Cave and Basin National Historic Site

Cave and Basin National Historic Site

Cave and Basin National Historic Site
4
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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Duration: 1-2 hours
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  • Jordan Leanne
    Calgary, Canada17 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great to be a part of history
    A fascinating site, as the beginning of Canada’s national park series, with lots of info boards and displays. It’s amazing that both the cave and basin are accessible, the restorations to demonstrate changes of use through history have be carried out thoughtfully. The conservation efforts are a big feature too! At the time of my visit, there was also various free winter carnival activities included, and the boardwalks including further historic sites also gave an extra way to spend time.
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written March 28, 2023
  • Jody M
    103 contributions
    3.0 of 5 bubbles
    Much smaller than expected
    I guess I was expecting much more from the photos I’ve seen. There is a small pool inside that is shown in most of the advertising but it was much smaller than I thought it would be. There is some museum type displays but not overly interesting I’m afraid. There is another small pool outside. Most interesting was the games set up where the lower hot springs used to be.
    Visited March 2023
    Written April 7, 2023
  • Jamie H-D
    Poole, United Kingdom696 contributions
    3.0 of 5 bubbles
    Was expecting it to be bigger…
    An interesting part of Canada’s National Parks history as it is the start of it after all, we were very interested in the Banff Springs Snail and how it can live in the pools. The ‘Winter Carnival’ was on when we visited which added to the experience but as wonderful as the surroundings and history are it’s a little underwhelming as there isn’t a huge amount to do or explore within the main cave & basin area itself, although you can go up a few elevations. Be prepared for the very strong smell of sulphur (of course), we knew it would be intense, but this was something else entirely. Maybe consider having some refreshments, possibly in the winter a warm drink offering, such as coffee, to keep visitors at this important location for longer.
    Visited April 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written April 10, 2023
  • gsgman777
    Columbia, Illinois719 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Unique and smelly with nice trails
    This stop was right in town and had great facilities and trails around it. These are sulfur hot springs so it does have the rotten egg smell. There is plenty of parking with a nice gift shop. A small museum before you enter the cave. The cave itself is small and a short visit.
    Visited May 2023
    Written June 6, 2023
  • MPP2703
    Caythorpe, United Kingdom1,767 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Take a nose peg, definitely worth a visit
    What a lovely (if smelly) place and free if you have an annual NP pass. The cave and basin is interesting and stinky. What makes this more fun are the nice trails both above and below the cave. Parking can be an issue, but there is a bus up from town. Definitely worth a visit.
    Visited June 2023
    Written June 18, 2023
  • rogersober
    Clermont, Florida28,530 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Pricey Find
    A bit more than we thought for a grotto and pond. The snails are micro. The exhibit hall in back was a disturbing exhibit of a World War One concentration camp in Canada for prisoners mainly from Ukraine? Wild.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written July 28, 2023
  • Ldyanghara
    Trabuco Canyon, California11 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The cave is amazing, a must see!
    I loved seeing this cave!! You enter the building and there is a tunnel taking you to the cave, It has a waterfall of water leaving the pool, the pool water is a gorgeous blue, the rock structures around the pool are really cool, and there is a hole at the top of the cave with light coming in. It is serene and beautiful inside. When you exit the building into the exterior area there is an outdoor mineral pool fed from the cave that is gorgeous and it is endangered snails in it. You can walk around the property, there are multiple levels of balconies to get cool pictures from. They have some cool exhibits inside and a great video that plays telling you the history of the area and the hot spring. I highly recommend it!
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written August 2, 2023
  • SJH
    226 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth a visit
    Always free parking - only an 18 min walk to town. Historical and stinky. Very nice boardwalk, worth walking around and reading the signs. Make sure you do the boardwalk on top too. We also paid extra for the lantern tour: Very in character, very immersive, let you do things you couldn't do on a self-guided tour. Very informative. Not a lot of walking (except up the hill to get here)
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written August 27, 2023
  • Vincent C
    253 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Nice Historic Site
    Very educational and historic location. The views along the boardwalk were nice and the walk was easy. Since it is a natural hot spring area; espect some sulfur smell. We did the Sundance Canyon hike afterwards and it was NOT worth the time to get there.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written September 11, 2023
  • Marc W
    Weymouth, United Kingdom1,396 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Intersting
    If you are in Banff, then it's worth a look. We were staying locally and had a Parks Canada pass so the entry was free. We walked from Banff, it's a nice pleasant 20ish minute walk, and then got a bus back which costs just $2 per person. There's a lot of info to read and big screens with films to watch and a small thermal pool indoors. Outside there's a lovely walk up to the other thermal pools. However, the top one is very small! We did have a good chat with a member of staff about the endangered snails that live in the pools, this was very interesting.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written October 3, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles1,606 reviews
Excellent
598
Very good
636
Average
280
Poor
65
Terrible
27

