Kaslo Bay, Kootenay Lake - Woodsbury Resort, Ainsworth, BC

Ainsworth

The village of Ainsworth is set into the mountainside overlooking the vast expanse of Kootenay Lake and the Purcell Mountains. Ainsworth is famous for its amazing hot springs, set amidst limestone caves. The hot mineral water falls from the ceiling of the caves providing a natural steam bath. The nearby Kootenay Lake is also a great place for fishing and boating. The lake houses several varieties of trout, including the former world-record holder Kokanee, having been caught here. The West Kootenay region contains an abundance of hiking trails, providing hikers with spectacular mountain scenery, breathtaking glaciers, alpine lakes, flower strewn meadows, and incredible wildlife.

A view of the mountains from Woodsbury Resort & Marina in Ainsworth.

Location

Ainsworth Hot Springs is located on Hwy 31, on the western shore of Kootenay Lake 48 km (30 mi) north of Nelson via Hwy 3A and Hwy 31 and 20 km (12 mi) south of Kaslo.

The marina at Woodsbury Resort & Marina in Ainsworth.

A Step Back in Time

There are many stories in early chronicles which mention the Hot Springs. Like many Canadian natural attractions, Ainsworth Hot Springs was probably first discovered by native Indians. The Indians came up to Kootenay Lake in the late summer mostly to take advantage of the Kokanee Salmon run. Since this timing coincided with the ripening of the huckleberry crop, it would be natural to assume that after spending the days clambering around the hills these people would welcome a soak in the hot springs.

In 1882 George Ainsworth of Portland, Oregon, applied for a preemption of the townsite which is now Ainsworth Hot Springs. It was at first called Hot Springs Camp and had been founded on the strength of silver, lead, and zinc discoveries in the vicinity. Names like the Krao, Keyline, No. 1, Let-Her-Go-Gallager and Highlander were the foremost of an impressive list of mining properties.

During this time the Hot Springs itself didn’t seem to be very high on the priority list of Ainsworth. It wasn’t until the 1920s when the town was starting to decline as a mining centre, that an effort was made to develop the hot springs. The mining company that owned the property at that time decided to build a pool to be used primarily by the miners.

By the time the pool and caves were finished in the early 1930’s the great depression was in full swing. A succession of lessees operated the pool and lodge through the 30s, 40s, and 50s.

In the 40s and 50s, mining activity peaked and production was the highest ever recorded, mostly due to improved machinery. In the later 50s, silver prices dropped and the mines were closed. The owners of the Hot Springs, Yale Lead and Zinc Co. Ltd, decided to sell their property in the Ainsworth townsite, including the pool, cave, and lodge.

Sam and Belle Homen purchased and operated the property in 1962. They retired in 1979 and the property was bought by their daughter Joyce Mackie and her husband Norm. In 2015, Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort and the surrounding properties were purchased by the Lower Kootenay Band in Creston, BC.

The shoreline at Woodsbury Resort & Marina in Ainsworth.

Contact Information

Nelson & Kootenay Lake Tourism

Ainsworth & Nearby Accommodations

15 Listings

Alpine Inn & Suites

Alpine Inn & Suites

Nelson

On a picturesque hilltop setting, Alpine Inn & Suites invites guests to stay at their Swiss-style, family oriented, dog friendly inn. Located one minute away from downtown Nelson, guests have easy access to local shops and restaurants. Offering 30 updated, modern rooms, guests can choose from Standa ... Read more
Arrow Mountain RV Park

Arrow Mountain RV Park

Creston

24 spacious full-service lots all with a view of the magnificent Selkirk and Purcell Mountains. Creston offers plenty of wilderness, orchards, vineyards, fishing, etc. Go play, enjoy, relax and explore this hidden gem of the Kootenays. ... Read more
Bavarian Orchard Motel

Bavarian Orchard Motel

Creston

Situated on a peaceful orchard setting with majestic mountain views, Bavarian Orchard Motel offers clean and comfortable rooms. The suites consist of one or two bedroom units that feature full bathrooms, air-conditioning, free WiFi, flat screen TVs, coffee maker, fridge and microwave. We have daily ... Read more
Birch Grove RV Park & Marina

Birch Grove RV Park & Marina

Nelson

Near Nelson, famous for most restaurants per capita in Canada. Ainsworth Hot Springs, golf courses, zip lining, hiking/biking trails, artisans and markets. Spectacular views, wildlife, bird watching, Kokanee spawning, fishing off docks, swimming, boating, kayaking. Well-maintained grounds, beach, qu ... Read more
Cool Waters RV Park

Cool Waters RV Park

Nelson

Cool Waters RV park is located in a valley about 5 minutes south of beautiful Nelson BC. The property has a creek running through it, 20 minutes from the local ski hill, has a great number of mountain bike trails within close proximity. The RV park has select amenities, including wireless internet, ... Read more
Downtowner Motor Inn

Downtowner Motor Inn

Creston

Situated in the heart of downtown Creston, the Downtowner Motor Inn offers clean, comfortable rooms for all guests to relax during their stay. Whether your visit is business, holiday or a sports tournament, we guarantee your stay with us will exceed all expectations. Our lodge style inn offers 22 ro ... Read more
Gatehouse-On-The-Point

Gatehouse-On-The-Point

Kaslo

Honeymoon seclusion and comfort for any two non-smokers on a quiet, idyllic lakefront property. Fully self-contained cottage with stunning views out every window, a special queen bed, a full kitchen and bath, and a covered porch overlooking the lake. A lakeside deck offers privacy, beauty and quiet ... Read more
Kaslo Municipal Campground

Kaslo Municipal Campground

Kaslo

Located adjacent to lake shore beach and playground in historic Kaslo. Tent and RV sites, shaded, hot showers and an easy walk to the SS Moyie and our charming Victorian downtown. Attendant on site. ... Read more
Kokanee Chalets, Motel, RV Park & Campground

Kokanee Chalets, Motel, RV Park & Campground

Crawford Bay

Resting on the East Shore of beautiful Kootenay Lake, Kokanee Chalets is surrounded by a friendly community and lush forests. We welcome children and pets to join in on the holiday as there are many activities for all guests. Enjoy the beautiful sun on our private pebble beach, only a five minute wa ... Read more
Mountain Park Resort

Mountain Park Resort

Creston

Nestled amongst the ancient cedar trees overlooking the gentle river, Mountain Park Resort is a relaxing family campground destination to enjoy the great outdoors. Experience a memorable vacation at our resort with our friendly and accommodating staff. We have 50 spacious sites that are surrounded b ... Read more
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Travel Spotlight
Camping Lodging

The Super Camping / Select Lodging Guide

First Published in 1989