In the heart of the Kootenay wilderness is the small village of Ainsworth Hot Springs, set into the mountainside overlooking the vast expanse of Kootenay Lake and the Purcell Mountains.
Since time immemorial, the Ktunaxa people (pronounced K-too-nah-ha) have valued this site as a place for healing. After battle, warriors would soak in the spirit waters (nupika wu’u) to ease the wounds sustained in the fight to defend their lands. Those living with other ailments such as arthritis would also utilize the hot pool to find relief from their pain. In the early 1880s, Ainsworth became the first townsite on Kootenay Lake. In it’s mining heyday of the mining activity, approximately 3,000 people lived in the village. As mining ceased to be a profitable venture, the population fell to the current number of less than 100 permanent residents.
These days, Ainsworth is host to the many visitors who come to take advantage of the natural beauty of the area and enjoy the soothing benefit of the hot springs. Developed around the original warm spring, Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort, now operated by the Lower Kootenay Band, features three odourless pools – a main lounging pool, a 150 foot horseshoe shaped cave and a stream fed cold plunge.
Woodbury village is a small settlement halfway between Balfour and Kaslo on the west shore of Kootenay Lake. It is home to a thriving resort and marina, and the well known Jones Boys Boats, where boat sales and service are offered.
The resort, a natural playground, is open year round, and occupies a breathtaking location at the doorstep to the great outdoors. The four-season resort has everything from boat rentals and camping to a restaurant, store, chalet rentals, a recreation hall and a swimming pool. Woodbury Resort sponsors a Dolly Varden Fishing Tournament at Easter and a Rainbow Trout Fishing Tournament at Thanksgiving (the second Monday in October). Fishermen come from all over to participate in these derbies.
In 1897, the length of Woodbury Creek was the site of a mining boom. Prospectors staked and then worked their claims all along the creek for kilometres up into the mountains. Now all that remains, besides some tumbledown buildings on the side of the highway, is the route they took: Woodbury Creek Forest Service Road is the gateway to Kokanee Glacier Park and the Silverspray Cabin.
Woodbury Resort, Marina, Jb’s Restaurant & Pub
1-877-353-7717 | woodburyresort.com
3595 BC-31, Ainsworth Hot Springs, BC
1 888-848-4463 | ainsworthmotel.com