When I was a kid, growing up in Kelowna and Northern BC, my parents took our family on a lot of road trips. We went all over the place in the car camping, hoteling, etc. back in the days before iPads, Nintendo DS and seatback dvd players made road trips easier for us kids in the backseat.
Strangely though, we never visited any of the province’s hot springs. Because of this fact, I jumped at the chance to visit Fairmont Hot Springs, BC in the Columbia Valley which is located on the eastern edge of the province (Google Map), just south of Banff. About an hours drive from Cranbrook or 3.5 hours from Calgary.
For this trip, I flew into Calgary and drove to Fairmont Hot Springs.
I want to clarify one thing that was a little confusing to me at first: Fairmont Hot Springs is the name of the BC town, that has a hot springs resort that is named after the town, and not part of a hotel chain of the same name.
The main attraction of the area is, of course, the hot springs with the main ones being located at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort:
The resort features Canada’s largest natural mineral hot pools, with over 1.5 million gallons of naturally heated water flowing daily through a (39C/102F degree) soaking pool, a large swimming pool (31C/88F) and a diving pool (30C/86F) with high & low diving boards that are open year round.
Nearby is 45 holes of walkable golf courses. Two championship 18-hole courses (Riverside and Mountainside) and a 9-hole, Par 3 course at Creekside. There is also a family friendly ski area with 14 downhill runs and snowshoe tours. There are also a wide variety of restaurants around the resort and nearby to suite any taste and budget.
The area is considered to be an all season destination and it’s easy to see why no matter what your favorite outdoor activities are. The resort features year round “BC Rockies Adventures” where you can go on guided hikes, mountain bike tours, kayaking and lots of fun kids activities at the Base Camp. I’ll cover my kayaking adventure in an upcoming post.
During the four days of my stay, on a daily basis we came across numerous bears, deers, and other wildlife. I’m used to seeing wildlife on a regular basis in BC but it seemed to be much more frequent than usual.
I stayed at the Fairmont Ridge Residences which is just a short walk down the road from the resort. If you decide you’d like to spend more time in Fairmont, the Residences have a number of ways to stay including rentals, full and fractional purchase options of these stunning homes:
A surprisingly well kept secret is the location of the ‘hidden waterfall’ hot spring which is just a 5 minute trail walk from the residences:
As you can see, it’s a natural wonder that I still can’t believe is located in British Columbia and not some other exotic location. The waterfall is fed from the same source as the resort’s hot springs and was quite warm when I went for a dip.
I could have easily stayed in there all day…it must be magical in the winter time.
It was a little surreal to stick my hand into the stream just down from the waterfall and instead of the usual glacier chill I’ve come to expect in BC, to have the water be quite warm.
I really enjoyed my time in Fairmont Hot Springs. It truly is a unique corner of the province that I look forward to visiting again.