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Cave and Basin National Historic Site

The historic site of the Cave and Basin is the very reason that Banff National Park exists. Here, guests are brought into the rich history of Banff and the discovery of the hot springs through interactive exhibits, film presentations, and unique artifacts. This educational museum is a must for visitors who want to get a peak into the very beginnings of what is now the Canadian National Park system. Discover the place where it all started hundreds of years ago.

The History of The Cave and Basin

The first recorded reference of the hot springs before it became The Cave And Basin was in 1859 from the Indigenous community who knew of its existence for thousands of years. In the 1880s, railway workers discovered steam venting from a crack in the rocks on the side of what is Sulphur Mountain today. In 1883, the railway workers descended into the cavern through the skylight entrance using a felled tree and soon, the commercialization of the site began. After several conflicting claims to the site that resulted in the Canadian government getting involved, a 26 square km area was established in 1885. It was named the Banff Hot Springs Reserve, ultimately becoming the official birth of Canadian National Parks.

How Much Time to Spend at the Cave and Basin

To get the most out of your visit, reserve an hour to see the hot springs and walk through the museum’s displays. The Rundlestone Lodge is about a 10-minute drive to the Cave and Basin, allowing guests who stay in Banff the convenience of nearby sites and amenities. Once at the site, a short tunnel leads to the cavern that houses the hot springs. Hot springs are heated naturally by geothermal activity several kilometres within the ground.

Before you visit The Cave and Basin, here are some information and helpful tips that will enhance your stay:

• Avoid crowds by visiting as early or as late as possible during the day. • Make sure to check out the upper decks that feature beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. • On location, visit the gift shop and cafe. • Account for more time if you decide to walk the surrounding trails. • There is no bathing allowed in the Cave and Basin hot springs.

Banff National Park Today

In 1930, the first park in Canada was officially named Banff National Park. The protected area of the Cave and Basin eventually expanded and the Town of Banff was constructed. Today, The Rundlestone Lodge hosts guests from across the world who come to see the incredible sights and stunning views of The Rocky Mountains. For more historic sites and educational museums like the Cave and Basin, speak to one of our friendly front desk team members at The Rundlestone Lodge who can help guide you to some of the most memorable experiences you’ll encounter.