Hot Springs Circle Route in Winter

1 week, 851.52 km (529.11 mi)

Relax at five natural hot springs along this scenic mountainous journey.

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Relaxing in natural hot springs is good for the soul. From the soothing sensation of being enveloped in warm water to the therapeutic value of the the natural minerals, BC’s hot springs perfectly complement a winter wonderland getaway through its stunning mountainous landscape.

Part 1

Cranbrook

Fort Steele | @buzzbishop

Begin your tour in Cranbrook, which over the years has transitioned from a thriving railway town to become the largest city in the Kootenay Rockies, and home to the Canadian Rockies International Airport.  This is the largest airport in the region, providing daily flights from numerous airlines as well as on-site car rentals. Snow tires are currently available on some rental vehicles at a first-come first-serve basis.

In Cranbrook, admire 19th-century heritage homes, and visit the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel’s award-winning collection of restored railcars and locomotives. Make time for a detour to Fort Steele Heritage Town and go back in time to experience “wild west” life in a restored 1860s gold rush town.

Drive 28 km to Kimberley.

Part 2

Kimberley

Kimberley | Kari Medig

If you want to play in the snow, then plan to spend a few days in Kimberley, a charming mountain community located between the Purcell and Rocky Mountains.

Visit Kimberley Alpine Resort to ski under the stars on the longest lit run in North America. Cross-country skiing, dog sledding, and snowshoeing are just some of the many other winter activities available this laid-back ski town.

Tip: Keep your eyes out for Big Horn sheep, elk, moose and deer as you travel through this major geological feature known as the Canadian Rocky Mountain Trench.

After Kimberley, drive 96 km to Fairmont Hot Springs.

Part 3

Fairmont Hot Springs

Fairmont Hot Springs Resort | Zoya Lynch

Fairmont Hot Springs Resort is home to Canada’s largest natural hot springs.

These crystal clear hot springs pools beckon with their steamy, mineral-rich waters and are perfect for staving off the winter chill. In the month of December, enjoy the resort’s Holiday Lights & Winter Nights Festival where you can partake in the the Christmas market and holiday light displays or simply cozy up by the fire with a seasonal mulled wine. Spend a day here for a soak or linger for several days to truly relax and recharge.

After Fairmont Hot Springs, drive 27 km to Invermere.

Part 4

Invermere

The Whiteway on Windermere Lake, near Invermere | Kari Medig

The neighbouring lakeside communities of Invermere and Windermere are home to the Lake Windermere Whiteway—the longest ice-skating pathway in the world. At 34 kilometres (21 miles) long, the groomed track connects the two communities and is a popular destination for both skaters and Nordic skiers.

After Invermere, drive 17 km to Radium Hot Springs.

Part 5

Radium Hot Springs

Radium Hot Springs | Kari Medig

Radium Hot Springs, located in Kootenay National Park, is one of the largest hot spring mineral pools in Canada. Soak away your tensions while gazing up at the red cliffs of Sinclair Canyon. Keep an eye out for bighorn sheep, and if you’re here in November you won’t want to miss the Headbanger Festival, a celebration of rutting season.

After Radium Hot Springs, drive 103 km to Golden.

Part 6

Golden

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort | Ryan Creary

Golden becomes a winter playground once the colder temperatures set in. Ice climbing, snowmobiling, and ski touring are just some of the activities that attract adventurers to this mountain town. Spend a few nights at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort to ski the Rockies, or simply take the gondola up to Eagle’s Eye Restaurant—Canada’s highest elevation dining experience at 2,347 m (7,700 ft ).

After Golden, take Highway 1 west for 148 km through Rogers Pass to Revelstoke.

 

Part 7

Revelstoke

Revelstoke | @almdowncharlie via Instagram

Revelstoke, or “Revy” as it’s also known, is a vibrant mountain community with a rich heritage. Explore some of its 60 restored heritage buildings as well as the Revelstoke Railway Museum. If the mountains are calling, then spend a few nights at Revelstoke Mountain Resort for the most skiable vertical in North America.

After Revelstoke, continue south on Highway 23 for 71 km to Halcyon Hot Springs.

Part 8

Halcyon Hot Springs

Halcyon Hot Springs near Nakusp | Kari Medig

Halcyon Hot Springs features four mineral-rich pools overlooking Upper Arrow Lake and the Monashee Mountains. Come here for what’s considered to be some of the most restorative hot spring waters on the continent.

After Halcyon Hot Springs, drive 44 km south to Nakusp Hot Springs.

Part 9

Nakusp Hot Springs

Nakusp Hot Springs | Kari Medig

Situated on the shore of the Arrow Lakes, the village of Nakusp provides authentic Kootenay spirit and a charming downtown of shops, restaurants, and services.  A short drive from the village is Nakusp Hot Springs where you can stay in a cozy cedar chalet—only a few feet from the hot springs.

After Nakusp Hot Springs, drive 128 km south to Ainsworth Hot Springs.

Part 10

Ainsworth Hot Springs

Ainsworth Hot Springs | Kari Medig

Sink into the soothing mineral waters of Ainsworth Hot Springs. Owned by the Yaqan Nukiy people of the Ktunaxa First Nation, this unique hot springs features a horseshoe-shaped cave lined with stalagmites and stalactites.

As a side trip from Ainsworth, visit the historic mountain town of Nelson located along the shore of Kootenay Lake. This artsy community is a fantastic dining destination and is also a major cultural hub of the region.

After Ainsworth Hot Springs, drive the 206 km journey back to Cranbrook via the free Kootenay Lake ferry.

Note: BC’s winter road conditions can include snow and ice. Be sure to check DriveBC before heading out on any road trip and be aware of the winter tire and chain regulations across the province from October 1 to March 31. Before any winter road trip, visit Shift Into Winter to learn how to prepare yourself, prepare your vehicle, and drive for the conditions.

Driving Directions

Part 1 - Vancouver
  • 6.25 km
  • 12 min
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