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From mountains and glaciers to alpine lakes and jaw-dropping canyons, there’s a ton of natural beauty to explore in the stunning province of Alberta in Western Canada. The only problem? All of that hiking, climbing, and kayaking can leave you with some seriously sore muscles.
The good news is that Alberta is also home to some beautiful hot springs where you can kick back, relax, and recover from all of your outdoor adventures. While it’s true that there are many more hot springs in British Columbia than in Alberta, that doesn’t mean that the ones in this province should be overlooked. In fact, we’ve found some true gems that you won’t want to miss!
We’ve compiled this guide to the 5 best hot springs in Alberta (or right near the BC border) so that you can find the perfect place to enjoy all of the holistic health benefits they offer.
Best Hot Springs in Alberta
1. Banff Upper Hot Springs
- Location: In Banff National Park, about a 10-minute drive from Banff town and walking distance to the Banff Gondola
- Wild or paid: Paid. Entry fees are $16.50 CAD for adults, $14.25 CAD for seniors and youths, or $53 CAD for a family pass (2 adults and 2 children).
- Where to visit from: Banff
Banff Upper Hot Springs is probably the most famous place for an outdoor soak in Alberta. The springs were originally used by local Indigenous people for their health benefits and were later stumbled upon by Canadian Pacific Railway workers in 1883. The springs quickly became commercialized and have remained one of the best places to visit in Banff ever since, in large part because visitors can enjoy awesome views of Mt. Rundle while taking a dip in the warm, mineral-rich water.
The water temperature at the Banff Upper Hot Springs hovers between 37-40°C (99-105°F), so you feel just like you’re in a nice, warm bath. Locker tokens are included with your admission fee, and you can rent towels or swimsuits for $2 CAD a piece. There are also changing rooms, a gift shop, a picnic area, and a café, so you could easily spend half a day here!
The closest hotel to the springs is the Rimrock Resort, a 4-star property that also has its own spa and hot pools. We think it’s a fantastic place to stay, although it’s not necessary to spend the night here in order to visit Banff Upper Hot Springs because it’s just a quick drive to other great hotels in downtown Banff.
It only takes about 10 minutes to drive from Banff to the hot springs, or you can take Route 1 on the Roam bus from downtown to the Upper Hot Springs. The journey takes 5-15 minutes, depending on which stop you board at, and costs $2 CAD each way for adults, or $1 CAD for seniors and youths.
The springs are open from 10 am until 10 pm daily, including on public holidays such as Christmas and Easter. We think that it’s really nice that they’re open so late because you can head there for a relaxing soak after a full day of hiking in Banff. We’ve found it’s way less busy in the evenings and the later you go, the fewer people there are! With that being said, it’s nice to go during the daytime, too, so that you can appreciate the gorgeous alpine views.
You can’t book tickets in advance, but we’ve never had a problem getting in. The busiest time is late afternoon, when people head for a soak after a day of hiking or skiing, so do bear this in mind if you’re visiting at a busy time of year, like during Christmas in Banff or the peak summer months.
Related Read: For an exciting day on the water before you visit the hot springs, we love these whitewater rafting tours near Banff!
2. Kananaskis Nordic Spa
- Location: Inside Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, a 5-minute drive from the Nakiska Ski Area, 40 minutes from Canmore or about an hour’s drive from Banff or Calgary
- Wild or paid: Paid. Full-day access to the hydrotherapy circuit costs $149 CAD from Friday – Monday, $109 CAD on Tuesday, and $129 on Wednesday and Thursday
- Where to visit from: Canmore, Calgary, Banff, or stay at the Kananaskis Mountain Lodge
The Kananaskis Nordic Spa is home to a luxurious hydrotherapy circuit that’s one of those must-visit places in the Kananaskis Region. There are pools of varying temperatures designed to improve circulation, aid muscle recovery, and relieve stress. In addition to the hot and cold pools, there are relaxation pools, several saunas, lots of hammocks and places to relax, and a steam cabin.
It all sounded pretty good to us – especially after several days of outdoor adventures! We visited on a cooler morning and that hot water felt heavenly.
This is an adults-only spa, so it’s obviously not suitable for families traveling together. It’s a super relaxing and calm place and a visit here is a real treat (I mean, given the price tag, it’s not the kind of place most people frequent weekly!).
The Nordic Spa is a couple of minutes drive from the Nakiska Ski Area, so if you’re planning a winter trip to the Kananaskis, this is a great way to warm up. You can also easily drive here from Canmore or even Calgary if you’re up for a day trip. You can also stay overnight at the Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, which is just steps away from the spa, which we think would be especially great for a romantic getaway.
Just a heads up: this spa is SUPER popular in the winter, because lots of people visit while skiing in Nakiska. If you’re visiting in winter, make sure that you book in advance, although you can join a same-day waitlist in case someone cancels, but there are no guarantees that you’ll get in.
3. Miette Hot Springs
- Location: A one-hour drive from both Jasper and Pyramid Lake, on the way from Edmonton to Jasper (about a 4-hour drive)
- Wild or paid: Paid. Entry costs $16.50 for adults, $14.25 CAD for seniors and youths, or $53 CAD for a family pass (2 adults and 2 children). This is the same as Banff Upper Hot Springs, since both springs are run by Parks Canada.
- Where to visit from: Jasper. You could also stay at the Pyramid Lake Resort or the Miette Mountain Cabins
For a more remote hot spring experience in the Rockies, the Miette Hot Springs outside of Jasper delivers. There are two large hot pools and two smaller cold pools, all of which offer incredible views over Fiddle Valley.
These hot springs are much more remote than the Banff Upper Hot Springs, but the journey here if you’re driving from Banff to Jasper is absolutely beautiful so we’re sure that you won’t mind! They also tend to be way less busy than the hot springs in Banff which is a huge plus for us.
