Thursday, September 26, 2019

Autumn Family Fun at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

We love Fairmont Hot Springs year round, but autumn is definitely one of our favourite times to visit once the crowds start to thin out and the temperatures drop, creating ideal conditions for enjoying a soak in the hot mineral pools.

Natural hot springs at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort in the Waterfall Pools

We recently spent a long weekend camping at the Fairmont Hot Springs RV Resort, exploring both the public and natural hot springs around the resort, trying out some of the resort activities including mini golf and ziplining, biking on fabulous trails nearby, and exploring the Columbia valley.


The waterfall pool down below the RV campground is currently not accessible due to flooding and trail erosion. 

Also, there are no diving boards currently open in the hot springs cold pool and the dive tank has been closed due to ongoing post-pandemic challenges.

5 Activities to Try at Fairmont Hot Springs this Fall

1. Camping or glamping at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

The Fairmont Hot Springs RV Resort is open for reservations through the Thanksgiving weekend and then on a first come first serve basis after that. This is a very convenient place to camp if you want to spend a weekend soaking in the hot springs several times a day. You can purchase day pass for the hot pools and you'll receive a discount when you stay at the RV Resort. 

From the RV Resort we enjoyed running over to the hot pools in our bathrobes, and we were nice and close to the natural pools as well so we could go enjoy them first thing in the morning or in the evening - having the waterfall pools or the historic bath pools all to ourselves!

Camp at the Fairmont RV Resort and have the natural waterfall hot pools all to yourself in the morning!

We also enjoyed the comfortable amenities at the RV Resort including full hook ups with power, and water. 

Note that the RV Resort does not allow tents though, so if you do not have a trailer, you'll have to camp down the road at the Spruce Grove Riverside Campground (still a great place to camp, but you'll have  to drive to the hot springs.)

Alternately, try one of the new mountain view cabins where you'll get more of a glamping experience! You can read more about our stay in one of these deluxe cabins in my previous story: Five Reasons you need to Visit Fairmont Hot Springs Resort with your family.

- and note if you stay in one of the cabins, you'll get unlimited access to the hot springs pools with your stay.

Enjoy the deluxe RV experience at the Fairmont Hot Springs RV Resort

2. Flying through the air on a Mineral Mountain Zipline Tour

We've tried a lot of zipline tours and my son would admit that he's a bit of a zipline junkie. The challenge of trying so many different zipline adventures though is that it becomes harder and harder to get a real thrill as each tour blends with previous ones.
Flying high on the Mineral Mountain Ziplines

Previous experience aside though, the Mineral Mountain Zipline Tour absolutely impressed my family. It was hands down one of the best zipline tours we've enjoyed in Canada and was not at all what I expected going in.

With 6 zipline crossings, I was expecting a "cute little family tour" that would be perfect for beginners or maybe those afraid of heights wanting to challenge themselves. The Mineral Mountain Ziplines are the REAL DEAL though! Young and old will find this zipline adventure to be thrilling and exhilarating as you fly high above a canyon up in the hills above the hot spring resort.

Our tour started with a van ride up to the zipline course which is located near the ski resort above the hot springs. We warmed up on two short practice crossings, and then the real fun began as we progressed from a 30-metre high crossing all the way up to a 60+ metre high crossing. The shortest practice line was 41 metres long and by the end, we were able to enjoy a crossing that took nearly a full minute to complete at 470 metres in length!

The Mineral Mountain Zipline Tours run from May through October so make sure you book a tour for the family if you're going to be out this way over Thanksgiving. It's recommended you pre-book your tour time to ensure they have space for your family. 

Our whole family enjoyed this adventure!

Other things to note:

  • The tour takes 1.5 to 2 hours to complete

  • This is a "no hands" tour meaning you don't have to do anything! The guides do everything for you and you don't even have to hold on while you cross. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.

  • All guests need to wear closed-toe footwear (so leave the flip flops or sandals in the car.) I also recommend athletic shoes rather than ballet flats! One woman in our group nearly lost one of her slipper type shoes.

