Man sitting at the edge of a natural hot springs (Albert Normandin photo)
The Windermere Valley enjoys more than its fair share of amazing geothermal hot springs.
Radium Hot Springs
Surrounded by the red walls of Sinclair Canyon, these open-air mineral pools have a long history. Picture Winston Churchill puffing on a cigar while lounging in the pool - he spent a week at Radium Hot Springs in 1929. The larger pool is maintained at 39°C/103°F, while the cooler swimming pool, which is equipped with a diving board, is stabilized at a comfortable 27°C/84°F.
An on-site day spa offers massage, aromatherapy and wellness treatments. Note that, although the mineral pools are inside the boundary of Kootenay National Park, a National Park pass is not required to drive from the village to the hot springs.
Fairmont Hot Springs
At the southern end of the Windermere Valley, close to the Hoodoos (magnificent rock spires) and Columbia Lake, Fairmont Hot Springs is a full service resort built around one of the largest hot pools in Canada. In addition to the hot pool (39°C/102°F), there is a swimming pool (32°C/89°F) and a slightly cooler diving pool. Guests at the resort also have access to a small private pool. In addition to soaking in the pools, the resort offers a multitude of activities including golf, skiing, horseback riding, and eco-adventures like kayaking and hiking.
Lussier Hot Springs
If a wilderness setting is more appealing than a swimming pool, consider driving 18km/11mi up a gravel road to Lussier Hot Springs. The four pools are accessed on foot via a walking trail alongside the Lussier River. Note that, although this is a non-commercial wilderness facility, proper bathing suits must be worn. A change room and bathroom facility are located in the parking lot. Access is via the Whiteswan Forestry Road, which intersects with Highway 93/95, 4.5km/3mi south of Canal Flats.
For more information about Hot Springs, pop into the Invermere Visitor Centre.