Radium Hot Springs, Photo Destination BC Kari Medig
Radium Hot Springs has it all: unlimited outdoor activities, fine dining, golfing, skiing, natural hot springs, and the most stunning scenery you can imagine. Located on the ‘warm’ side of the Canadian Rockies, Radium Hot Springs is one of British Columbia’s best mountain getaway villages. After a leisurely drive through the awe-inspiring Kootenay National Park on the Banff-Windermere Highway, you will encounter the world-famous mineral pools. These odourless pools are surrounded by natural rock walls and are guaranteed to relax you. Try canoeing, rafting or water skiing in the many lakes and rivers. Float down the Columbia River; do a little fishing. Go on one of the many hikes or cycle trails. In the winter come skiing and experience the powder-covered mountains and gentle family slopes or beautiful mountain trails.
Prior to any development by the white man, the First Nations people found the hot and odourless mineral water issuing from the rocks at the base of Redstreak Mountain to be soothing for their aches and pains.
A group of Englishmen headed by Lord Northcote started construction of the first pool prior to 1914. Their efforts were halted by the outbreak of World War I. The Canadian government took over and the hot pool and the first log bathhouse were completed in 1923.
An imposing park gateway was constructed close to the pool, and entrance fees for vehicles were collected. On the arch over this gate was the quotation “THE MOUNTAINS SHALL BRING PEACE TO THE PEOPLE”. This development followed the construction of the original Banff-Windermere highway through the Park. Visitors came by train to Banff and were transported to Radium Hot Springs by bus or limousine over the narrow, dusty roads.
In 1948, the old bathhouse was destroyed by a fire and was replaced by a lovely new aquacourt, a new hot pool, and a swimming pool. At the time, the Village of Radium Hot Springs was rapidly growing, so this resulted in a great increase in traffic.
Kootenay National Park later replaced the original campground above the pools with a spacious new one on the hill overlooking the village. In 1956 a drive-in theater offered entertainment for both tourists and locals. The Radium Hot Springs Resort Golf Course, together with other housing subdivisions, resulted in more people settling here on a permanent basis.
Today, regardless of all the other developments, the warm odourless mineral pool remains the star attraction at Radium Hot Springs on a year-long basis.