Cave & Basin National Historic Site

sights / Historic

Cave & Basin National Historic Site information

Banff Town , Canada
Cave Ave
+1 403 403 762 1557
adult/child $3.90/1.90
Opening hours
10am-5pm daily May-Oct, noon-4pm Wed-Sun Oct-May
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Attention. National Historic Site ahead. The Canadian National Park system was effectively born at these hot springs, discovered accidently by three Canadian Pacific Railway employees on their day off in 1883, but known to Aboriginals for 10,000 years. Uncovering a thermal gold mine, the springs quickly became a bun fight for private businesses who offered facilities for bathers to enjoy the then trendy thermal treatments.

To avert an environmental catastrophe, the government stepped in, deciding to declare Banff Canada's first national park in order to preserve the springs. You can't swim here any more, but the site ropened as an impressive museum in May 2013 after a two-year restoration. Viewable is the original cave, the old outdoor springs and bathhouse (closed in 1971) and a lovingly curated cinematic display of Parks Canada's cache of 42 national parks. Leading out from the complex are two trails: an interpretive walk along boardwalks to the cave vent, and the 2.5km Marsh Loop Trail across the park's only natural river marsh.