Credit: Photo courtesy Parks Canada
Cave and Basin National Historic Site
311 Cave Ave PO Box 900, Banff, AB, T1L 1K2
403-762-1566 Fax: 403-762-1565
Natural wonders and interesting history abounds in this main Banff attraction.
|Getting There |||West end of Cave Avenue.|
|June-Sept: Daily 9AM-6PM Mon-Fri: 11AM-4PM Sat-Sun: 9:30AM-5PM|
Profile Last Updated: February 21, 2008
Commemorating the birthplace of Canada’s National Park system, the Cave and Basin National Historic Site of Canada reflects a heritage dating back to 1885, and the growth and development of the parks ever since. Naturally occurring warm mineral springs can be found inside the cave and outside in an emerald coloured basin. The second floor of the bathing pavilion features the exhibits.
Cave and Basin National Historic Site of Canada provides the opportunity for visitors to visit the replica 1887 bathhouse, to breathe in the smell of the sulphur vapours, and walk along the boardwalk trail to see the cave vent and location of the former hotel. The smaller springs can be seen bubbling from the mountainside, and the pools are filled with pink bacteria, white and green algae, small fish and insects. A boardwalk trail beneath the building is lined with information about the natural history of the area, amidst the fish and bird life that live in the wetlands below. The internment camp located on the site during the First World War is described on interpretive panels. Surrounding trails are popular for summer hiking or winter snowshoeing in the company of wildlife.
With the discovery of the Cave and Basin Hot Springs by railway workers in 1883, Banff National Park began as a resort spa catering to the whims of the privileged classes. The springs are home to small fish, insects, snails, snakes and birds, and elk, deer and coyote frequent the area, with cameo appearances from wolves and bears. There are eight hot spring outlets on Sulphur Mountain, and the unique smell comes from minerals that have dissolved in the hot springs.