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Radium Hot Springs Travel Guide (underrated Canadian Rockies town)

Radium Hot Springs Travel Guide (underrated Canadian Rockies town)

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Tucked away on the southern tip of Kootenay National Park lies the sleepy mountain town of Radium Hot Springs. Small and unassuming at first, its rustic alpine style charm draws you in, while the vast mountain playground and pure rugged wilderness hooks you.

In a connected system of valleys, mountain peaks and random hoodoo formations, it doesn’t take long for any visitor to fall under its postcard worthy spell.  

As Radium Hot Springs is only one and a half hours’ drive from Banff National Park, you still get the iconic mountain views but with way less people.

This is why it’s my favorite place lately; so much quieter and less busy, which makes it just as beautiful. It’s a perfect weekend getaway to relax, and enjoy fresh, clean mountain air.

The slower pace here provides an extra level of calm and comfort.

Coupled with the gorgeous scenery, the many pampering possibilities and delectable dining options…you’ll never want to leave your newfound paradise.

This special little village-like community perched on the edge of British Columbia makes you feel small in a good way.

It’s here where you can really feel the power of nature through a tapestry of canyons, cliffs, verdant meadows and pure, unadulterated wilderness. 

Sinclair Canyon as you enter Radium

Now that I’ve convinced you to visit my favorite spot in the East Kootenay region of British Columbia, let’s discover all the things you need to experience the best of Radium Hot Springs!

This post contains a few affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only share products and services that I love and know well.

What to Do in Radium Hot Springs

Soak in the Hot Springs

It’s a hot tub in the middle of the mountains! Yes, the town itself is called Radium Hot Springs, and there’s the actual mineral water thermal pool to soak in.

The Hot Springs in Radium – extra beautiful in the winter!

This is the biggest attraction here, and is definitely worth a visit or two if you’re in the area for more than a day. The hot spring itself is a nice large hot pool with change rooms and a spa on site.

There’s even a heated swimming pool with a diving board, so it’s great for families too.

I love this place because even when it’s busy there’s tons of space for everyone.

It’s affordable and open year round, and super gorgeous in the middle of winter with the snow-capped mountain cliff surrounding you.

The Parks Canada website mentions that there are five minerals found in the water:

  • Sulphate
  • Calcium
  • Bicarbonate
  • Silica
  • Magnesium

The temperature is nice and hot, but not too hot that you can’t stay in for a while. I always feel super calm, relaxed and chill after a nice soak. Must be something in the water (ba-dum-tss).

Another great thing about these hot springs is that they’re odorless! No sulfur or rotten egg smells at these ones.

This makes for an even better and more relaxing experience than some other hot springs I’ve been to!

Looking for natural hot springs? Check out these 3 natural springs nearby.

Take in the Views of the Valley

View of Columbia River in Radium Hot Springs. British Columbia. Canada

Stay at the Radium Chalet and have your morning coffee and evening glass of wine from the most epic balcony view that overlooks the entire valley and the Columbia River.

If you can, try and get the 3rd floor corner suite. We were able to score it in the off-season, but chances are, if you book in advance you can get it as well.  

the view from the Radium Chalet

Hiking in Radium Hot Springs

The landscapes are so incredible here. A hike or two is an absolute must so that you don’t miss out on the panoramic views.

The Juniper and Sinclair Trail Hike is a nice little jaunt down to the waterfall that has carved its way through the canyon above. 

water flows through a rocky canyon onto rocks below

If you’re up for a little more of a leg burner, head to the Visitor Information Center to look for the trailhead to the Valley View Trail.

It’s not quite 1.5 miles, but takes a little muscle as you’ll be heading uphill most of the way. Between switchbacks and stairs, you will feel it in your quads.

But, the elevated views of the valley are most definitely worth it!

shallow creek flows over rocks through the dense green forest

You Might Also Like: A Guide to the Canadian Rockies Off the Beaten Path

Go For a Drive

Highway 93 is a super fun windy road with lots of interesting vantage points along the way. While you can’t drive very fast, it’s still a twisty and turny road that’s lots of fun.

As you drive East passed the hot springs pools, there are many spots for scenic walk or a picnic. 

a massive rock wall red from iron deposits

First, you’ll be confronted with the massive red rock cliffs caused by heavy amounts of iron deposits. They remind us of scenery you’d find in Sedona, Arizona! 

Check out the adorably and aptly named Olive Lake.

Here you’ll find glass-like clear emerald green water quietly tucked away off the highway. There’s a picnic area and a cute little boardwalk trail near the water. 

still emerald green water

Then, keep going in the same direction toward the Kootenay Valley Viewpoint. Stop at little parking lot and enjoy the incredible lookout of the huge peaks across the valley.

Bonus points if you can make it here at sunrise!

Do be warned though, between the clouds that love to stick around or forest fires some years, the views can be easily blocked on any given day. So if it’s clear and sunny out, go now! 

