from the comfort of your own space, too. Laundry services are available for light packers and longer stays.
As a pet-friendly property, you’re welcome to bring your furry friends as well. Bus passes are complementary to overnight guests, so you can check out Banff and Lake Louise without having to drive. Bike rentals are also available if you’d rather pedal.
Banff Upper Hot Springs
At Banff Upper Hot Springs, just south of the town, a large outdoor spring-fed swimming pool awaits visitors. The water is kept toasty at 98-104℉ (37-40℃) and is highly accessible for all due to the many features installed.
A cafe invites diners to the upper level of the bathhouse to enjoy lunch, drinks, and ice cream with a view. If you or someone in your party leave something at home, the on-site gift shop sells practical things alongside souvenirs.
Those with extra energy can enjoy the eight-mile hike (13km) to reach the top of Sulphur Mountain, the peak the springs sits slightly below. There are breathtaking views of the town as a reward for the climb.
Mist Mountain Hot Springs
Adventurous spring-seekers will find Mist Mountain Hot Springs a good option high up in the mountains of Kananaskis Provincial Park. Two small hot pools are perched on the edge with stunning views of the valley on a clear day. You’ll have to limit your group due to the space only being available for a maximum of two people sitting cozy in each.
To reach the hot water, you’ll take a moderately challenging five-mile (8km) hike out and back with 1607 feet (490m) of elevation gain. It’s a beautiful route that starts out wooded and then opens up to expansive views as you get higher. Summer is the best time to visit, because parts of the road that provides easiest access to the trailhead is closed December to June.
While this can be a great experience, it’s worth noting that there are no private changing areas, and the area is open to the elements. If it rains, you and everything you brought with you will get wet. Also, be on the watch out for grizzly bears.
Manitou Springs Resort & Mineral Spa
Manitou Springs Resort & Mineral Spa resides on the shore of Little Manitou Lake, an incredibly salty lake known as the “Dead Sea of Canada.” This family-friendly resort offers multiple indoor, spring-fed pools for relaxing and enjoying a good float.
If you get a massage at the spa, you’ll even get a free swim. If that’s not your thing, there are a wide range of treatments, nail art, waxing, and other options to choose from. Basic rooms and suites in the hotel also come with complimentary swimming passes.
Hungry guests can check out either of the two on-site restaurants or the cafe. The latter counts decadent baked goods and ice cream among the things they serve. Outdoor seating is available for sunny days, and karaoke and other live entertainment can be found on the terrace patio. Not far from the springs, you’ll also find a golf course, a dance club, a park, mini-golf, a drive-in, art galleries, and more.
Miette Hot Springs
At the edge of Jasper National Park, Miette Hot Springs offers hot soaks on a first come, first served basis. With mineral water 98-104℉ (37-40℃) in four large outdoor swimming pools with 360-degree views of dense forest and snowy peaks, you’ll want to err on the side of being early.
There’s everything you need for a day of fun here: a vending machine with snacks, changing rooms with showers and lockers, and picnic tables near the Source of the Springs trailhead. A five-mile out-and-back on the latter will teach you about how hot springs are formed and give you great views of the park. After a 2297-foot (700m) elevation gain, it’s a welcome reward for your exertion.
Fairmont Banff Springs
Fairmont Banff Springs is a castle-like luxury resort with 839 guest rooms and suites, a mountainous backdrop and a 130-year legacy. As you might imagine, There are tons of amenities here: a golf course, a concierge, childcare, etc. Staff puts a lot of effort into cultural and recreational programming including things like discussions of art and history, nature walks, tours, bocce ball games, ice skating, virtual paint nights, trivia competitions, etc.
The 40,000 square-foot day spa offers an outdoor whirlpool, various treatments, massage, a terrace with views, steam rooms, saunas, plus a fireplace and quiet lounges. There’s even an indoor mineral pool with a waterfall and options for single gender or co-ed facilities. Book special experience packages that are designed with your interest in mind whether it’s the spa, a day on the slopes, or spending Christmas at the castle.
Not enough water options? The fitness and aquatic center have indoor and outdoor saltwater pools to enjoy as well as an indoor hot tub and wading pool. All make excellent bookends for a day on the nearby ski slopes. Nine restaurants and three bars are also good for relaxing with gourmet dining or afternoon tea, pub food or a high-end cocktail.
British Colombia is often a first stop for visitors looking to get outdoors, but some of the favorite Canadian landmarks are in Alberta. Don’t write off Montana’s neighbor to the north, and you’ll be rewarded with plenty of chances to explore the stunning natural hot springs you dream about during work.