Visiting the Banff Hot Springs

The Banff Hot Springs is one of those must-do things to do in Banff National Park. They are the perfect thing for any visitor to do when you want a chill day or after a long hike or day out skiing in Banff. Besides soaking in the hot springs, there’s a lot of interesting history here too!

Here’s all you need to know about visiting the Banff hot springs!


What are the Banff Hot Springs?


Back in 1883, railway workers discovered natural hot springs at the base of Sulphur Mountain. It was well known to the Indigenous community, who often went. Hot water and steam were flowing out of a cave on the lower slopes of Sulfur.

They found this hot spring was one of nine sulfurous hot springs on the mountain (hence the name). Soon people from all over were flocking to Banff to soak and be cured in these natural waters, which were said to have healing properties.

These mineral-rich springs then became known as the Banff Hot Springs. Today the Banff Upper Hot Springs are still open to the public.

They are located at 1,585 meters of elevation, making them the highest hot spring in Canada.


How Hot do the Banff Hot Springs Get?

The Banff Upper Hot Springs water is geothermal, coming from the earth’s crust 3 km down.

The hot spring water flows from the earth’s crust through a big crack of rock called the Sulphur Mountain Thrust Fault. As the water flows down the mountain, it picks up more heat and minerals.

In the spring, the water flows at over 900 liters per minute (highest in the year). In the winter, the water flow is drastically decreased.

The natural temperature of the water depends on the season. In the winter, you can expect a temperature of 45-50°C; also, the water flow is lower during this time, and municipal water heated is used to top up the water. Typically water temperatures are kept between 37-40°C.


Where are the Banff Hot Springs?

Banff-Gondola

At the base of Sulphur Mountain, which is located at the end of Mountain Ave. Near the Banff Gondola and parking area for Sulphur mountain.


How to Get to the Banff Hot Springs?

There is really limited parking at the Banff Hor Springs, so to ensure you get to enjoy the hot springs to the fullest it may be worth it to take public transport to the Banff Hot Springs during the peak season.

If you have a bike in Banff it’s a short bike up to the Upper Hot Springs, or you can catch the bus. The Banff Upper Hot Springs can be reached by ROAM bus Route 1.


When is the Best Time to Visit the Banff Hot Springs?


I personally love visiting the Banff Hot Springs in the winter, when the snow is falling ever so nicely all around. It’s a feeling of peace one doesn’t get often. I would also suggest visiting the Banff Hot Springs in either the early morning or the evening.

It gets crowded come midday hours. The Banff Hot Springs are one of the most visited attractions in Banff. It’s estimated that over 300,000 people visit every year.


What Facilities are at the Banff Hot Springs?


The Banff Hot Springs has a cafe on the upper level and is where you grab a meal or coffee. There are also changing facilities with washrooms, showers, and one-time use lockers.

Everyone must shower with soap before entering the pool. You can rent swimsuits and towels as well. There is also a gift shop at the hot springs as well.


What are the Minerals Found in the Banff Hot Springs?



Sulphate, Calcium, Bicarbonate, Magnesium, Sodium.


How Much are the Banff Hot Springs?


Single Entry

  • Adult – $8.48
  • Youth – $7.46
  • Child (Under 3) – Free
  • Senior – $7.46

Rentals

  • Swimsuits – $1.90
  • Towel – $1.90
  • Locker – $1.00

Things to Know About Visiting the Banff Hot Springs?

  • Entry to the Banff Hot Springs are first come/first serve. You cannot make reservations for the hot springs.
  • The Banff Hot Springs are closed Wednesdays and Thursdays, but open Friday to Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Banff Hot Springs asks that you limit your stay to under 60 minutes.
  • There are ligeguards on duty.
  • Rental towels may be purchased. Alternatveily you can rent a towel or swimsuit if need be.
About Natasha

Natasha lives in Canmore, Alberta. After traveling across six continents and 80 countries with Cameron, she settled down in the stunning Canadian Rockies. She loves to help others travel and make their planning easier. She is a winter enthusiast and loves to snowboard, ice skate, and snowshoe and enjoy all the fantastic summer opportunities in Banff like hiking, scrambling, and biking. You can find her in the mountains or enjoying a coffee by the river. Learn more on the about us page!

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3 thoughts on “Visiting the Banff Hot Springs”

  1. Very helpful coming to Banff June 22 for only about 36 hours lake Louise tour 4 hours is already pre planned but I will be definitely try to fit in gondola and hot springs after reading your article
    Thank you ..as coming from Scotland trying to squish in as much as possible

    Reply
  2. Hi Natasha, your information has been very helpful regarding planning our upcoming stay in Banff at the end of May. We are staying at the Rimrock Hotel for 3 nights so will be taking the gondola up Sulphur Mountain and visiting the hot springs and you answered some of my queries. Is it worth taking the chairlift from Banff and lunching at the Cliffhouse Bistro, or should we eat at the restaurant at the top of Sulphur Mountain? We’ve booked afternoon tea at Lake Louise, is it worth the money, as we can still cancel. Your opinion would be gratefully received.
    Thanks again for your help, Ann

    Reply
    • Hi Ann, I would say if you are already doing the Banff Gondola up Sulphur and have lunch at the Sky Bistro you should skip the Cliffhouse Bistro and chairlift. Although the views are different, the experience is similar so perhaps plan another activity.

      Personally, (as I don’t care much for afternoon tea+small plates) I do not think that afternoon tea is worth the price tag. As you can enjoy the views of Lake Louise for free. However, everyone’s opinion is different and some really enjoy afternoon tea. If you are going to do it, it’s hard to find a more beautiful place. Another option is to hike to the Lake Agnes Teahouse and have tea and a scone there https://thebanffblog.com/lake-agnes-teahouse-hike/

      Reply

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