Life Travel

Winter getaway at the Ainsworth Hot Springs

By Hannah Schadel, Camrose Canadian Travel Writer

The Ktunaxa Bar and Grill at Ainsworth Hot Springs. Supplied.

The Ktunaxa Bar and Grill at Ainsworth Hot Springs. Supplied.

There really isn’t a winter around the world that is as magical as a Canadian winter. Bright blue skies matched with fresh white snow that is usually perfectly positioned on tree branches and mountaintops. Of course, I have purposely forgotten the harsh winter storms that can occur at any point in time, but along-side those hair-raising days, come those picture-perfect days that remain embedded in your memory.


Exploring the magic of Canada means finding little spots that make you feel like you’re in a snow globe for a second. Ainsworth Hot Springs is a little getaway location that is a must-visit for all Canadians. Only 10 hour drive from Camrose, you can explore this little gem for a weekend getaway. Located directly on the Kootenay Lake, this small town of 50 is a stone-throw away from the popular rustic town of Nelson, BC. The hot springs were first discovered and visited by the Ktunaxa First Nation people who experienced the waters to relax after a long day of fishing, hunting and gathering for the what is now known as the Kootenay Region. The Hot Springs are open 365 days a year and feature a natural 150-foot horseshoe shaped cave, a large lounging pool that connects itself to the interior of the cave, enabling you to swim in and out as you please. The inside of the caves are rugged with naturally formed Rockwall, with dim lights so you can see your way through the depth of the mountain. Swimming through, you’ll find natural waterfalls that trickle down from openings. With a stream-fed cold plunge pool that runs adjacent to the lake, you’re able to cool down or warm up while taking in the incredible landscape surrounding the region.

Legend has it that the hot springs have been related to healing benefits due it’s mineral content that has lived within the water for centuries. The native name for this incredible natural hot spring is ‘Nupika Wu’u, which has a literal translation meaning of “spirit water”.

These little romantic hot springs not only keep you busy during your day, but you’re able to stay overnight in the Ainsworth Hot Spring Hotel for the night. Spend the weekend at Ainsworth without leaving the hotel by staying the night, enjoying the hot springs and dining at the 5 stars Native Inspired Cuisine restaurant. With Bison and Bannock on the menu, matched with the most incredibly beautiful scenic views, you’ll be wondering why you hadn’t visited sooner.

When visiting Ainsworth Hot Springs and you’re looking for more to explore, Nelson will instantly make it on your ‘Top Places in Canada’ list. This quaint,

eclectic town is a small little city with a huge personality. Located 30 minutes from Ainsworth, Nelson is situated on the West Arm of Kootenay Lake in the heart of the Selkirk Mountains. Home to an array of Nelson Families and hippy-at-heart individuals, you’ll find an eclectic mix of people in Nelson. This vibrant Victorian Style Town boasts hundreds of well-preserved heritage buildings, quaint bustling coffee shops, an array of good restaurants and one-of-a-kind boutiques.

People come from near and far to the Kootenay Lake area for Mountain biking, hiking, boating, rafting, kayaking and golf in the Summer, while during the winter the impressive snowfall has earned Nelson the title of one of the Best Ski Towns in Canada. Whether you’re like me and prefer to sit back in natural hot springs with a glass of Malbec, the Kootenay region will deliver that for you too.


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