Banff Upper Hot Springs: Then and Now
In 1883, Frank McCabe and William McCardell, railroad workers for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), stumbled upon what is now known as the Cave and Basin National Historic Site at the base of Sulphur Mountain. The following year, while searching for Cave and Basin’s source, they cut a trail up the slope of Sulphur Mountain and found what is now known as Banff Upper Hot Springs.
Over the next two years, as more European’s arrived in the area, shacks were erected at the Upper Hot Springs and many land claims and disputes were launched.
On November 28th, 1885 the Government of Canada realized the hot springs were too precious to be privatized and set aside approximately a ten square mile area on the northern slopes of Sulphur Mountain as Canada’s first national park. As people from around the world come to enjoy the 150th anniversary of Confederation, the Rocky Mountain National Park, now known as Banff National Park, has plenty to celebrate.
Originally used by First Peoples travelling through the Rocky Mountains for 13,000 years, the Banff Upper Hot Springs are now enjoyed by locals and travellers alike.
The Grand View Villa and Bath House was built under the direction of Dr. R. G. Brett and funded by the CPR in 1886. The Villa burnt down twice before being replaced by the current Upper Hot Springs Bath House. The new building was constructed as a depression relief project. It was opened on June 27th, 1932 and renovated in 1995. The incredible views of the Spray River Valley and warm soothing waters attract thousands of visitors from around the world, each year.
So come, relax, and soak in some history at the Canadian Rockies’ highest elevation hot spring.