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Banff Upper Hot Springs: A First Time Visitor's Guide

12:00 PM
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Today I'm sharing a First Time Visitor's Guide to Banff Upper Hot Springs. We are all stuck inside doing the social distancing thing, and dreaming of our next getaway.  I'm fueling your wanderlust, and hoping we get the green light to travel again soon.

 I was born a few hours east of Banff, in Medicine Hat Alberta. I love the opportunity to write about my amazing and scenic country; Canada. 


The lower slopes of the springs at Sulphur Mountain is where 3 railway workers stumbled across the springs in 1883. A total of nine sulphurous hot springs were found. Not long after, a business operation was started and people began flocking to the hot springs. The soothing and healing properties of the mineral rich springs, are still attracting visitors and locals today.

The temperature of the water outlet fluctuates with the seasons. In the winter the springs can be up to 116 degrees. Surprisingly, the water is cooler in the spring at 81 degrees. During the colder months, the natural volume of the springs is lower.  To compensate municipal water is tapped in to top off the pool.

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Why Visit the Hot Springs?

Visiting the hot springs as a first time visitor; is definitely a magical experience. As I mentioned earliereast of Banff and never visited until a few years ago. I can't believe I waited so long!  Now every time we drive up to Calgary, this stop is a must.

If you get the chance to visit Banff National Park, do check out the 104 degree, soothing pool. The rejuvenating soak will have you on cloud nine. It won't take long to drift off into total relaxation.  The icing on the cake; the alpine views of the Canadian Rockies. It doesn't get any better than that!  Here you will find some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.

The best part for a first time visitor to Banff; the entrance price will only set you back 8 dollars.  The suggested time to stay is 1-2 hours.  If you forget your swimsuit or towels, no worries- you can rent both.
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When to Go

The best time to visit Banff  Upper Hot Springs is on weekday mornings. It's open all year around. I would suggest visiting in June, July or August.  These are the warmest months at the park.  If you want to capture clear views, I wouldn't advise going in Spring. The snow is still melting and it is foggy and damp.

We arrived about 9 a.m on a Friday morning. It wasn't crowded and there lots of room in the pool.  The temperature at the park was perfect. Of course, it got cooler the higher we drove up the mountain.

Even though I'm not a fan of cold weather; I'd love to visit the hot springs in the winter. Imagine soaking in the toasty water, with the snow-capped Rocky Mountains in the background.

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On the drive to Banff Upper Hot Springs we saw the big horned boys! I couldn't believe they were having breakfast along side the car. If  It was tempting to reach out and touch one but no way would I do that. I want to keep all five of my fingers!

The morning moose munch was gumming up the works and stalling traffic up the mountain.  It was worth the wait for sure. I've never seen moose this close. You never know the wild creatures you will run onto in the park. Be sure to get the scoop on this at the visitor center.

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Non-Soaking Attractions

Next to the hot pool, is the Upper Hot Springs Bathhouse.  Inside there are exhibits explaining the history and state of the springs today.  Spend some time here, it's great information for a first time visitor to Banff Upper Hot Springs.  A poolside restaurant, a gift shop and changing rooms are available for the public.

Hiking and walking trails abound.  Picnic sites are also available.  If you have a furry friend, leave them in the car. Pets are not permitted at the Hot Springs. If you don't arrive early in the morning, public transportation will be your friend. The parking lot fills ups fast.

On our way to the springs we saw horse back riders.  Banff offers the best in horse riding adventures. If I get brave enough to ride a horse, I'd love to explore the park this way. Horses kind of scare me, they are so huge and powerful.  If you decide to ride off into the wild blue yonder, please take a ride for me too! 

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I hope you can visit Banff Upper Hot Springs someday.  If you are in the Seattle area, it's about a 12 hour drive, or one hour flight. Calgary is the closest airport, if you'd rather wing your way there!

Have you been to Banff yet?

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Hello beauties, I'm Valerie! I reside near Seattle WA, and am a proud Canadian from Vancouver B.C. On this site are guides for travel in the U.S., Canada and Europe. I hope to inspire Women 40+ live their best life: by seeking adventure in the city, at a beach or at a mountain escape. Subscribe for destination tips and style guides for the trip.


  1. This looks surreal. I will be visiting Canada soon, and Banff is definitely on my list. Saving this post for later. Can't wait to get here :)
    Thanks for sharing ..

  2. We did this on our very first visit to the Rockies and I absolutely loved it! It was such a great way to wind down after a long day of activities!

  3. I want to go to Banff so badly! I'll definitely include a hot springs soak after a bunch of hiking when I do go.

  4. Banff is definitely on my list. So much wildlife and hiking. What a dream!

  5. Wow, banff hot springs sound perfect for a relaxing soak. I love that there's hiking trails nearby too, there's nothing better than a hot soak after an amazing hike (I imagine, anyway!)

    Gemma | mum off the map

  6. Such beautiful pictures and I'm sure the contrast in the winter makes it just that much more breathtaking. As an American, Canada has always been on my list because its so close and I will definitely be adding Banff to my itinerary.

  7. I have been wanting to go to Banff ever since I saw amazing pictures from a colleague. Although I love walking, I am not really into hiking. But I can definitely start if the reward is something beautiful like this one.

  8. Oooh I have a question for you if you've been a couple of times. I LOVE natural hot springs (I gut eczema, and they reeeally help my skin) but, at the same time I often can't cope with public swimming pools as the chlorine they put in the water makes my ski really hurt.

    The last couple of times we were in Banff, we didn't go to the hot spring because it looks quite pool-like, and I was worried it would be full of chlorine. Is it? Or do you think I should go there next time we go back to Banff?

    1. HI is more like a pool although it is fed mostly from the Hot Springs...they do top it off with muncipal city water...I am guessing yes it does have Chlorine, but cant say for sure. Id call them if you want to go again. I hope you can make it work!

  9. I haven't been to Banff yet. It looks like an epic place to soak away all your worries in that hot pool. So cheap at only $8 entry


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