Monday, November 30, 2009

The coolest Hot Springs around! Ainsworth!

I recently had occasion to visit one of my favorite places once again.  Ainsworth Hot Springs.  It's located on the western shore of the North arm of Kootenay lake in the Interior of British Columbia.  That's about 1.5 hour drive from the US border where Idaho meets BC at Porthill.  It's about 5 hours North of Spokane Washington.

So, what's so great about it? Well, most hot springs that I've been to are basically giant hot tubs with mineral water in them and no real jets - not much fun in my opinion.  But Ainsworth - while it does also have the usual large warm pool section - also has the reason I go there: the cave!

It's not a natural cave.  It was dug out a long time ago to get to the spring.  It's a horse shoe shaped cave about 7 feet high and about as wide, with a few alcoves leading off of it.  The floor is tiled and the water dept ranges from about 2 to 3 feet.  Over the hundred years or so that the cave has been there with mineral laden steam soaking its walls it has developed a thick coating of fascinating mineral formations like those you would expect to see in a limestone cave that's thousand of years old. And you're allowed to touch these ones!  The walls above the water line are covered in the stuff and it looks amazing in the underwater lights and the steam.  At the back of the cave in the dark is a small waterfall where the really hot water comes in from the depths of the mountain.  Outside the cave, the view overlooking the lake and the mountains is nothing short of spectacular!
For the brave, the cold lunge with water just a bit above freezing dropping into it from a high waterfall is right next to the cave entrance.  May favorite ting is to go through the horseshoe cave until I'm dizzy from the heat, then quickly jump in the cold plunge for a few seconds until it starts to hurt just a little, then get back in the hot water.  It just lights up your nerve endings!  Your whole body gets the most amazing tingle and your heart goes nuts.  This is obviously not recommended for those with medical conditions like high blood pressure, arrhythmia or heart disease!

So if you're ever in the area of Nelson BC, take a side trip and check it out!

Ainsworth Hot Springs


  1. if kids pee in the water does the salt and minerals kill it?

  2. I think we should bring the kids next time - or not - either way was lots of fun. Actually even more people would be better. I wonder if anyone else would want to join us?

    I think a robe and a book might be good to bring next time since it was sooo cold in the wind and so hot in the springs. you need to take lots of breaks or you get faint.


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