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Canada’s secret winter hot spots

by Red Hunt

Western Canada has a hot secret. Many Canadians may be surprised to learn we have a great variety of natural hot springs right in our own backyard. The best part is they’re open year round, even winter, so you can be surrounded by snowy mountains, while you’re sipping a glass of wine and soaking in some hot, soothing mineral waters.

Perhaps the most famous Canadian hot spring of all is in Banff, Alberta. In fact, Banff National Park was originally called Banff Hot Springs Reserve. People have flocked here to soak in the natural hot springs for more than 125 years, since 1884, and so can you by visiting the Banff Upper Hot Springs.

Cross over into British Columbia and one of the most appealing Canadian hot springs is found in Kootenay National Park. Despite its nuclear sounding name, visiting Radium Hot Springs is a perfectly safe and enjoyable experience. Radium is home to the largest hot springs pool in Canada, but what makes it even more appealing is that the water here is perfectly clear and odourless, unlike some other springs that have a sulphuric smell.

Canada’s National Parks have created entire spa packages and vacation ideas focused around these hot springs, as well as the Miette Hot Springs found in Jasper National Park. You can check them all out at www.hotsprings.ca

Not to be outdone by the National Parks, there are many private hot springs to enjoy in British Columbia. The Ainsworth Hot Spring is located in a resort that overlooks Kootenay Lake. It has three different hot springs to enjoy, depending how hot you like it, but the real attraction is a hot springs cave. You may think of caves as dark, cold, scary places, but at Ainsworth, you can soak in the mineral rich waters of their 150-foot-long lighted cave – talk about pure relaxation!

As tempting as it is, you can’t spend your entire day soaking in hot springs. All of these destinations offer other forms of adventure, such as snowshoeing and hiking trails, or relaxing retreats featuring yoga lessons and spa treatments.

If you’re up for some real adventure alongside your hot springing take a look at Halcyon Hot Springs. Close to Revelstoke Mountain, they offer normal skiing packages or you can go heli-skiing with Canadian Mountain Holidays: they will drop you on top your own private powder peak.

Does it get much better than that?