7 Kootenay hot springs in 5 days: a dreamy Canadian road trip

Looking for adventure in southeastern British Columbia? Look no further than this road trip to the Kootenay hot springs, a cluster of hot springs that you can easily put together into a low key road trip!

These hot springs and this Kootenay hot springs road trip itinerary focus mostly on developed hot springs. Why? Because I’ve found that more undeveloped hot springs can be hard to find, hard to access and may have inconsistent water and conditions and I like to count on a good soak! I have certainly enjoyed my share of less developed ones, but for this itinerary we’re sticking with mostly developed ones for consistency and predictability of having an amazing outdoor soak with an incredible view.

At the time of this writing, all of these Kootenay hot springs require proof of vaccination (except for Lussier). In addition they all require swimsuits (including Lussier). A couple of the hot springs on this list (Fairmont and Halcyon) are only allowing resort guests to access the pools due to the pandemic. I’ll keep this updated as that is likely to change in the future.

This area of southeastern British Columbia is the land of the Ktunaxa, Sinixt, Stk’emlupsemc Te Secwepemc and Syilx First Nations People.

A google map screenshot of seven kootenay hot springs you can visit on a short road trip

Where are Kootenay Hot Springs?

The Kootenay hot springs route also known as the BC Hot Springs Circle Route, is in Southeastern British Columbia, just west of Banff National Park.

When I talk about Kootenay hot springs, I’m not talking about one place but rather referring to this whole wonderful cluster of hot springs in the area.

When is the best time for the Kootenay Hot Springs loop road trip?

The fantastic thing about this road trip through the various Kootenay hot springs is that you can do it any time of year! Whether it’s part of a ski vacation or a summer camping trip, this fits right in. Hot springs are a great rainy day activity any time of year.

I particularly love hot springs in the winter although that is likely to slow down the drive due to snow and ice on the roads. Some roads may be closed at times in the winter after storms.

Canyon Hot Springs is the only one on this list that is not open year round. It is only open from May-September.

Radium Hot Springs

A hot springs pool with a few people in it. There is a stone wall around the pool and a forest above. There is also a building next to it
The hot pool at Radium Hot Springs

Radium Hot Springs is probably my favorite on this list. The hot springs itself is wonderful (and really big) but it’s also in a great location with one of my favorite campgrounds in British Columbia walking distance away.

Radium can be slightly confusing because Radium Hot Springs is a hot spring in Kootenay National Park with the town of Radium Hot Springs just outside the park. This can be a bit confusing when you’re googling information about it! The hot spring is managed by Parks Canada, along with the Redstreak Campground. If you’re staying in a hotel or going out to get food or groceries, you’ll be in the town. The town is just a short distance from the actual hot spring.

Radium hot springs has towels and swimsuits for rent too.

  • Website: https://www.hotsprings.ca/radium
  • Nearest town: Radium Hot Springs
  • Water temperature: there are two pools, the hot spring pool which is generally 37-40 degrees celsius (98-104 F) and the cool pool (more like a regular swimming pool) at 27-29 degrees celsius (80-84 F)
  • Hours: 11:30am -9pm (open an hour earlier on weekends)
  • Cost: $8 for adults, $6.75 for youth (3-17), $7 for seniors (65+) and there are group and family rates
  • Where to stay nearby: Redstreak Campground in Kootenay National Park or the town of Radium Hot Springs

Related: Why you should visit Kootenay National Park in Canada

Fairmont Hot Springs

Fairmont Hot Springs is a resort that has a large outdoor hot spring pool surrounded by stunning scenery! At the time of this writing (February 2022) Fairmont is only open to resort guests. Normally it is also open to the public. I’ll update this article when that eventually changes. For now, you’ll need to stay at the resort to visit these hot springs.

  • Website: https://www.fairmonthotsprings.com/hot-springs/
  • Nearest town: Radium Hot Springs
  • Water temperature: Warmer soaking pool is around 39 degrees celsius (102 F) and the cooler pool is 32 degrees celsius (89 F)
  • Hours: currently only for hotel guests
  • Cost: complimentary for hotel guests, not open to public currently
  • Where to stay nearby: There are several campgrounds nearby and lodging is available at the resort

Lussier Hot Springs

rocks hold back a section of river for hot springs soaking at Lussier hot springs, one of the kootenay hot springs. the river is going through a forest on a cloudy day
Lussier Hot Springs on a cloudy fall day

I absolutely love Lussier Hot Springs! It’s less developed but there are a few helpful things like a pit toilet and the trailhead and a good trail and parking area. Dogs and alcohol are not allowed at Lussier. Despite the gravel road to get here and the remote location, Lussier gets quite busy, especially on weekends! Try a weekday or a morning visit for less people.

