I have fallen head over heels, maple leaf over moose in love with Canada, that is no secret. So this winter I ventured for my second trip to Calgary to visit my wonderful friends Sarah, Brigitte and Justin who are always the best hosts and indulge my tourist desires. This winter I hired a car (a whole adventure in itself) and Sarah and I drove from Calgary to Banff for the day. It’s around a 90-minute drive from Calgary, and even I will attest that it’s quite a nice drive with the most stunning views of the Rockies ahead of you most of the way. You also get a great glimpse at The Three Sisters peaks on your way. Stock up on some Tim Horton’s before you go, and enjoy. Parking in Banff is relatively easy as long as you’re not aiming for the central street in town, and of course be aware that in the winter, snow will cover most road markings so be sensible and read signs!
Banff is nestled inside the famous Rocky Mountains, within Banff National Park (obviously). There’s a lot to do in the main town – museums, horse and carriage rides, snowboarding or skiing, the gondola up Sulphur Mountain and then of course, making the most of the natural geothermal activity of the area, Banff Upper Hot Springs.
At $8.30 (Canadian) per adult, it’s very budget friendly and you can while away a fair few hours enjoying the hot water, the view and sipping a cold drink poolside, or should I say, springside.
We visited in brisk January, when the air temperature was roughly -10 degrees, and the water temperature is kept between 37 and 40 degrees meaning plumes of steam rise gently from the springs all day, with honestly one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen behind them. That is the thing about the Rocky Mountains, I come from Southern England, which of course has beautiful spots but there is nothing quite like the seemingly endless majesty of the Rocky Mountains to gaze out at. Their height, size, history and snow capped tops all make you feel very small, in a very good way.
Anyway, back to the Hot Springs. It is recommended you take breaks from the water ever 20-minutes or so, to cool off, although obviously do this carefully in the winter as you don’t want to suddenly find yourself literally freezing! The views are gorgeous and there’s a little seat around the edge of the pool, perfect for perching on and enjoying some peace and quiet or having a gossip with friends. It’s such a beautiful spot and I would wholly recommend a day here, and I imagine if you’re in Banff on a ski/snowboarding holiday then an afternoon in the Hot Springs might be a very welcome break for your muscles!
The Canadian Rockies Hot Springs
Banff Upper Hot Springs
1 Mountain Avenue
Open from 9.00am