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Fairmont Hot Springs...nice?

Carol C

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Is the Fairmont Hot Springs area of BC worth visiting? How late in the season does snow stick around up there? Is that area an especially nice part of Canadian Rockies? I've always wanted to take that famous train trip through CND Rockies, but since I'm in timesharing I'm wondering if a stay at a well-located t/s resort would be a suitable and economical "substitute". Any advice on what to do, where to stay, etc, would be appreciated. TIA!
 

Laurie

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Carol, haven't stayed at that resort or town, we drove thru the area, and based on that very short impression, I think it would make a great second week, but for first trip, if you'd go for one week only, I'd go for Banff or Canmore.
 

Perogy

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I like the Valley in which Fairmont is located, mostly for the golf in the summer months, but I would agree with Laurie that based purely on scenery, there are very few areas that are better than the Banff area. You are totally surrounded by mountains and Banff is a very attractive town with all the usual shops and eateries. However having said that, you need to be prepared for a loads of tourist traffic from all around the world that Banff attracts. In term of timeshares in the area, Canmore is your best bet.

The Fairmont area is very nice... located in a long broad vally with mountains along its entire course. There are several hot springs for visitors to enjoy and wildlife to be seen. Generally I think the weather here is more reliable and temperate and is referred to as the warmer side of the Mountains. We have been in the area several times at the end of March to ski at Panorama Resort - which in itself is a bit of a mountain village - and come down to the vally where there was no snow whatsoever - in fact there were people golfing. But, I think this can change very quickly regardless of where you are in the mountains. Either area would be a good vacation for me.
 

Victoria

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We have stayed at three resorts in or aound Banff and four in or near Fairmont - both areas are srrounded with natural beauty. Banff is much more tourist oriented, and thus has more entertainment available. Fairmont is the place to go for a good rest - lots of quiet walks, great hot springs,and the small town of Invermere and it's boutiques to browse through. It is a day's trip to go to Banff and Lake Louise from Fairmont, and another day will take you to the Columbia Ice fields. Both are great areas, you have to decide what your priorities are for your holiday!
 

Laurie

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My recommendation for going farther north is purely for easiest access to what seemed to me to be the most spectacular scenery (the 4 parks: Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay), more than the shopping. I did enjoy learning about ammonite jewelry (!) but I wasn't as taken as many people are with the town of Banff, though it was a very international destination and nice to hear lots of languages spoken on the streets, and there's a great music festival there during the summer, including some wonderful artists from my world, Carol! (A week after our stay, Linda Tillery & the Cultural Heritage Choir had a concert, if you know who they are.) But mostly we enjoyed staying in Banff because we loved taking in the National Park sites and hikes.

We hadn't explored what was on the way much, and I was curious about Fairmont, so googled a bit and first up was this seemingly Dutch website, whose links don't work, but interesting reading. They only give accolades and superlatives about the 4 park area
www.pacificislandtravel.com/north_america/canada/about_destin/britishcolumbia/canadianrockies.asp

but here's what they say about Fairmont Hot Springs themselves and its origins (scroll to bottom), which I'm sure isn't exclusive to that area, and just made me think for a minute because I bet that many of our most beautiful natural resources have a similar history:
www.pacificislandtravel.com/north_a...estin/britishcolumbia/fairmonthotsprings.html

I do think Fairmont Hot springs would give good access to Kootenay, where we stopped a few times on our way up for a picnic and a little bit of wandering, and wished we'd spent more time there - it wasn't too crowded, and was stunningly gorgeous. Radium Hot Springs could be another possibility, RCI has a resort there that seemed to have good availability back when I was planning our trip, right at the edge of Kootenay.

As Victoria says, depends on your priority - I have a bias for National Parks, because trails seem better marked and information is more readily available, but that's just me. For instance, with a map, we tried to locate a trail in Canmore that we never could find. (And except for Banff, less commercial stuff. Lots of people are amazed that so much commercial development was allowed to happen inside the park of Banff.)
 
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Tacoma

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In my opinion if you want to see mountains, animals, lakes and hike, shop and eat at great restaurants then Banff is a great tourist destination. If you have already done this though and want a nice valley with hot springs, lots of golf, and nice day trips to Kimberly and Invermere (very quiet small towns) then Fairmont might work. We have a place on the lake in the valley and do not understand the proliferation of timeshares here. THey are beautiful rooms but not being golfers without access to the lake and boating we would be bored. Hiking is of course an option but summer in this valley is warmer than Banff and I don't have the energy to hike in heat. Calgary has very few lakes within driving distance so the lakes in this valley are crowded with Calgarians wanting the lake experience. That's why the valley has so many golf courses. Hope this helps.
 
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