Packed with minerals and often considered to have restorative properties, hot springs are a welcome retreat for anyone looking to unwind in striking surroundings. And Canada is home to an enormous selection of geothermal baths. So we went in search of the most relaxing and enchanting pools out there – here are the top five.
Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia
Radium Hot Spring is at its most picturesque during the winter
Tucked away in the East Kootenay region of British Columbia, the village of Radium Hot Springs (often referred to as Radium) is renowned for its thermal waters and unusual history. Once upon a time, an analysis of the water showed small traces of radon – the amount was small enough to be considered harmless – and the name stuck. While a dip in the waters is unlikely to leave you with any radioactive superpowers, it will leave you feeling wonderfully rested. There are two pools here, one at 25 metres in length, and one that reaches up to 39 degrees Celsius – ideal for winter days when the branches hang heavy with snow overhead. After a long soak, Inn on Canyon is a restful stay that’s a short walk away.
Kraus Hot Springs, Northwest Territories
Soak up the warm water and the rugged views
Named after a couple that lived here during the mid-1900s, Kraus Hot Springs is bliss. One of Nahanni National Park Reserve’s numerous hot springs, this is one for those in search of a back-to-nature feel. Rocky, man-made pools crest the South Nahanni River, all of which have views of coniferous forests and steep cliff faces – you may even catch sight of bison grazing happily on the shore. The springs are only accessible in the springtime, so visiting them is a fleeting experience that’s nonetheless worthwhile. Camping is the best option, but you can also fly in from Yellowknife to Fort Simpson and stay at Yellowknife B&B the night before your flight.
Hot Springs Cove, British Columbia
These hot springs are in an ancient forest only accessible by boat
Hot Springs Cove is a sensational spectacle. Accessible only via seaplane or boat, it’s a craggy outcrop of tumbling, steaming waterfalls that look out onto the ocean. Reaching the cove from is half the enjoyment, with a cedar boardwalk weaving itself through ancient rainforest before you eventually stumble upon the secluded pools. Scramble up onto the rocks and pick from the seven geothermal baths on offer, and bask in the quiet atmosphere of this idyllic hideaway. When you eventually drag yourself away, take a water taxi back to the Pacific Sands Beach Resort.
Lussier Hot Springs, British Columbia
These pocket-sized pools are split into one warmer and one cooler pool
If you spot swirling stacks of steam in the distance, you’ll know you’ve reached the ephemeral Lussier Hot Springs. Small rock pools aside a gushing river, the springs are pocket-sized natural private baths, one warmer and one cooler, meaning you can warm yourself up as quickly as you can cool yourself down. Winter makes for a lovely time to visit, dusting the scene in a snowy coat. And the long drive here will make a generous soak all the more necessary. Afterwards, head over to another set of hot springs with a stay at Fairmont Villas Mountainside.
Takhini Hot Springs, Yukon
The mineral-rich waters here are tinted silghtly red due to the iron present
Located just outside of Whitehorse, Takhini Hot Springs has a lot history. Used by the First Nations People for hundreds of years, it gradually earned a reputation for its therapeutic properties. During the 1940s, the pools were built for the use of the US Army as the Alaska Highway was constructed. Today, its visitors are mainly those in search of a calm and restful escape. With waters reaching an appealing 42 degrees Celsius in one pool, and cooler temperatures in the other, you can soak in the mineral-rich waters, which are tinted slightly red courtesy of the iron present. When you visit in February, you can even take the opportunity to participate in the annual hair freezing competition, where bathers wet their hair until frozen, and then mould it into unique styles. You’ll need to warm up at some stage, so take one last dip and retreat to nearby Hidden Valley Bed and Breakfast.