Skip to main content

March 6, 2024

Getting into Hot Water: Kootenay Hot Springs

Looking to add some serious pampering to your Kootenay Rockies road trip? Don’t miss out on the incredible experience of visiting one (or more!) of the Kootenay hot springs along your route! These hidden gems will complete your journey through the stunning southeast corner of British Columbia, Canada.

By divine providence, you round a bend in the highway and spot a sign. It’s directing you to warm waters bubbling up from the earth and held captive by pools, allowing locals and visitors to enjoy. This, my friend, is just one of the many Kootenay hot springs


Situated in the oldest surviving community on Kootenay Lake (48-km north of Nelson) and surrounded by views of both the lake and the Purcell Mountains, the history of these springs goes back hundreds of years. It includes visits from the Sinixt and Ktunaxa peoples, who gathered here to ease their muscles after hunting trips and battles.

Today, Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort offers you a four season escape.  The resort amenities include accommodation, Ktunaxa Grill and Spirit Water Spa. The hot springs waters average between 35-42 degrees Celsius year-round.  

Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort overlooking Kootenay Lake; photo by Kari Medig


Tucked within Albert Canyon between Glacier and Mount Revelstoke National Parks, Canyon Hot Springs has two natural mineral hot pools available for your use.  For a romantic stay, book a night or two in their Honeymoon Chalet, an exquisite log cabin complete with Jacuzzi Tub.  If you prefer more rustic accommodations, book one of their campsites and pitch your own tent.


Like having your soaking temps “just so”? With three pools, each held at a different temperature (39ºC, 32ºC, and 30ºC), it’s a safe bet that Fairmont Hot Springs has your comfort level.

The history of Fairmont Hot Springs traces itself back to early 20th century ranching days when John Hankey took over the property and offered both accommodation and access to the springs for two dollars a day.

Predecessors. A bathhouse, swimming pool, restaurant, bungalows, and various other improvements and expansions followed, turning the resort into what visitors find today: the largest natural hot springs in Canada and a mecca for those who believe in the health and wellness aspects of the naturally-heated waters.

Relaxing in Fairmont Hot Springs Resort hot pools; photo by Kari Medig


1890: the Indigenous people in this area of the Monashee Range help Captain Robert Sanderson locate the source of the hot springs. He purchases 162 hectares (400 acres) of surrounding land, built a hotel equipped with plunge pools for its guests, and opened their doors to visitors. And thus the legacy of Halcyon Hot Springs waters, and the ability to rejuvenate and restore health was born.

Halcyon customizes the temperatures of its terraced pools to suit different degrees of comfort. Depending on the pool, the warm waters move from 32-38-42ºC. The resort’s managers strive to suit even the discerning tastes of pint-sized bathers by tempting them with a spray park located on the lower level of the resort’s decks.

But it’s the water itself — or more specifically, what’s in it  — that gives credence to the years of claims that the springs have restorative virtues for visitors. More recently, studies show some proof that the name isn’t far off: minerals such as sodium, magnesium, calcium, strontium are found in the water. But it is especially the appearance of lithium that is said to aid in a variety of medical conditions including depression, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and even in helping to regenerate pathways in the brain.

A rejuvenating soak at Halcyon Hot Springs Resort; photo by Mitch Winton


“Explorers originally accessed the hot springs by foot or horseback, taking the 12-km journey from the town of Nakusp, winding their way up the mountain trail through old growth forests,” says a rep from the hot springs. That same trail exists to this day, now used by outdoor recreation enthusiasts year-round for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, Nordic skiing and snow-shoeing. 

And with a reward like hot springs at the end of a 12-km outing, who wouldn’t be up for some trail time? But the hot springs aren’t only accessible by trail these days; travellers can arrive by vehicle and stay in one of the chalets or, in summer, pitch your tent in the campground. With these and other upgrades, the hot springs have evolved into ‘the perfect blend of seclusion, comfort, and accessibility’.

Nakusp Hot Springs, is truly is a hidden gem along the Kootenay Hot Springs route.

Enjoy a soothing soak at Nakusp Hot Springs; photo by Mitch Winton


Located in the UNESCO Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site and open year-round, the spacious family-friendly facility welcomes visitors from around the world. 

Used by humans for centuries, this odourless hot spring is renowned for its rejuvenating mineral waters and dramatic setting in Sinclair Canyon. Two large outdoor pools are found here; one hot for soaking and one cooler pool for swimming.

And, staring up at two solid rock canyon walls while you’re hanging out in the 39ºC pool is pretty spectacular anytime of year!

At Radium Hot Springs rent their submersible wheelchair to access the hot springs; photo by Mitch Winon

**Note: Please purchase a Park Pass for Kootenay National Park to visit Radium Hot Springs. Purchase your pass at the Radium Hot Springs/Kootenay National Park Visitor Centre (7556 Main Street East, Radium Hot Springs).

Related Stories

Get Social and Share Your Adventure
With Us By Using @KOOTROCKS