Banff may be world famous for its breathtaking mountains and glistening blue lakes, but it was a small cave and its thermal waters that spurred the creation of Canada’s first national park, Banff, in 1885.
Cave and Basin is the lowest of nine natural hot springs on Sulphur Mountain, its water bubbling up from 3 km underground. The cave is not very big (but not claustrophobic either) and there is a small viewing area where you can sit and watch the turquoise water sparkle. I was so mesmerized by the colours and rock formations that we probably spent way too much time inside the cave. For the next few hours afterwards, we could still smell the scent of sulphur in our hair and clothes!
Besides the cave, there is plenty more to see at Cave and Basin National Historic Site including exhibits about Banff’s past and Canada’s national parks. Outside you can admire a steaming thermal water basin, see the deck where a pool used to be and take a stroll along a boardwalk crossing over marshland.