  • You'll have a very short hike between two of the crossings at the end, but it only took us maybe 10 minutes, and you certainly don't need to be in peak physical condition or anything.

  • Anybody can join a zipline tour here as long as you weigh between 50 and 265 pounds.

  • You are welcome to bring a cell phone with you for photos or another camera that you can secure when in the air. And if you don't have a pocket for your phone, you can borrow a special holder for it to wear during your tour.

No hands required and you can fly upside down!

3. Playing endless rounds of mini golf at the resort

My son said our recent trip to Fairmont Hot Springs was one of his summer highlights and I know it was largely because of the amazing mini golf course that we discovered at the resort. I think it's safe to say we'll never be able to pop in for a day to soak in the hot springs without pleas to also stop for a round of mini golf.

Mini golf at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

There is an upper 9 hole mini golf course that you'll see while driving up to the hot pools, but what you don't see is the amazing 18 hole course down in the trees. It was both fun and challenging, and each hole was unique. We also appreciated that we got to play both courses for the same price.

Mini Golf and Equipment Rentals are available through the fall season and can be purchased through the Activity and Experience Centre located inside the main building of Fairmont Hot Springs Resort.

Lower 18 hole mini golf course at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

4. Soaking in the resort hot springs and surrounding mineral pools  

Enjoying the Public Resort Pools

We spent hours in the hot pools at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort when we were here for a weekend. The pools are especially nice first thing in the morning while you wait for the air to warm up before heading out on a hike or a bike ride. They also feel good at the end of the day after you've been out exploring.

And if you haven't been here recently, you're in for a treat when you see the upgrades that have been made to the pools. There's now a large waterfall sculpture in the hottest pool and I loved the cold water trickling down the side of it. (Feeling ice cold water on your shoulders while your lower body soaks in hot water feels really nice as a contrast of temperatures.)

Read more about the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort Pools here with rates and schedule.

2022 Autumn Updates: 

"Please note that effective September 1, 2022 our pools are no longer open for public access.  Pool access is now available for resort guests (including RV Park and Spruce Grove Campground) and members only.  We very much regret any inconvenience and/or disappointment this circumstance may cause. Memberships are currently available for purchase through our website.
Provincial regulations require us to have a specific number of lifeguards on duty when we are open to the public. Coming out of the pandemic there has been a significant shortage of certified lifeguards. This has been a problem across North America and is due in part to the lack of courses for lifeguard certification during the pandemic. During the summer we have been able to recruit sufficient certified lifeguards to operate as a public pool but many of these positions were filled by students who have now returned to their educational programs.  Because of their departure we can not meet the provincial regulatory requirements for public access.  We hope that by spring 2023 the lifeguard staffing levels will normalize, and we can once again open for public access."

Hot pool with the new waterfall sculpture (dive tank in the background) 

Highlights of visiting the pools at Fairmont Hot Springs (while staying overnight or visiting for the day) include:

  • Side by side pools, one hot and one warm, so the kids can play in the larger "swimming pool" while you soak in the hotter pool. My husband typically likes to hang out with my son in the warm pool while I stick to the hotter one, still able to watch the action and feel like I haven't totally abandoned them.

  • Floatie toys for the kids! The staff bring out large floating toys including boats for the kids to play with in the warm swimming pool.

  • There is a dive tank connected to the warm pool with two diving boards - which are immensely popular with kids! Traditionally they are open until Thanksgiving.

