The hot water is again flowing through the Banff Upper Hot Springs.
Having dried up last winter, the water began gushing again on Saturday, May 21 and on Tuesday, May 24, it had registered at 30°C. Donna Cook, marketing coordinator for the Canadian Rockies Hot Springs, said once it goes up a few more degrees – ideally to 39°C or40°C – it will be put in the pool.
“This is typical in the spring. It’s usually cooler because the surrounding water dilutes it a bit,” she said. “We’re excited to let visitors know they can come and pretty soon it’ll be mineral water.”
The Upper Hot Springs have run dry or seen dramatically reduced flows at least twelve times in the last fifteen years, forcing Parks Canada to fill the thermal pool with municipal water.
The only other documented times the Upper Hot Springs have completely stopped running were 1970 and 1923.
The thermal waters are driven vertically over 2,000 meters through a big crack in the layers of rock, called the Sulphur Mountain thrust fault. During this remarkably long journey from deep in the earth’s crust, water is heated, pressurized and laden with a myriad of minerals;
More than 300,000 people a year soak in the pool’s waters.
Cook said people don’t seem to mind bathing in heated municipal water, saying it’s more about the overall experience after a day on the ski hills or on the hiking trails.
“People aren’t coming for a miracle cure like they did 100 years ago. The values people have today for hot springs include relaxing, nice scenery and spending time with family,” she said.
“That’s something we can still provide, whether it’s 100 percent mineral springs or not.”
“We’re thrilled it’s back. We want to invite everyone to come and enjoy it.”