Soak up the unique hot springs experience with a day trip to the Banff Upper Hot Springs. This bucket list experience is just a short drive from Calgary and safe for everyone in the family. From what to bring and the best time to visit to local tips and tricks, learn everything you need to know for your first trip to the Banff Upper Hot Springs.
Banff Upper Hot Springs Day Trip
Banff Upper Hot Springs Day Trip
What are the hot springs?
Naturally occurring hot springs are soaking pools with a unique blend of minerals and gases that create temperatures between 37 °C and 40 °C. Hot springs are all different and the Banff Hot Springs has its own unique blend of minerals, gases, and temperature that makes it a one of a kind experience. The Banff Upper Hot Springs contains five main minerals: sulfate, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, and sodium.
The Banff Upper Hot Springs boasts incredible views of Rundle Mountain and is the only hot springs pool in Banff National Park. Sitting at 1,585 meters of elevation, the Banff Upper Hot Springs is the highest operating hot spring in Canada and a great way to relax after a day in the mountains.
How do I get there?
The Banff Upper Hot Springs is 129 kilometres west of Calgary and just 4 kilometres south of the town of Banff. Travelling to the Banff Upper Hot Springs by car from downtown Calgary will take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes along the Trans-Canada Highway to the town of Banff. Once you are in the town of Banff, follow Banff Avenue over the Bow River and follow the signs to the Hot Springs for 3.6 kilometres.
Limited parking is available at Banff Upper Hot Springs so consider accessing the site by taking Route 1 of the Banff ROAM bus service up Sulphur Mountain or by taxi.
Address: 1 Mountain Ave, Banff AB
How much does it cost?
Admission varies both my age and season. Typically, adult admission is $16.50, seniors & youth $14.25, and children under the age of 3 are free. Family passes (up to four family members, max 2 adults/seniors) are available for $53.00. Group rates and annual passes are also available if you want to enjoy the hot springs experience with friends and family or throughout the year. Most admission includes a locker token so you can safely store your personal belongings while you enjoy a soak in the hot spring.
What can I do there?
The Banff Upper Hot Springs has a comfortable collection of facilities and amenities to enjoy during your visit that make for a great day trip. Relaxing in the Banff Upper Hot Springs is a unique experience everyone can enjoy. Soaking in the mineral waters is a great way to relax after a hike and enjoy a heritage experience in the Canadian Rockies. Most visitors spend a couple of hours at the Banff Upper Hot Springs.
Make sure to visit the gift shop for a souvenir of your time in the Canadian Rockies. You can even purchase heritage swimsuits in the style of bathers who enjoyed the hot springs in the 1920s. Need a snack break? The Banff Upper Hot Springs Café is located on the upper level and has a wide range of snacks, lunch items, and ice cream to cool down after your soak. Or pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it on the deck overlooking the hot springs with a great view of Rundle Mountain.
Pair your soak with a visit to the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, the founding site of Canada’s national parks system, or the Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station National Historic Site. Both National Historic Sites are just a short drive from the Banff Upper Hot Springs.
What should I bring?
Modest swimwear is required in order to enter the hot springs. Long-sleeved swim pants, shirts, shorts, and traditional clothing like saris and hijabs are also permitted in the pool. Freshly laundered rental swimsuits are available for a small fee at the Banff Upper Hot Springs if you forget yours at home. Make sure you bring a towel to dry off after your soak. Towels are also available on site for rent.
Admission includes a locker token so you can safely store your personal belongings while you enjoy a soak in the hot spring. Store your shoes, clothes, winter coats, bags and other belongings in the locker. Unbreakable water containers, cameras, sunglasses, and towels are permitted on the deck of the hot spring.
Are the hot springs safe and sanitary?
The Banff Upper Hot Springs is a safe and sanitary experience for all ages. Lifeguards are on site at all times and water temperature and mineral levels are monitored daily for the safety of all visitors. All guests to the Banff Upper Hot Springs must shower with soap before entering the pool area to maintain the water quality for everyone.
Relaxing in the hot springs is a unique experience but it is recommended to take a cool down break every 20 minutes and drink water to stay hydrated during your visit. Pregnant women and individuals with heart conditions, diabetes, or other health conditions should consult their doctor before soaking in the hot springs.
Can kids visit the hot springs?
The hot springs are safe for children, babies, and toddlers. Children 3 and under are required to wear swim diapers while in the pools, and can be purchased at the Banff Upper Hot Springs. Youth life jackets are available for rental for young swimmers who need additional safety.
What time of year should I go?
Open year round, any season is a great time to visit the Banff Upper Hot Springs. Hours of operation vary by season so be sure to check ahead before taking a road trip for a soak in the hot springs. Banff Upper Hot Springs is also open on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, and Family Day.
The Banff Upper Hot Springs is at its highest volume in the spring, flowing at over 900 litres per minute. Late winter finds the lowest volume, at around 500 litres per minute, but can have temperatures of up to 47°C or 116°F.
What tips and tricks should I know?
Visit the hot springs early in the morning for a soak before it gets busy later in the day. That way you can beat the crowds and have a relaxing visit.
There is no maximum time limit for your visit, within business hours, with your admission to the Banff Upper Hot Springs.
Remember to take a cool down break every 20 minutes and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated during your visit.
Locker rentals are included with your admission to the Banff Upper Hot Springs and are one-time use only. Make sure all your belongings are stowed away before locking it up and heading to the pool area.