Cave and Basin National Historic Site, Banff

3.9
#2 of 6 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 4.0
1,374 reviews
Google
4.2
TripAdvisor
  • We started the day off riding the Roam bus up to the Site which made it easy to get here. They do have a huge parking lot so parking was not an issue. They have a self guided tour you can do with lots...  more »
  • Great views, a space to touch the spring water, a little walk through history. Our family of 4, two adults and two teens, enjoyed it. Well worth going up to.  more »
  • We had cave and basin on our list and really enjoyed seeing it and learning about the formation. A very helpful Canada Parks guide also answered questions for us. For me I was pleasantly surprised to ...  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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