In the heart of the Kootenay wilderness is the community of Ainsworth Hot Springs. Set into the mountainside overlooking the vast expanse of Kootenay Lake and the Purcell Mountains is Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort, which features three odourless pools, a unique 150-foot horseshoe-shaped cave, main lounging pool, and stream-fed cold plunge. A highlight of the natural hot springs is the horseshoe cave, where the darkness, the mineral deposits, and the humidity all combine to offer an exhilarating experience.
The hot steamy, odourless shower of mineralized water falls from the cave’s roof and forms a waist-deep pool, providing a rejuvenating natural steam bath. Gallons of hot mineral water flows through the pools, changing the water naturally about six times per day. The hot springs are heated naturally and vary in temperature between 40-42°C (104-114°F) in the Cave, 35-38°C (96-101°F) in the Pool, and 4-10°C (40-50°F) for the Cold Plunge. The springs originate in the Cody Caves area, which is directly above and to the west of Ainsworth Hot Springs. The water works its way down through porous rock to a depth of 1-1/2 to 2 kilometres. The water picks up temperature at a rate of 40 C° per kilometre down until it strikes what is known as the lakeshore fault. This fault is an impervious layer of rock lying at an angle of 45 to 50 degrees from Ainsworth Hot Springs to a point directly below the Cody Caves. Hydraulic pressure forces the water up along the fault where it emerges at Ainsworth Hot Springs.
The caves are old mine tunnels carved out by miners attempting to increase the flow of hot water from the springs. Visitors can explore the cave’s tunnels and stalactites, relax on a hot ledge, find the natural hot shower, or have a natural sauna. Ainsworth is open year-round, and is popular with families and local residents wishing to linger in the soothing waters and play in this exhilarating wilderness playground. The pools provide the perfect place to relax and enjoy some of West Kootenay’s majestic scenery – the Purcell Mountains and Kootenay Lake.
Ainsworth Hot Springs was probably first discovered by First Nations People, who came up to Kootenay Lake in the late summer mainly to take advantage of the Kokanee Salmon run and the ripening of the huckleberry crop. Native use of the soothing pools probably continued for decades until they guided the first prospectors to the pools. In 1882, George Ainsworth of Portland, Oregon, applied for a pre-emption of the townsite that is now Ainsworth Hot Springs.
Any time is a good time to visit Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort, but the cool, crisp air on winter days provides a delightful contrast to the warmth and humidity in the caves.
The Ainsworth Hot Springs are located near the community of Ainsworth Hot Springs, located on Highway 31 on the western shore of Kootenay Lake, 11 miles (17 km) north of Balfour and 12 miles (20 km) south of Kaslo.
Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort
P.O Box 1268
Ainsworth Hot Springs, BC
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