Nick G
Avoncliff, UK65 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
The cave itself, the basin, and the sign boarded access from the walkway above, were fascinating.
Unfortunately the presentation was terrible: the video projected on 4 large screens contained no information about the hot springs - it was all about other parks in Canada. The smaller screens offered four stories, only one of which was about Banff, and even then not about the springs. What a wasted opportunity - it could have told the story of the 'discovery' and subsequent exploitation and development.
The covering up of the bathing pool is disastrous, and the games on top just detract from the atmosphere. Why not leave the pool as it was, perhaps with a transparent cover to protect it?
Our guide was quiet and lacking in confidence, and showed us only what we could see for ourselves, with the one exception that he pointed out the tiny snails in the pond. He didn't show us the upper access at all.
The website banffandbeyond.com states that there is a café on site, but there was no food available beyond a tube of Pringles.
I should add that the guy who sold us tickets was very friendly and helpful.
Written February 5, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

FarAway08622167258
1 contribution
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Family
Good place to stop and learn something about Banff Hotspring. Have some games to play with families.
Written January 20, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Stewarts Vacation
1,035 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Couples
We did not go into the historic site. We were keen to explore the area outdoors. The Roam bus (Yellow route 4) was efficient transport from our hotel to the Cave and Basin bus stop, right outside the information building at the car park. It was an uphill walk to the historic site and the start of the Marsh boardwalk - our intended walk. We had read that the warm spring water makes the plant and animal life in this area unique. We didn't see any birds (even from the bird hide) or aquatic life, but did see the white and green algae and a little squirrel posing on a fence! It was a pleasant walk. The path was well maintained and clearly signposted, with informative boards along the way. There were 4 trails of differing lengths which would be great to explore if time allowed.
Written November 19, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SeniorTravelerTF
Fort Atkinson1,199 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
Interesting in itself, with numerous exhibits and signage describing the features. To maximize the experience, see the movie in the building near the pool, easy to overlook as it is not marked well. And, most important, walk past the pool and see the building dedicated to immigrant detainees during the World Wars. That is also not publicized or particularly well marked, so note it for yourself. A big plus, Cave and Basin is on the outstanding bus service in town. Drops you off right at the door and very little wait between buses. There is an admission charge if you don't have the annual Discovery national park pass. Note that the hot springs baths are nearby, one stop away, so you can easily combine the two if you wish.
Written October 31, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kaz M
Sans Souci, Australia520 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Friends
Received a recommendation to play a visit. A worthwhile stop and very interesting indeed.

The guide and information shared was great. Also the display and audio with screen shots are amazing.

The costumes and history is brilliant.
Written October 28, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ems_jls
Marlboro, NJ128 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Couples
The cave with the hot spring is compelling, although the sulphurous smell caused one of us to bail. The outdoor spring pool is very nice and the ranger did a good job of talking about it. The exhibit hall had a large-screen film playing, it was okay. Then behind the other buildings was a special exhibit on the WWI prisoner camps that were in the area, unusual aspect and very interesting.
Written October 14, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SarahandRichP
Bromley, UK227 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
As my very hard to please husband said, it was a school trip very worth doing!

This not a huge attraction but what is there is interesting, made all the more fascinating by the 1.30pm free tour. The guide was absolutely brilliant and her passion for the place really helped explain the importance of what we were looking at.

If you're looking for a few hours to fill this is a lovely bit of local history
Written October 6, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Fray
Oxford, UK9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Solo
I loved this place! It stars with a short introduction on the history of the Banff area, and the national park, plus some information about the geology of the springs. Then you proceed through a tunnel to the cave spring, which is simply incredible (and sulphurous!). Outside there are some boardwalk trails around the area where you can see the springs and there are spectacular views across Banff from there. This place is also the only home to a special snail, which I loved.
Written October 6, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Marc W
Weymouth, UK1,396 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
If you are in Banff, then it's worth a look.

We were staying locally and had a Parks Canada pass so the entry was free. We walked from Banff, it's a nice pleasant 20ish minute walk, and then got a bus back which costs just $2 per person.

There's a lot of info to read and big screens with films to watch and a small thermal pool indoors. Outside there's a lovely walk up to the other thermal pools. However, the top one is very small!

We did have a good chat with a member of staff about the endangered snails that live in the pools, this was very interesting.
Written October 3, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Phone A
1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Family
very disappointed in the cave and basin experience! The cave walk must be about 200M max in length in a 36" wide corridor, if you are over 5'6 expect to be ducking a good portion of the way to prevent banging your head. I saw many seniors with canes trying to get through this dimly lit path and I was a bit worried about their safety. The stench of sulfur in such a tiny space is overpowering and the pool of water is so small and not as beautiful blue as so many internet pictures make it look! Basin outside also not spectacular in any way. These both looked like man made ponds that did not deserve recognition. Best part of the cave and basin for us was stopping to play life-sized snakes and ladders outside in the courtyard. You are NOT ALLOWED to touch the hot springs water (this includes on the boardwalk paths which are free to walk around the cave and basin). I understand the logic but for me not being able to feel the warm water trickling down the mountain side makes it no more special than any other fabulous hiking spot in Banff. For me, I would not recommend going here unless you have a few days in Banff and are hitting all the spots. For just a day trip, you will see so much more beauty if you park at bow falls viewpoint and do the art walk along the bow river which will bring you right to the downtown core. An easy walk and lots to see.
Written September 19, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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CAVE AND BASIN NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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