The hot springs come out into the river and people have built a rock barrier to create pools at the side of the river. There’s a well maintained path that goes the short distance from the parking area and pit toilet down to the river.

  • Website: https://bcparks.ca/explore/parkpgs/whtswan/
  • Nearest town: Radium Hot Springs or Cranbrook
  • Water temperature: varies with the seasons – can be cooler in spring with snow melt. Different areas of the water have different temperatures on the same day. Move around till you find what’s comfortable!
  • Hours: None
  • Cost: Free
  • Where to stay nearby: You can camp in Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park or find lodging in Radium Hot Springs, Cranbrook or Fairmont Hot Springs.

Related: Lussier Hot Springs Soaking Guide

Ainsworth Hot Springs

Two people in a hot spring pool on a winter day. The pool has snow around it and there is a building with windows next to the pool, looking out at a view of a lake and the Kootenay mountains
Photo credit: Destination BC/Kari Medig

Ainsworth is another one of my personal favorites! Ainsworth is First Nations owned (Ktunaxa) and has a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and the lake.

The best thing about Ainsworth though is the super cool cave that’s part of the hot springs. If you don’t like caves it might not be for you but it is a pretty unique and interesting feature of this hot spring! Don’t worry though, there is plenty of room and pool area outside the cave too.

They also have a wonderful restaurant on site.

  • Website: https://www.ainsworthhotsprings.com/
  • Nearest town: Kaslo or Nelson
  • Water temperature: The cave water gets as hot as 42 degrees celsius (108 F!) since it’s closest to the hot springs source but the main pool is kept quite a bit cooler at 35 degrees celsius (96 F)
  • Hours: Wednesday through Sunday 10am- – 5:30pm (advance reservation only)
  • Cost: $15 for adults, $10 children (3-17), family rates are also available
  • Where to stay nearby: You can stay at Ainsworth Hot Springs, or in Kaslo or Nelson. There are several campgrounds nearby along the lake.

Nakusp Hot Springs

People enjoying a hot spring on a sunny winter day. The hot spring pool is outside and surrounded by forest
Photo credit: Destination BC/Kari Medig

Another stunning setting along Arrow Lake, Nakusp is another wonderful and relaxing soak. They are well equiped with a pool lift for visitors with disabilities. This pool has the hottest water (in winter) of any on this list and a roasty 41 degrees celsius (107 F!).

They have towel and swimsuit rentals.

  • Website: https://www.nakusphotsprings.com/
  • Nearest town: Nakusp
  • Water temperature: the hot pool is 41 degrees celsius (107 F) in winter and 38 degrees celsius (103 F) in summer. The warm pool is 38 degrees celsius (100 F) in winter and 36 degrees celsius (97 F) in summer.
  • Hours: 9:30am-9:30pm
  • Cost: $11 for adults, $10 for youth (age 6-17), seniors (60+), students and guests with disabilities, they also have family rates
  • Where to stay nearby: There are chalets and a campground at the hot springs, or you can find lodging in nearby Nakusp

Halcyon Hot Springs

Two people sitting next to a hot springs pool at sunset. There are trees and mountains surrounding the outdoor pool
Photo credit: Destination BC/Kari Medig

Halcyon Hot Springs is another gem with gorgeous views of mountains and Arrow Lake in an incredibly relaxing atmosphere. At the time of this writing, the hot springs is only open to guests at the hotel. I will update this article when that changes!

One unique thing about this hot spring is that it has a jetted sections which are really relaxing. They also have a spa for even more relaxation!

  • Website: https://halcyon-hotsprings.com/
  • Nearest town: Revelstoke or Nakusp
  • Water temperature: hot (40 degrees celsius or 104 F) and warm pools (37 degrees celsius or 99 F) and a cold plunge pool are open all year. There is a seasonal splash pool for kids, there is also a larger swimming pool open in summer only.
  • Hours: 9am – 8pm plus 8pm-9pm for adults only
  • Cost: complimentary for hotel guests, currently not open for day use, will update when this changes
  • Where to stay nearby: there are not a lot of options in this delightfully remote area, I recommend staying at Halycon Hot Springs.

Canyon Hot Springs

Canyon Hot Springs is part of a resort that is only open seasonally so the hot spring is only open from May through September.

This fun and family friendly hot spring pool is located between Glacier National Park (Canada’s) and Mt Revelstoke National Park in a gorgeous mountain setting with cabins, chalets and camping on the property.

