Upper Hot Springs
Naturally flowing thermal water is what first drew tourists to Banff, and visitors have been taking the waters here since 1884, not long after three off-duty Canadian Pacific Railway workers discovered hot springs at what is now known as Cave and Basin National Historic Site. In 1886, a log bathhouse was built farther up Sulphur Mountain, about where The Rimrock now sits. That was replaced in 1932 with a picturesque stone-and-shingle bathhouse with grand views of Mount Rundle. The bathhouse and pool get crowded at times, but soaking in the springs is a Banff tradition, and if it’s privacy you want, you can have the place to yourself for an hour before or an hour after regular hours for about $260 Canadian ($190).
Nearby, the Banff Gondola offers spectacular views of the Bow and Spray valleys and six mountain ranges from glass-enclosed cars that climb 2,300 feet to the top of 7,486-foot Sulphur Mountain. Scenic hiking trails extend from the summit, including a steep three-mile one that leads back to the base.