Ainsworth Hot Springs: Soothing Mineral Waters & a Cave in the West Kootenays
Warm Mineral Waters and a Cave with Stalagmites and Stalactities Spell a First-Class Visitor Destination
Ainsworth Hot Springs attracts visitors from around the world, eager to take a dip in warm mineral waters and explore a cave filled with stalagmites and stalactites.
The Hot Springs are located in the beautiful West Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada, overlooking the main arm of Kootenay Lake, a spot where breathtaking mountains are almost as enticing as the warm waters that await visitors.
Travelers go north of Nelson, B.C. or south from Kaslo and are treated to some incredible views along the way. Stretches of the highway are winding and narrow with sheer cliff-faces on one side and dizzying drops on the other. Carved out of the mountainsides, the road may not be for the faint of heart but the Hot Springs that await are well worth the trip.
Getting to Ainsworth Hot Springs--North from Nelson, South From Kaslo
Grab the Yellow icon and drag it to the road area, then click on the arrows to travel the highway to Ainsworth to get a feel for the Kootenay backcountry.
Traveling From Nelson Along Highway 31 Offers Views of Kootenay Lake
Superlative Mountain Views
Coming into Ainsworth Resort Area
Ainsworth Hotsprings Resort
Comfortable Rooms and Fine Dining
The Springs Dining Room offers something for everyone, with two menus a year, offering a line-up of homemade dishes with fresh ingredients prepared by a chef, plus B.C. top wines, and floor to ceiling windows offering expansive views of the lake, the Purcell mountains and the pool area.
Cody Caves Are Nearby in First Subterranean Park in B.C.
- Cody Caves – One of B.C.s Best-Known Cave Systems
Ancient calcite formations and a network of limestone tunnels make Cody Caves one the best caving sites in the B.C. back country.
Mineral-Rich Water Bubbles to the Surface and Leaves Mineral Deposits at Side of Road at Ainsworth
Where Do the Waters Originate?
The geothermally heated water has its source in the Cody Caves system, nearby. It travels downward to a fault and then is forced upwards by means of hydraulic pressure. It surfaces at Ainsworth at a temperature of approximately 47C/117F and is cooled to approximately 42C/108Fprior to entering the cave.
Evidence of this geothermal activity is evident, as seen by minerals at the side of the highway and in the mountainside up above the cave area. Any place where warm, mineral-laden water surfaces, formations become apparent.
The waters are the warmest inside the cave. Water streams in, in various spots, and also drips from the ceiling, plus there's a natural water shower in one part of the cave. Those who enter the cave are treated to a steam bath as they wade through waist-deep water while exploring.
Because of the continual movement of water flowing through the area, the water is changed naturally every couple of hours.
Ainsworth Pools--Perfect for Soaking in
Main Pool--Outside the cave, in the main outdoor pool, the temperature stays at around 35C/96F. Visitors can swim or soak in the warm water and take in views of the magnificent Purcell mountains overlooking Kootenay Lake.
Cold Plunge Pool--Not for the faint of heart, the smaller cold plunge pool offers frigid stream-fed water to those brave enough to try it.
Main Pool--Water Temperature is Not as Intense as Inside the Cave
- The outdoor pool is a favorite spot for locals who often stay until closing time.
- Many visitors from the U.S. make a yearly trip up to Ainsworth to enjoy all that the resort offers.
Shelved Pool in Front of Cave Entrance--The area in front of the cave is a favorite gathering spot. Those who want to cool off from the warmer temperatures insi
A Christmas Gift ...
One Christmas a bunch of us traveled out to Ainsworth. The snow was gently falling and the pool area had been decorated with Christmas lights. The mist and steam from the water created a magical effect.
A Ukrainian choir had discovered the acoustics inside the cave and decided to practice Christmas carols.
The rest of us were captivated at the beautiful singing emanating from the cave. While no one could understand the words, we all recognized the familiar tunes. Soon, the main pool emptied as people gathered in front of the cave entrance to listen. We all started singing along in English to recognizable carols, even if they were being sung in a different language.
What an outstanding experience and an unexpected Christmas gift!
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The Cave Gives Visitors a Chance to Soak in the Warm Waters, While Dark Corners Beckon Couples for a Little Romance
Exploring the 150-foot horseshoe-shaped cave is a must. The water is waist deep through the different tunnels and chambers and the cave is like a natural sauna of sorts.
The formations are impressive but caution is necessary because the stalactites are sharp.
At the back of the cave, a natural ledge provides a seating spot for those who want to sit and take it all in. Water pours in, in this area, and is hot to the touch. Most visitors cannot withstand the heat in this part of the cave for more than 5-10 minutes.
It's quite the experience to navigate through the dark, echoing tunnels and chambers that wind their way through the cave. Couples find the darkened corners a favorite spot for a little romance.
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Take a Virtual Tour--Explore the Cave at Ainsworth
Mineral Content of the Waters
The waters offer a high concentration of minerals but are odorless.
Learn About Ainsworth's Past, Historic First Village on Kootenay Lake
- Historic Ainsworth, B.C. Oldest Village on Kootenay ...
Mining, sternwheelers and hot springs have ensured the survival of Ainsworth, B.C. The first village on the shores of Kootenay Lake. While silver lead-ore beckoned prospectors and miners, in the end,the natural hot springs ensured the town's survival
Many visitors, after seeing and experiencing the geothermally heated waters in the cave, have wondered how this natural "hot spot" was first discovered. It is probable that the warm waters were discovered by First Nations people.
In later years, the site, known as Hot Springs Camp, was purchased by George Ainsworth in 1882 and has seen further development and successive owners down through the years.
Hot Springs Pool Before Development
The modern-day resort offers 43 rooms for lodgers. The Springs Dining Room provides in-season, locally grown food and a selection of fine B.C wines. Floor to ceiling windows capture views of pool, caves, mountains and lake. A gift shop offers bathing attire and other souvenirs, rounding out the Ainsworth experience.
Ainsworth Hot Springs, Popular Tourist Destination and Welcome Winter Get-Away
Ainsworth is considered to be the best commercially developed hot springs in British Columbia. The resort is open year round. While the hotsprings are enchanting at any time of the year, regulars believe that the best way to experience the soothing mineral waters is to take a dip in the colder months. As temperatures drop, the springs and cave offer a unique winter get-away.
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Mining, sternwheelers and hot springs have ensured the survival of Ainsworth, B.C. The first village on the shores of Kootenay Lake.
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