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Map of Ainsworth Hot Springs-Balfour

Ainsworth Hot Springs and Balfour are neighbouring unincorporated communities located in the West Kootenays, of British Columbia, Canada.


Ainsworth Hot Springs and Balfour are neighbouring unincorporated communities located about 15 km (9.3 mi) from each other and are situated on the north shore of Kootenay Lake. Ainsworth Hot Springs is best known for its natural hot springs, considered to be the best commercial hot springs in British Columbia, as well as Cody Caves, a network of limestone caves. Balfour, located at the juncture of Kootenay Lake with its West Arm and is the western terminus of the Kootenay Lake Ferry, which at 8 km (5 mi) to Kootenay Bay, is said to be the longest toll-free vehicle ferry in the world.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Balfour is about 35 km (22 mi) east of Nelson on Highway 3A, which takes about 25 minutes. Ainsworth Hot Springs is an additional 15 minutes north of Balfour via Highway 31.

By bus[edit]

By ferry[edit]

Kootenay Lake Ferry

Kootenay Lake Ferry, Balfour–Kootenay Bay (Highway 3A; 35 km (22 mi) east of Nelson or 81 km (50 mi) north of Creston). Daily first departure: 6:30AM-7:10AM (Balfour/Kootenay Bay); daily last departure: 9:40PM/10:20PM (Balfour/Kootenay Bay). This is the longest toll-free ferry in the world. Connects Highway 3A across Kootenay Lake. 35 minutes crossing. Sailings depart from a given side every 1 hour 40 minutes to 1 hour 50 minutes, though this increases for most of the day up to every 40 to 50 minutes during the summer. Free. Kootenay Lake ferry on Wikipedia The ferry crosses crosses Kootenay Lake between 1 Balfour and 2 Kootenay Bay, a distance of about 8 km (5 mi) apart. Sailings depart about every 50 minutes during the summer and every 100 minutes during the winter. The schedule is subject to change and there can be delays during peak times.

Drivers coming from Creston and points-east wishing to bypass the ferry can take the Crowsnest Highway (Highway 3) west to Salmo, across Kootenay Pass, and then Highway 6 to Nelson, a 2-hour drive under normal (summer) driving conditions.

Get around[edit]

By public transit[edit]

  • BC Transit (West Kootenay Transit System), toll-free: +1-855-993-3100. Offers bus routes in the region, including Monday to Saturday service connecting Balfour, Castlegar, Fruitvale, Nelson, Rossland, Slocan City, and Trail. BC Transit (Q4179186) on Wikidata BC Transit on Wikipedia
    • Route 10 operates between Balfour and Nelson (55 minutes) from Monday to Saturday.
    • Health Connections trips three days per week between Balfour and Kaslo. Health Connections trips are open to everyone to ride, but must be reserved in advance and trips to medical appointments receive priority


  • 1 J.B. Fletcher General Store Museum, 3602 Sutton Street, Ainsworth Hot Springs, +1 250-353-0312, . Restored heritage building that serves as a museum and contains a retail shop with unique gifts by local artisans.
  • 2 Pilot Bay Lighthouse, Pilot Bay Road, Kootenay Bay (Pilot Bay Provincial Park). Pilot Bay Lighthouse is located on a 0.6 km lightly out and back trail a short drive from the Kootenay Bay Ferry Terminal. The lighthouse offers scenic views and is good for all skill levels. Pilot Bay Provincial Park (Q7194406) on Wikidata Pilot Bay Provincial Park on Wikipedia


Ainsworth Hot Springs inside Cody Caves.
  • 1 Ainsworth Hot Springs (Spirit Waters at Ainsworth Hot Springs), 3609 Hwy 31, Ainsworth Hot Springs (Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort), toll-free: +1-800-668-1171, . Temporarily closed due to COVID-19. Consist of warm mineral waters in a natural cave and pool. The hot springs originate around the Cody Caves, above and to the east of the resort. The warm mineral water enters the system at a temperature of 47°C (117°F) before it is cooled to an average of 42°C (108°F) for the 150-foot horseshoe caves, and an average temperature of 35°C (96°F) for the main lounging pool. Adult - $14.00; Senior (60+) - $13.00; Youth/Student (13-17) - $12.00; Child (3-12) - $10.00; under 3 - free; Family (2 adults/2 children ages 3-17) - $40.00, extra child $9.00. Ainsworth Hot Springs (Q22697310) on Wikidata
  • 2 Cody Caves (Cody Caves Provincial Park), Ainsworth Hot Springs. Cody Caves are a network of limestone caves in the Selkirk Mountains near Ainsworth Hot Springs and are protected by Cody Caves Provincial Park. Approximately 800 m (875 yards) of the Cody Caves passageways are explorable. The caves have several types of calcite formations, such as stalagmites, stalactites, soda straws and flowstone and the Ainsworth Hot Springs originate from the caves. Cody Caves Provincial Park (Q5140411) on Wikidata Cody Caves Provincial Park on Wikipedia
    • Cody Caves Tours, Cody Caves Provincial Park (approx 35 min from Ainsworth Hot Springs), +1 250-359-CAVE (2283), . Offers guided tour of Cody Caves, offering a variety of tour packages that will appeal to all adventurous types. For anyone age 5 and up to who are capable of a moderate hike to those that enjoy a much more strenuous and physical adventure.
  • Boating and fishing. Kokanee, Rainbow Trout and Burbot are all present in Kootenay Lake with various marinas and public boat launches available.
  • Cycling. There is both road and mountain biking in the area.
  • 3 Harrop Cable Ferry (8 km W of Balfour). Runs across Kootenay River, accessed from Highway 3A, connecting to communities of Harrop and Procter on the south bank. Service is on demand, 24 hours, and crossing time takes 5 minutes. Harrop Cable Ferry (Q110264155) on Wikidata Harrop Cable Ferry on Wikipedia



  • For handcrafted work by artisans, visit 1 Crawford Bay (located near Kootenay Bay on the east side of the lake), where several artisans have shops that can be visited.

Eat & drink[edit]






Go next[edit]

Routes through Ainsworth Hot Springs-Balfour
New Denver via Kaslo   N  S  ENDS at
CastlegarNelson  W  E  CrestonEND

This city travel guide to Ainsworth Hot Springs-Balfour is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.