  • Website: https://www.canyonhotsprings.com/
  • Nearest town: Revelstoke
  • Water temperature: Hot pool is 40 degrees celsius (104 F), cooler swimming pool is 32 degrees celsius (86 F)
  • Hours: Daily May through September 9am – 7pm (open till 8pm in July and August)
  • Cost: $14.50 for adults, $12.50 for juniors (14 and under) and seniors (60 and older), they have group and family rates available
  • Where to stay nearby: this is a really fun place to camp or stay in a rustic cabin or beautiful chalet. You an also stay in nearby Revelstoke.

5 Day Kootenay Hot Springs road trip itinerary

If you love hot springs, I highly recommend a loop drive through this beautiful area of British Columbia and visiting all these Kootenay hot springs! You can do it any time of year and pair it with camping, hiking or canoeing in summer or a ski trip in winter.

This also makes a wonderful add on loop to a drive from Vancouver to Banff or when visiting Kootenay National Park.

The distances are short, so you can definitely do this in less than 5 days or do a bit of backtracking if you don’t want to move your lodging or camp every night. If you have more time, you can easily spend it exploring the area since there are so many outdoor adventures available year round.

Day 1 – Exploring Kootenay National Park and soaking in Radium Hot Springs

Blue water of the Kootenay River rushes by gravel bars and trees in a valley between high mountains in Kootenay National Park
Stunning views of mountains and rivers await in Kootenay National Park
  • Distance: Varies based on where you start
  • Kootenay Hot Springs to soak in today: Radium Hot Springs, located in Kootenay National Park
  • Other highlights: Kootenay National Park is beautiful! There are several beautiful hikes and I consider Marble Canyon to be a mandatory stop, along with various picture stops driving through the park
  • Where to stay tonight: Camp at Redstreak Campground near Radium Hot Springs inside the park, or find lodging in the nearby town of Radium Hot Springs

Day 2 – Radium Hot Springs to Cranbrook

  • Distance: 179 km (111 miles) – including the gravel road up to Lussier Hot Springs from the main highway
  • Kootenay hot springs to soak in today: Fairmont Hot Springs and Lussier Hot Springs
  • Other highlights: You’ll be driving along the landscape that makes up the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River, which winds it’s way through BC, Washington and Oregon out to the Pacific. The scenery is stunning. Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park also makes for a good area to explore, even beyond the hot springs
  • Where to stay tonight: Camp at Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park or find lodging in Cranbrook

Day 3 – Cranbrook to Ainsworth Hot Springs

A ferry crossing Kootenay lake between forested mountains on a partly cloudy day
The ferry crossing Kootenay Lake
Photo Credit: Destination BC/Dave Heath
  • Distance: 210 km (130 miles)
  • Kootenay Hot Springs to soak in today: Ainsworth Hot Springs
  • Other highlights: Beautiful mountains and Kootenay Lake, riding the Kootenay ferry, dinner at Ainsworth Hot Springs
  • Where to stay tonight: I recommend staying at Ainsworth Hot Springs and enjoying dinner there. There are also campgrounds nearby along the lake.

Day 4 – Ainsworth Hot Springs to Halcyon Hot Springs

A historic steamship that is now a museum at a pier along a mountain lake on a cloudy day
  • Distance: 148 km (92 miles)
  • Kootenay Hot Springs to soak in today: Nakusp and Halcyon
  • Other highlights: SS Moyie National Historic Site in Kaslo – learn all about and go inside a historic steamer, lake and mountain views
  • Where to stay tonight: I recommend staying at Halcyon Hot Springs and enjoy some time soaking in the pools and a spa treatment.

Day 5 – Halcyon Hot Springs to Canyon Hot Springs

Canyon Hot Springs is only open May through September so you could also spend more time at one of the other hot springs instead of adding this part of the itinerary.

  • Distance: 100 km (62 miles)
  • Kootenay Hot Springs to soak in today: Another soak in Halcyon before leaving, Canyon Hot Springs
  • Other highlights: the town of Revelstoke, Mt Revelstoke National Park
  • Where to stay tonight: Stay at one of the cabins, chalets or in the campground at Canyon Hot Springs.

Final Thoughts

Southeastern British Columbia has a wealth of beautiful and relaxing hot springs in stunning settings along with other fun outdoor adventures! I highly recommend this road trip for anyone who loves hot springs, the outdoors or exploring.

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Jennie Flaming
Hi! I'm Jennie. I’m a fourth generation Seattleite. I lived in Alaska for many years and I still spend lots of time there every year visiting friends and working as a tour director. I've been a guide for many years in both Alaska and Washington, am a field editor for the Milepost and host the Alaska Uncovered Podcast about Alaska Travel as well as the Washington State Hiking Podcast. I love to share the places I love with visitors, newcomers and my fellow locals. I’m so glad to have you here!