Skiing, hiking, mountain sceneries and other outdoor activities are just a few of the many things you can do while not fishing in the Rocky Mountains on the east and the Purcell Mountains on the west. For some, the fall came be more of a challeging time to get out to do some fishing due to weather conditions; so why not hit up some hotsprings!
The Hot Springs of the East Kootenays (See Map 1):
- Banff Area
- Mist Mtn
- White Swan
- Red Rock
- Mutton Cr
- Ram Creek
- Wild Horse
- Fording Mtn
- Buhl Creek
- Dewar Creek
These are the Hot Springs that are in your back yard!! I recommend on your non fishing days to go out and explore them; enjoy the outdoors to the fullest!!!
Few of my friends from Calgary came down to visit us in Cranbrook a few weeks ago. My good friend Serge and Marie are real outdoor enthusiast and love going for hikes. So we made a plan to take the day off from fishing and check out some local hotsprings and take the Jeep for a ride up the mountains. We started researching the local springs and decided to go for Wild Horse Warm Springs. We wanted a little adventure with some off roading and this was definitely a good spot.
To get to these undeveloped springs its quite the rough ride through an old logging road. Anything with short wheel based 4×4 will get you there, so we took the Jeep for a good ride. We packed a lunch and brought some water since it takes about 1hr 30 mins one way. It had just snowed in the hills so we knew going up in altitude we would be some snow. It was a BLAST!! Just what we wanted! An adventure!
Drive to Fort Steele north of Cranbrook on Highway 93/95. Turn right onto Wardner-Fort Steele road (Norbury Lake Provincial Park turnoff) You will see a gas station on your left and about 0.3 km take the first left onto Wild Horse River Forest Service Road that goes downhill. (just before the bridge) After about 7 km’s stay right where the Lakit Lookout road branches left. Once you pass this , the road gets a lil nasty. Drive another 11kms then go left uphill, the East Wild Horse River road branches right and downhill. The road crosses to the east side of Wild Horse River after 3km. In another 5 km, stay left at a Y Junction. You will cross two wooden bridges in a quick succession in 5kms. The second bridge is over the river; there is a cabin above it. After 1.5kms there is another y junction. This is about 28kms and a little over and hour from the highway give or take on driving speed.
Drive another half a km or so down the right hand fork to an open camping area. If you go in the summer you can tell this is a camping area. When we got there just looked liked a small open area with snow. We didn’t think that it was the spot so we kept driving down the trail. It got real exciting, we were doing some serious off road snow driving. The 4 low came out and we just loved the rough ride until we hit this one spot where we had about 2 feet or snow and no cell service. I can tell the jeep was slipping of rocks and was getting nasty. If we got stuck the boys were pushing and we didn’t want to chance it! Now turning around was another good one. Slowly creeping backwards with bush line at the door we seen a small opening and hammered the gas slammed the breaks and turned the wheel and we did a complete 180. Little rough on the jeep but hey, thats why you buy one! So we went back to our guide and we stopped at the opening and looked at each other. “This must be it” we all said. We all got out and and we looked over the bank and we can see the creek and water flowing. Our directions said to head down to the creek and walk about 100m downstream. No trail, straight bush whacking in 1 foot and half of snow! Seemed like if it were summer time this would be an easy hike, five minutes tops. There it was!! You can tell as we were walking the steam from the water.
Most of the water flowing into Wild Horse River from the east bank is spring water. Warm water pours over a meter high of tufa rocks then into the river while a cold springs also flows at the base of the tufa.
She was a cold one since it snowed. It was like washing your hands under the sink. We went to the top of the tufa bench. Serge was the crazy one that jumped in, “I’m here I might as well go in “ a waist deep soaking pool that is roughly 5ft by 8ft. You can see the bubbles coming from the bottom, which was pretty cool. We chatted for a while and just took it all in. Reminiscing of the hike down was funny because a few of us slipped and fell through the hike in the snow. It wall all worth it just to be there.
To know that this spring is just around the corner, makes me want to write it down on my “Bucket list” for next summer to hit up all the springs in the East Kootenays. It’s a possible thing to do if you like hiking and adventuring! We all had a blast of a time and definitely will be going back there in the summer! Imagine a good morning of fishing in world class rocky mountain waters then to finish the day off with a dip in a local hotspring! Got to love the Kootenay lifestyle!
Check out some of the pics that we took! It will make you want to do it ASAP!! If you need further directions please feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org