With long, winding highways running along deep river valleys, over long mountain passes and through picturesque communities, a road trip through the Kootenay Rockies fulfills that deep desire for the freedom of the open road.
There are few better sensations than cruising the highways, fresh mountain air streaming through the open windows with your family and friends along for the ride. Perhaps the only thing that comes close to that feeling is relaxing in the warm waters of mineral hot springs.
Why not combine both of these experiences with a road trip through six of the most iconic hot springs in the Kootenay Rockies. Take the circle tour of our highways and hit up a new hot springs resort each evening.
Start your trip heading north from Nelson along the shore of Kootenay Lake, and you’ll soon be at your destination of Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort. Take a plunge in their horseshoe-shaped cave, lined with stalactites and stalagmites, then relax in the pool and take in the views of Kootenay Lake. When you’re not enjoying the pools, take a caving tour of the nearby Cody Caves. Luxury resort accommodations and fine dining fare in the Ktunaxa Grill complete the experience. New for 2021 is their roof-top patio.
(The pools are now open to the public by “reservation only“, Wed to Sun (10am to 5:30pm). Note, the resort is closed on Mondays & Tuesdays. Recommendation: Book your overnight stay in advance, too.)
Cross the Selkirk Mountains via Highway 31A and head north to Nakusp Hot Springs. Their two pools are fed by natural hot springs found deep in the forest surrounding the grounds. Stay in their campground or private cedar chalets located mere steps from the hot spring pools.
For the ultimate luxury experience, stop in at the Halycon Hot Springs Resort between Nakusp and Revelstoke. Located right on the shores of Arrow Lake, Halycon Hot Springs Resort has four pools for your healing pleasure. Jump into their cold pool when you’ve had enough of the heat. Visit The Spa at Halcyon to get a soothing massage from one of their expert practitioners.
(Recommendation: Book your overnight stay in advance.)
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.
After the long drive over Rogers Pass and down the Columbia River Valley past Golden, stop in at the Radium Hot Springs just inside the boundaries of Kootenay National Park. Used for centuries by the local First Nations Peoples, the pools are situated in the stunning Sinclair Canyon.
Finish off your road trip in fashion at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. Their natural mineral soaking pool is kept at an average of 39C, with their swimming pool and dive pool slightly cooler to the touch. Accommodation offerings include rooms in the resort, family villas, and an RV & Campground. Between soaks in the springs, get in a round of golf or hike the local trails. The pools will be waiting for you when you return!
(Recommendation: Book your overnight stay in advance.)
To assist you with other wellness getaways & retreats that are available to you in the region – check out our community partners: Arrow Lakes/Slocan Valley, Castlegar, Cranbrook, Columbia Valley, Creston Valley, Elkford, Fernie, Golden, Invermere/Panorama, Kimberley, Nakusp, Nelson Kootenay Lake, Radium Hot Springs, Revelstoke, Rossland, Sparwood and Trail.
~ Take extra time to research and plan your trip in advance. Many of our tourism businesses and services have adopted new COVID-19 protocols and changes to their schedules or policies to ensure your safety. You’ll want to become familiar with them ahead of time.
~ If you normally travel with extended family or with several friends, consider travelling in a smaller group. Travelling with fewer people makes it easier for you to practise physical distancing in public, and may have less of an impact on the destination.
~ Consider a slower travel pace to help curb the spread. Instead of checking in and out of multiple destinations during one trip, choose one or two destinations and one/two accommodation properties for your entire trip (and explore all the things to do & see nearby).
~ Big Adventures in our Mountains
~ Craving the Refreshing Flavours of the Kootenays
~ Connect with the Indigenous Culture in the Kootenay Rockies
~ Family-Friendly Backcountry Adventures in the Kootenays
~ Getting into Hot Water: Kootenay Hot Springs
~ Indigenous Connections to our Kootenay Hot Springs
~ Laid-back Kootenays: Wellness Getaways
~ Multi-Generational Family Hiking in the Kootenays
~ Outdoor Adventures: Unique to the Kootenays
~ Savouring the Kootenay Rockies
~ Sleeping under our Starry Skies
~ Tips: How to be a Safe & Responsible Traveller
~ Unique Stays on a Kootenay Road Trip
~ Where to see Wildlife in the Kootenay Rockies
Top/cover photo by Mitch Winton, driving in between Halcyon & Nakusp Hot Springs.
Words by Mark Locki. Mark is a photographer and writer based in Kimberley, BC. An avid traveller throughout the Kootenays and abroad, he enjoys exploring the natural world, camera in hand, seeking out compelling stories. He’s often found deep in the backcountry, running, climbing or on skis, challenging himself to discover new scenes and viewpoints.