Banff Upper Hot Springs History



  • Pre-1880’s: Indigenous people used the hot springs, these were their sacred places.

  • 1883: Canadian Pacific Railway workers discovered the Cave and Basin Hot Springs, at the foot of Sulphur Mountain. The discovery captured the attention of the nation and led to the creation of Banff National Park.


  • 1884: Europeans visited the Upper Hot Springs for the first time.


  • 1885: Creation of Canada's first national park, Banff National Park, established in large part to protect the Hot Springs because of its importance to Canada and its people.


  • 1886: Construction of the first log shack and the Grand View Villa and bathhouse, later known as the Grand View Hotel.


  • 1901: Grand View Villa was destroyed by fire and rebuilt.


  • 1904: Construction of the first government facility at the Upper Hot Springs, on the site of today's Rimrock Resort. The facility offered two cement plunge basins, several bath tubs and a 7.2 m x 7.2 m swimming basin.


  • 1915: The Upper Hot Springs road opened to motorists.


  • 1931: The Grand View Villa burned again. The federal government acquired the lease for the property and began work on the Upper Hot Springs bathhouse, as part of the unemployment relief projects. The Banff Upper Hot Springs bathhouse is a Registered Federal Heritage Building, declared by the Government of Canada.


The Heritage Character Statement


  • 1932: On July 1, the Upper Hot Springs bathhouse opened, complete with sulfur water swimming pool, plunge baths, steam rooms, tubs, showers and dressing rooms. Its splendour rivaled the famous spas of Europe.


  • 1961: The pool was reconstructed and the interior of the bathhouse modified.


  • 1995: Restoration of the bathhouse to its 1932 appearance occurred. The restored bathhouse opened in August 1996 with a new spa. Restaurant and gift shop, as added services.