If you’re looking for a bit of relaxation this fall and winter, a visit to the historic village of Ainsworth Hot Springs (formerly known as ‘Ainsworth’) on Kootenay Lake is definitely warranted.

Known for its healing mineral waters, the hot springs themselves are open to the public year-round. Oh, and there’s a natural 150-foot horseshoe cave you can explore before or after a dip in the pools!

The hot springs were first discovered by the Ktunaza First Nations, who embraced the hot mineral waters (nupika wu’u) for their healing and rejuvenating powers. Now, the property is owned by Yaqan Nukiy, the Lower Kootenay Band of Creston – and the hot springs are a huge draw in the region.

Renovated in 2012 and expanded in 2019, the Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort includes a large lounging pool and a stream-fed cold plunge, according to Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism.

As well, the resort now includes a restaurant and the Spirit Water Spa.

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The pools and natural cave are open to the public by reservation only from 10 am to 7:30 pm Wednesdays through Sundays, and on Mondays from 10 am to 2 pm. Registered hotel guests have complimentary access to the hot springs from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Single entry for adults costs $18 per person, according to the resort’s website.

If you’re looking for even more caving opportunities, head to the nearby Cody Caves Provincial Park. Just north of Ainsworth Hot Springs, the park features multiple ancient limestone caves that visitors can explore via guided tours during the spring, summer, and fall months.

We don’t know about you, but we’re thinking a trip to the caves and mineral waters sounds just about perfect right now.

So there you have it, BC. Happy adventuring and relaxing!

Ainsworth Hot Springs

Where: Central Kootenays, 45 minutes east of Nelson