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British Columbia Vacations
Kootenay & the Rockies
Distinctive Tours

A Route That's Bound To Get You Into Hot Water

If you've never had the pleasure of soaking in hot springs, you're in for a real treat. There are three to try along this route, along with a little golfing and sightseeing.

The Hot Springs Tour

1 Start your tour in the beautiful Invermere/Windermere area, located between two hot spring resorts. North along Highway 93/95 is Radium Hot Springs. Here you can soak in two outdoor pools. The temperature of the steamy, odourless mineral water averages 35C (95F). To the south along the same highway lies Fairmont Hot Springs. Open year round, it has two hot springs mineral pools which average 40C (104F).

2 From Fairmont Hot Springs, travel south along Highway 95 to Kimberley, the highest city in Canada. A ski resort paradise in winter, it offers incredible skiing. In the summer, the Sullivan Mine & Railway Historical Society provides a narrated 7.5 km (5 miles) rail journey between downtown Kimberley and the Alpine Resort. Learn about Kimberley's mining history.

3 Head south again on Highway 95A towards Cranbrook to Fort Steele, an 1890s gold rush town and one of the first headquarters of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Fort Steele offers horse-drawn wagon rides and live shows at the Wild Horse Theatre.

4 A side trip to Fernie Alpine resort, east on Highway 3, offers some of the best powder ski conditions anywhere in winter. And in summer, there's the beauty of the Elk Valley and abandoned mines to explore.

5 At Creston, turn north on Highway 3A to the Crawford Bay/Kootenay Bay area. Here you can golf on a championship course, the "Emerald of the Rockies", before taking a free, 45-minute ferry ride across Kootenay Lake from Kootenay Bay to Balfour. From Balfour, head north to explore the Cody Caves Provincial Park. From June to October, guided tours take you on an easy 20-minute hike to explore the stalagmite and stalactite-filled caves. Then, enjoy a soothing soak in the Ainsworth Hot Springs.

6 Head south on Highway 3A to Nelson, a charming turn-of-the-century town with beautifully restored Victorian buildings. Situated on Kootenay Lake and surrounded by the Selkirk Mountains, Nelson is like a tiny, perfect jewel in a spectacular setting. Browse art galleries, relax in outdoor cafes and ride a streetcar on a tour of the waterfront.

7 Continue southwest on Highway 3A and end your tour in Castlegar, where you can visit the Doukhobor Historical Village and see how these Russian refugees lived. If you haven't had your fill of soothing mineral soaks on this hot springs tour, there are three more in the region to try at Nakusp, Halcyon and Canyon.

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