Calgary, a city in southern Alberta, is one of Canada’s five largest metropolitans, and within easy driving distance to some of the best hot springs in the country, as well as Banff National Park. The 1.3 million residents that call this place home are privy to million-dollar views of the surrounding mountainous landscape.
As the gateway to Banff, Calgary is the perfect place to start a trip to the outdoor paradise of the Canadian Rockies. For a nature-lover and mountain sport enthusiast, you won’t run out of ways to enjoy yourself. Plus, there are plenty of Alberta hot springs that make for a wonderful weekend getaway.
If you’re planning a trip to this natural paradise, consider tacking on a visit to one of the following hot springs, listed nearest to furthest from Calgary:
Banff Upper Hot Springs – 83 miles (133km)
Banff Upper Hot Springs lies just over two miles from the town of Banff itself. It’s one of the most popular springs in the country and with good reason. Bathers can de-stress in a huge, balmy 98-104℉ (37-40℃) pool at 5,200 feet (1,585 meters) above sea level and enjoy the surrounding views from the highest operational hot springs in the country.
Kick back and take in the panorama of the Spray River Valley and Mount Rundle. Grab lunch from the cafe at the picnic area on the upper deck to eke out a few extra feet of elevation.
No detail is overlooked here. Swimsuits are available to rent or purchase in the gift shop, a place that offers both keepsakes and practical items. Some are a combination of both, like the 1920’s-style swimwear that acts as a throwback to the early days of operation. Submersible wheelchairs are also available for use in the fully accessible pool.
Radium Hot Springs – 162 miles (261 km)
Further west, in Kootenay National Park, you’ll find Radium Hot Springs. Guests can choose from two pools. One is filled with 98-104℉ (37-40℃) water and is the largest spring-fed option in Canada. It’s fitted with plenty of in-water seating for taking it easy.
The other, a “cool pool”, sits at 81-84℉ (27-29℃) and is a 25-meter swimming pool with a diving board and two slides for those who want to be more active. Swim lessons are offered in the cool pool by the Columbia Valley Swim Club. Everything is fully accessible here, too.
While there’s no cafe on the property, snacks and bottled non-alcoholic drinks are available, and there are plenty of options in the nearby town named after the springs. A few minutes by car, you’ll see restaurants, lodging, and the Sinclair Canyon and Old Coach trailheads. If you want to preempt or finish your soak with a hike, this is the place to do it.
Fairmont Hot Springs Resort – 185 miles (287 km)
Fairmont Hot Springs Resort is another of the largest hot springs in the country and is sandwiched between peaks at the north end of Lake Columbia. It offers a convenient base for whitewater rafting and river tubing, golfing, skiing, and more. As an added bonus, 1400 acres of the property are available for commercial development as well as homesites, so if you fall in love, you can build a home.
Overnight guests–or those with a day-pass–can choose between the soaking pool (102℉/39℃), the swimming pool (89℉/32℃) and the dive pool (86℉/30℃). The mineral-rich water in all three is odorless and perfect for gazing at picturesque views.
Spend the night in any number of different types of accommodation: lodge rooms, family villas, cottages, cabins, RV spaces, and tent camping. Seven different dining options from poolside snacking to upscale dinners cover guests’ gastronomic needs.
Guests already spoiled for choice have access to the full-service spa, which includes acupuncture and waxing in addition to the typical massages, facials, and body treatments.
Lussier Hot Springs – 214 miles (345 km)
Get deep in the mountains of Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park for a soak in Lussier Hot Springs. A trip to the hot water is perfect after a day of hiking or playing on the nearby lake. Relax surrounded by pristine nature.
Nestled into the banks of the rushing water of the Lussier River, it is perfectly set up for a hot-cold Nordic circuit. Go from one of the four, naturally-constructed pools that range from 94℉ to 118℉ (34-47℃) to the icy river to revitalize your senses.
There is a campground inside the park for spending a rustic night under the stars, or you can opt to head 20 minutes west to the small town of Canal Flats for lodging and dining options.
Ram Creek Hot Springs – 230 miles (370 km)
Ram Creek Hot Springs is another isolated soaking opportunity not too far from Lussier on the same road. Here, it’s more like a warm spring with the water temperature in the three small pools reaching between 88℉ and 92℉ (31-33℃).
Located in an undeveloped area off of a forestry logging road, it’s secluded and surrounded by nothing but pine trees and foothills. The last six miles (10km) are more akin to an ATV trail, so depending on how far you’re comfortable driving in, you could be hiking a ways.
From the trailhead, it’s a 6.9 mile (5.6 km) out-and-back hike that takes an average of three hours and ten minutes to complete in total and has a minimal incline.
While there are no amenities, there are plenty of other trails to explore in the area as well as cabins and campsites nearby. Just remember that you’re in a nature preserve, and keep an eye out for bears and other wildlife.
Are you looking for something a bit closer to the big city? If you want a day of relaxation closer to Calgary, try Kananaskis Nordic Spa an hour away. It may not be fed from a hot spring, but the benefits of a man-made hot-cold circuit can be equally beneficial.
Whether you’re planning on exploring the city or stopping in on the way to Banff National Park next door, Calgary is a wonderful place to spend some time. And use it as a jumping-off point for some world-class hot springs.