  • There is a large grassy area with lawn chairs where you can cool off between soaks! Great if you want to buy a day pass and spend several hours here. There is also a snack shop on site so you won't go hungry if your visit goes longer than expected.
The kids love the large floatie toys in the Fairmont Hot Springs Swimming Pool

Natural Soaking in the Pools at the Indigenous Historical Baths

I recommend running up to the Indigenous Historical Baths before or after visiting the main public pools.
"The Indigenous Baths, a treasured legacy of our history, were very popular among the Indigenous people and early settlers, including explorer David Thompson.  The stone bathhouse contains three of the original baths and there are several shallow tubs carved out of the tufa rock above the building." Read more here.
Sunset at the Indigenous Historical Baths 

You'll see the small stone house up above the overflow parking lot at the resort. And while you can't go inside the house anymore, you can still soak in the small warm mineral pool that you'll find up on the knoll by the bathhouse. The water isn't "hot" but it's warm enough for a short soak when it's not too cold outside.

I personally recommend coming up here for sunset where you can enjoy views over the valley while you soak.

Small mineral pools by the Indigenous Historical Baths above Fairmont Hot Springs

Natural Soaking in the Waterfall Pools below the Resort 

If you walk into the RV Park, you can drop down into the creek below the public pools. Follow the creek going downstream and you'll come to a large waterfall with several small warm pools. Note this is not the first waterfall you come to which is overflow from the pools themselves and has a sign that warns against swimming.

Warm soaking in the waterfall pools below Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

From where you drop down into the creek from the RV Resort it is approximately a 5 minute walk (at most) until you come to the large waterfall.

 Cross the creek carefully and climb up into the slippery pools. I recommend good water sandals!

Not a bad bathtub for a child when camping!

The water isn't "hot" but is certainly pleasant enough on warm day. And if you want to enjoy these pools without other guests, visit them early in the day.

Kids will have a blast playing in the waterfall pools at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

The waterfall and upper soaking pool

5. Mountain biking or hiking on the Spirit Trail near the resort

You've got to do something between soaks in the hot springs, so I recommend heading out for a hike or a bike ride on the nearby Spirit Trail. The trailhead is a short 10 minute drive from the resort and the trail is relatively flat and easy enough for pushing a Chariot or a good outdoor stroller. 

The Spirit Trail is also great for a family bike ride and it's an easy double track trail. The kids will need to be off training wheels though and you will find a few short hills that you wouldn't notice on foot, but would definitely notice on a bike - especially without gears.

Bike or hike the Spirit Trail as far as you have energy for and then return the same way. If you go far enough you'll reach a narrow canyon section that will turn most families on bikes back. 

Family biking on the Spirit Trail near Fairmont

If you enjoy mountain biking on singletrack trails as a family, I recommend the Teen Spirit Trail which leaves the main Spirit Trail after a few kilometres. Teen Spirit is a 6 km loop that's most enjoyed riding back towards the parking lot. When you finish the loop you'll be back on the Spirit Trail within a couple kilometres of the parking lot. To extend the singletrack riding, continue on  A Little Bit of Spirit which returns you right to the parking lot.

The Teen Spirit Trail would also be pleasant on foot and there are some beautiful views over Columbia Lake from this trail.

Biking along Columbia Lake on the Spirit Trail

Autumn Events at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort 

I highly recommend visiting Fairmont Hot Springs for Thanksgiving where you'll get a second chance at "summer living." The trails are typically snow-free here well through the end of October, the air is warm mid-day, and you might even get to go biking or hiking in shorts and a tank top. 

Fall mornings are always chilly, but that's where the hot springs became appreciated and you'll enjoy camping on site. (And if camping isn't your thing, the resort has many hotel type rooms as well along with several kinds of cabins.)

This was Thanksgiving at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort 2018! 

And for adults thinking of planning a romantic weekend away this fall, check out the Wine in the Alpine Festival that takes place at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort in November! I'm pretty sure this festival is calling my name with a weekend of hot springs, wine, and dry trails for biking! 

Fall looks pretty good when you stay at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort! (Teen Spirit Trail)

Recommended Reading and Resources

The Best of the Columbia Valley (Radium Hot Springs to Invermere - and beyond!) 

Five Reasons you need to Visit Fairmont Hot Springs Resort with your Family 


Disclaimer: Our zipline adventure was hosted by Fairmont Hot Springs Resort and we also received complimentary hot springs access and mini golf during our stay. 

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