February 20/19 – Winterlude Part 18 – Banff National Park – Cave and Basin

James Hector of the Palliser Expedition was the first one to report the hotsprings in this area in 1859. In 1875, Joe Healey found the Cave and Basin. In 1883, William McCardell, one of three workers for the Canadian Pacific Railway, descended into the cave, using a felled tree trunk as a ladder. He went for a swim in the pond and shortly thereafter, created a small cabin in an attempt to commercialize the find.

Conflicting claims by others prompted the Canadian Government (Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald) to reserve the area around the Cave and Basin as a National Hotsprings Reserve.

A naturally heated swimming pool opened here in 1914 and continued to operate until 1994. Today the site is a Parks Canada interpretive site with access to the cave by paid admission or Parks pass. The upper trails and ponds can be accessed for free.


We wandered here on the upper trails briefly, but after our long canyon walk, interest for further walking and exploration quickly flagged.

reconstruction of the pool enclosure
Replica facade of the early cabin
Protective grate over original entrance to cave
ponding hot spring waters
hot spring ponds on upper trail
warm reflections
frozen in time
winter rose hips
access to the interpretive center, with Union Jack flying

8 thoughts on “February 20/19 – Winterlude Part 18 – Banff National Park – Cave and Basin

    1. Sulphur Mountain Hot Springs are still open up near the gondola, but the Cave and Basin only stayed open a few years after it was totally renovated. Pity. We wanted to walk up higher on the paths to see the endangered snails that live there, but we deferred to our low energy level. Allan


  1. I would love to visit Banff in winter because snow just adds that extra bit of magic, but I haven’t had a chance to persuade my husband yet. I’ve tried everything, playing ice hockey on frozen Lake Louise including, but no luck so far! Maybe one day 😀 Thanks for sharing and stay safe 😊 Aiva

    Liked by 1 person

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