It takes just under an hour to drive to the springs from Jasper, or you can also stay at the Miette Mountain Cabins, which are about 30 minutes away. The Pyramid Lake Lodge is also fairly close by, so you could stay there and combine a visit to the springs with a trip to Pyramid Lake. In fact, we think a soak in the Miette Hot Springs would be very welcome after hiking, canoeing, or SUPing around the lake!
Miette Hot Springs are actually the hottest springs in all of the Canadian Rockies. At the source, the water is about 54°C (129°F). But don’t worry, you won’t get scalded because the water is cooled down to around 40°C (104°F) before entering the hot pools. Phew!
Since the springs are so remote, they’re closed during the winter. You can go for a soak from mid-May until mid-October. Exactly open hours change seasonally, but you can usually go between 8:30 am and 10:30 pm until August, and then from 10:30 am until 9 pm in September and October.
There are basic changing rooms available here, and you can rent swimsuits and towels, too. There aren’t as many facilities here as there are at the Banff Upper Hot Springs, so you might not spend as long here, but the views are just beautiful and we still think it’s definitely worth going.
You can’t book your visit to Miette Hot Springs in advance. Entry is first-come, first-served, and try to go earlier or later in the day to enjoy the most peace and quiet. Plus, the warm pools are even more enjoyable in the cool morning or evening air.
Related Read: If you’re staying in Jasper, make sure you check out some of the best activities including a ride on the Jasper SkyTram, going on a wildlife tour, and seeing the majestic Athabasca Falls!
4. Mist Mountain Hot Springs
- Location: Mist Mountain, Kananaskis Country, about a 45-minute drive from Kananaskis Village
- Wild or paid: Wild
- Where to visit from: Kananaskis Village
The Mist Mountain Hot Springs aren’t the easiest hot springs in Alberta to access, but if you’re looking for a truly remote and wild hot spring, then this is the ultimate nature experience.
It’s a 6.4 kilometer (4 mile) hike on the Mist Mountain Springs Trail which doesn’t sound too long, but you’ve also got 550 meters (1,804 ft) of elevation gain to contend with, so this is actually a pretty challenging hike. It will probably take you about 3-4 hours in total.
The trailhead is located along Alberta Highway 40, about 200 meters (650 feet) from a small parking lot. It takes about 45 minutes to make the 61-kilometer (39-mile) drive to the trailhead from Kananaskis Village, where there are plenty of great accommodation options, including the aforementioned Mountain Lodge or the HI Kananaskis Wilderness Hostel.
Highway 40 is always closed from December until the end of June, so you can only hike to the springs during summer and fall. And obviously, since the springs are totally wild, there are no changing rooms, toilets, cafes, or towels available for rent!
These hot springs aren’t huge – nor are they actually that hot. The water is usually around 30°C (80°F), and there are two pools, which can only fit a couple of people in each. Therefore, if you leave it too late to head out, you might find yourself waiting a while for your turn to soak. Still, the views are absolutely epic and we love that these springs are about as wild as you can get!
5. Fairmont Spa, Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
- Location: Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff
- Wild or paid: Paid. 3 hours of access costs $49 CAD for hotel guests or $79 CAD for outside visitors, on top of the purchase of a treatment
- Where to visit from: Banff
Once upon a time, the water at the Fairmont Spa Banff Springs was pumped in from the Banff Upper Hot Springs, which are just 4.4 kilometers (2.7 miles away), but this is no longer the case. Still, this spa remains the premium place to treat yourself in Banff, not least because it’s located inside the town’s most iconic hotel – the Fairmont Banff Springs.
The spa is huge and features an array of pools both indoors and outdoors, including mineral pools, hot pools, and waterfall whirlpools. For us, though, the highlight has to be the European-style Kur pool. Or actually, maybe it’s the outdoor whirlpool, which is an amazing place to watch the sunset over the Rockies.
Since this spa is actually in the town of Banff itself, it’s super easy to access whether you’re visiting Banff in the summer, fall, or winter. But unfortunately, it’s expensive. Unlike the Kananaskis Nordic Spa, you can’t just pay to access the springs. You have to book a treatment and then pay $79 CAD for 3 hours of pool access on top of that. Obviously, enjoying a 5-star spa treatment isn’t exactly a hardship, but it’s definitely not easy on your wallet, since most of them cost upward of $219 CAD.
Nonetheless, the hot springs at the Fairmont Spa are absolutely gorgeous, and we think they’re perfect if you have room in your budget or are visiting Banff on your honeymoon. It’s a super special way to treat yourself, and after your pamper session you could even take things one step further and indulge in the hotel’s famous afternoon tea, or head to the 1888 Chop House for dinner!
Renting a Car in Alberta
If you’re arriving in Alberta via plane then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. Canada is a large country and traveling between cities and even just getting out to some of the best places to visit in Alberta requires transport. Although you can use public transport, on some occasions, it means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.
Renting a car will definitely make exploring all of the fun things to see and do in Alberta easier.
Car rental in Canada isn’t super cheap, but it isn’t overly expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with pickup and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though depending on the time of year and the type of car that you rent. For car rentals, I use the website DiscoverCars.com. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used them all over the world including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.
Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!
Thanks for reading!
Hopefully, this list of the best hot springs in Alberta has helped you narrow down which one you want to visit. Or maybe a couple of them are on your Alberta itinerary now! I think traveling around Alberta in the fall and winter is made just a teeny bit more bearable when you work in a visit to a hot spring! But you can’t go wrong on a cooler summer morning or evening too.
Whether you’re planning a relaxing getaway or one that’s full of new experiences, let us help! Have a look at our other blogs about Alberta which are full of in-depth guides to the very best attractions and hidden gems this province has to offer.