And if you head out of town south on Highway 93, you’ll drive by some epic hoodoo formations. You can take the Hoodoo hike up to the top of these – about an hour round trip hike.

a wall of hoodoo formations

Get Stuck in Rush Hour Traffic

This won’t be the kind of rush hour you’re used to though! I’m talking about wildlife!

Chances are, on any visit to Radium Hot Springs, your path will be blocked by the many bighorn sheep that wander through town.

If you want to guarantee wildlife viewing in Canada, Radium Hot Springs is your spot.

Remember that even though these sheep graze and wander peacefully through town, they’re still wild animals and should only be viewed from a safe and far distance. 

big horn sheep grazing in the middle of the road

Indulge in Great Food

Have your morning coffee or locally brewed kombucha at the Big Horn Cafe. There’s always a lineup here, so you know it’s good! Get there early; we’ve definitely missed out on warm fresh scones before! 

Any visit to Radium Hot Springs isn’t complete without a hearty meal at the Old Salzburg Restaurant.

Here they serve traditional Austrian-fare and it’s mouthwatering. Don’t forget to save room for the homemade apple strudel.

Don’t miss the Old Tyme Candy Shoppe right on main street and relive some old school candies from the past! Lots of hard to find goodies here as well.

whipped cream and apple strudel on a plate

Read Next: 8 Places to Visit Instead of Banff National Park

Admire the Adorable Alpine Town

While the townsite is quite small, if you’re a first time visit to Radium Hot Springs, it’s fun to walk around and check out all the great signs and buildings.

If you love mountains, stop at the cute park with the big sign.

entrance to radium hot springs between the massive cliff rocks

And be sure to snap a photo with the pretty epic entrance sign, in front of the split mountain rock.

Keep wandering through town and admire the adorable motels that line street all the way to the hot springs.

Don’t miss the London-themed Piccadilly Motel, either! P.S. if you’re a guest at the motel you can have breakfast on the double decker bus!

Hit the Links

Radium Hot Springs and the Columbia Valley offer some pretty incredible golf courses. Even if you consider yourself a casual golfer, you won’t have a bad day on the courses out here.

There are two courses within a few minutes of the town site, and lots more if you keep heading south on Highway 93. 

Fun Little Adventures

There are tons of activities to keep you and the family busy during the daytime!

Valley Zipline Adventures is an awesome company that provided us with an epic 2-hour zipline adventure through the valley and gulch.

You can also go horseback riding through some awesome forested trails!

And if you still want the experience of hiking through the mountain trails without having to fire up the quad muscles, check out Scootin’ Kootenay Tours. Hop on a segway with some beefy tires and hit the trails!

And there’s no shortage of mini golf and go karts too!

two people riding horses on a trail in the forest

Where to Stay in Radium Hot Springs

As I mentioned earlier, my favorite spot for the views is definitely the Radium Chalet. They also have a great sauna and a little continental breakfast. 

My next favorite spot is the Gateway Motel. It’s the most clean place I’ve ever stayed in! It’s a family run business, and the homemade continental breakfast is amazing.

No dry muffins and boring cereal here. We had fresh homemade quiche, scones and fresh fruit!

And it’s pretty much right across the street from the Old Salzburg Restaurant…the perfect stumbling distance after a couple Steigl beers. 

The Gateway Motel all lit up at Christmas

Staying in the BC Kootenays? Check out These 17 Things to Do in Nelson (hint – hippies, hikes and hot springs!)

Useful Tips for Visiting Radium Hot Springs

When staying in the town of Radium Hot Springs, you don’t need a National Park Pass, as you are located just outside of Kootenay National Park.

If you’re going straight to the hot springs pools themselves, you also do not need a park pass if you’re only visiting the pools.

However, you do need a park pass if you’re planning to do more of a visit up Highway 93 to see Olive lake or do some hiking within Kootenay National Park.

If you’re planning to be in the area touring around the national parks nearby, it’s a good idea to stop at the gates on the highways and pick one up.

The weather in Radium Hot Springs is definitely mountain weather, meaning it can change and shift at any time. Summers are always very nice, and it can get very hot as a lot of the bad weather passes directly over the valley.

If you’re visiting in Winter (November to early-April), there will be snow and there can be some dodgy winter driving conditions.

I still recommend visiting in winter, though. Snow-capped mountains and a light dusting of snow in town is straight out of a fairy tale.

My post about travel hacks for visiting the mountain national parks in the winter has you covered!

I’ve written more about other great winter activities and hidden gems in and around Radium Hot Springs and along Highway 93. You can hit them all in one road trip!

And there you have it. Between the pristine landscapes, soothing waters, peace and quiet, fewer crowds and fun activities, there’s tons of reasons why I love Radium Hot Springs!

If you have a little extra time, and visit to Banff National Park is worth the extra drive to get here!

Want more mountain adventures? Check out my other post: How to Choose Between Banff National Park and Jasper National Park.

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