Hot Springs – Radium & Fairmont, B.C.

It started raining as we drove away from Invermere (Tuesday, July 12). Even so, the views on our drive to Radium Hot Springs were spectacular, with the outlines of the distant hills softened by mist.

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River view from a Highway 95 pullout (© 2016 by V. Nesdoly)

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Another Highway 95 vista (Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly)

Radium Hot Springs is outside of the town of Radium. It’s a Parks Canada-managed park. Maybe that’s why the grounds and the building that house the facilities look frumpy—old and in need of a facelift.

I don’t know exactly what I expected of the hot springs. Maybe some steaming sylvan pool in the cedars, bordered by ferns, outdoorsy and romantic. That’s not what this is.

A bath in the hot springs involves a soak in a turquoise pool that looks for all the world like a giant hot tub. (I didn’t take photos because I can’t imagine unsuspecting takers-of-the-waters would appreciate finding their creamy guts and thighs displayed on a stranger’s blog.)

However, this lovely mural (behind glass), in the building’s lobby, pictures Radium Hot Springs more like I had imagined them.

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Aboriginal families enjoy Radium – Mural (Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly)

Thirty-six kilometres from Radium Hot Springs are the Fairmont Hot Springs. We drove there next.

These springs have been commercially developed. The hot pool is on the grounds of the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort with lots of cabins, timeshares, and camping facilities all around. Even on this cloudy day, the lineup to get into the pool was long.

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Hot pool at the Fairmont Resort (Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly)

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Poolside area – Fairmont Resort (Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly)

Behind the hotel hubby and I found a bridge that took us over a stream. On the other side we descended to a path that followed the watercourse.

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Walking path that follows the stream behind the Fairmont Resort (Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly)

Splattering falls sprayed from the cliff-top, tumbling and dripping over the mossy rocks. At one point we noticed what looked like crude bowls someone had constructed to catch the hot spring-warmed water.

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Thermally heated water fills homemade pools below the rocks (Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly)

This detail of the above photo shows the lower pool quite clearly.

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Detail shows green pool in the foreground (Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly)

There was another pool further up (judging from this trio of  disembodied heads, visible about the rocks). It looked to us like the gents used a crude log bridge to cross the stream to get to their authentic hot spring experience.

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Heads of bathers in top pool (Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly)

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Log bridge crosses the stream to the natural hot pools (Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly)

By now it was time for lunch.We walked back to the parking lot, found a table on the Fairmont grounds and ate the picnic we had brought with us in our cooler.

Before heading to my sister’s home in Kimberley, we made one more stop—at Canal Flats. We didn’t find much of stores or interesting shops in this sleepy sawmill town. But we did follow some “Beach” signs. They led us eventually to this groomed and tidy beach on Columbia Lake.  It was pretty much deserted, except for a parking lot attendant, who was there to make sure all users paid. We assured her we were “just looking” and quickly skedaddled.

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Canal Flats beach on Columbia Lake (Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly)

 

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