For individual leisure travellers see daily activities.

Experience nature, culture and history just minutes from Banff Avenue. Impressive architecture, bubbling mineral waters, and an accessible underground cave gave rise to a huge idea, the birthplace of Canada’s national parks—one of Canada’s most treasured icons.

  • Year round
  • Program lasts 1 hour
  • Group reservations are required
  • GST included
  • Program Fee $73.60 per group of 28 max, per hour per interpreter $3.40/person, starting January 2018

As the birthplace of Canada’s National Parks, Cave and Basin NHS connects visitors to the essence of Banff National Park, through nature, culture and history. The sulphurous hot springs were used by First Nations for millennia, gathering here for trade and bathing in the healing waters. When the springs were “re-discovered” in 1883, they soon became a major draw for international visitors. On the Discovery Tour, visitors dip their hands in steamy thermal waters, take an easy boardwalk stroll over pristine marshlands, and learn about Banff's storied past all in the location that started one of the world’s greatest conservation movements.

On a five-stop guided outdoor journey, learn how three railway workers discovered liquid gold in the form of thermal pools; experience the grandeur of the 1914 historic bathing pavilion where swimmers first dipped their toes in the warm waters, leading to the later development of world-famous Banff Upper Hot Springs. After the tour, explore the interactive exhibits of Story Hall and enjoy a giant 4-screen, HD journey through Canada’s stunning protected areas and see the dancing lights of the underground Cave, the place that started it all.

Independent leisure travellers can explore the site at their own pace. Visit the events calendar for new exhibits, special events, and activities.


Special Notes

  • Group reservations are required
  • This experience is outdoors, be prepared, weather can change at any time
  • Site has limited accessibility; Discovery Tour includes stairs and boardwalks, please inquire for accessible Discovery Tour
  • Maximum 28 per guide
Travel trade
  • Suitable for large groups, maximum 28 per guide
  • Suitable for small groups
  • Suitable for FIT(Fully Independent Travelers)
  • Group reservations are required
  • Available in French upon request
  • Motorcoach parking available
  • Washrooms on site
  • Gift shop located in Welcome Centre
Canadian Signature Experience canadienne distinctive

This experience is part of Destination Canada’s Canadian Signature Experiences collection, which shows the world the best that Canada has to offer. See all of Parks Canada’s Canadian Signature Experiences