Cave and Basin National Historic Site, Banff

3.9
#3 of 7 in Historic Sites in Banff National Park
The discovery of the thermal mineral springs of Cave and Basin National Historic Site in 1883 was a catalyst for establishing Canada's first national park. Today, you can no longer swim in the hot springs, but you can visit the historic site and view displays about the history of Canada's national parks. Admire the cave surrounded by scenic hiking trails and boasting indoor and outdoor natural pools filled with striking azure waters. Make Cave and Basin National Historic Site a centerpiece of your Banff National Park vacation itinerary, and find what else is worth visiting using our Banff National Park trip planner.
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Cave and Basin National Historic Site Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 3.5
1,266 reviews
Google
4.2
TripAdvisor
  • Hiked here from town and enjoyed the information about the finding of the sulfur springs. Cannot take the waters here but there is bathing close by.  more »
  • We got in for free on Canada Day otherwise, it has a small fee to get in. It had a small cave with a small hot spring and a larger hot spring outside. We looked around at different boards of informati...  more »
  • Good place to visit and offered a lot more than we could explore, most areas were accessible however the hikes were not as I am disabled. The cave and basin along with the displays were fully accessib...  more »
Google
  • Very accessible and informative setup for the place where the national parks system in Canada began. Most of the content isn't about the hot springs/grotto, which is beautiful but can be taken in over a few minutes. Lots of good info and exhibits about both the history of the bathhouse (no longer an option at this particular hot springs) and the parks. The view from this location is also quite nice. Lots of parking available or your can walk from downtown (mostly along the river, very nice). I believe the town shuttle stops there as well. If you have a Canadian national parks pass, BRING IT and got get free entry (there as well as the museum in town). This is not well advertised and seems at odds with the fact that you have to show proof of paying the park entry in your car but it's still the truth :)
  • Kudos to Parks Canada for maintaining this site. Sulfur springs all over globe are tourist attractions and polluted. This one though, is well maintained and clean. To me, a little cave with hot water pool was a pretty sight. If you are expecting a long cave walk then you would be disappointed as this one is just a few meters long. But the view inside is pretty. It is not just the sight that is enthralling but the realization that you are standing at a historic site and the story of the place makes it interesting. I think this place is a must visit at least once. As a biologist you would love this place. You can see little snails clinging to the vegetation and algae in the pools. I was astonished to see minnows swimming on the edges of some of the hot water streams - water must be cooler in those places. Visitors are not allowed to touch the water as it might introduce pathogens that might negatively influence the population of the snails that are a protected species. Overall, a place must visit. Easily accessible by private and public transport.
  • Very cool to see the natural sulfurous pools. I'm glad that this place and its history is being preserved. It wasn't too busy when we went on a weekend in June. Tip: If you have kids (or even if you don't!) ask for the kids activity booklet and submit the last page to a worker to get a free dog tag that says Cave and Basin on it.
  • A pretty cave and small pools of spring water. More valuable as a historical site than one for viewing. Read about the history and look at the old photos and then walk into the area that used to be the pool house and pool and you'll get an amazing sense of how discovery and wonder sparked a movement, of how this site became a tourist draw and then how the preservation of the natural cave and snails became the priority. What comes next?
  • This place is a little gem full of history. The birth place of Canadian Park system. Plenty of info to read, interactive screens, videos and film of the history. The boardwalk takes you around the site. There is a cave the original site you can go in. The smell of sulfur is strong but that is all part of the experience. The site was not crowded like most other places around the area. The park workers are a wealth of knowledge don't feel like you are bothering them they are there to answer your questions. It only costs a few dollars to get in the site. We spent about 2 hours there.
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22 days in United States & Banff National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 33 days in Canada BY A USER FROM ALGERIA September, culture, beaches, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: September, culture, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 19 days in Canada BY A USER FROM BRAZIL September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 12 days in Canada BY A USER FROM INDIA September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 56 days in Canada BY A USER FROM INDIA November, popular PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 16 days in Calgary BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 58 days in Canada BY A USER FROM ZIMBABWE September, kids, popular PREFERENCES: September, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 57 days in Canada BY A USER FROM BULGARIA November, popular PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 21 days in Canada & New York City BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM July, kids, popular PREFERENCES: July, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in Calgary BY A USER FROM CANADA October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in Canada BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 60 days in Greenland, Canada, United States & Europe BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS January, culture, historic sites, museums, wildlife, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: January, culture, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced
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