On a little knoll about a minute’s hike up from the Fairmont Hot Springs parking lot, lies a real treasure. Sitting on a plateau of tufa rock coloured orange, brown, green and blue by the streams of spring water that leap out of the rocks above, is a very old stone bathhouse.
Fairmont Indian baths are natural hot spring pools that were popular among early settlers of the valley. It is not known why they were called ‘Indian’ baths. At the time that explorer David Thompson described them in his journal, there was no building.
“There is much petrified wood. From many places a white siliceous water was trickling ……. it is a strange fact that the hot spas, so common in Europe, in the great extent of my travels have never been seen by me nor do the Indians know of any.”
Later a stone building was constructed, which now stands on the property of Fairmont Resort, on a path that leads from the parking lot to the resort’s trail system. A stone structure consisting of three small rooms with neither doors nor glass in the windows comprises the house. The walls, more than a foot thick. are stuccoed and the floor and shallow bath tubs are made of concrete. Hot, clear, odourless spring water drips into the tubs, keeping the temperature an average of 104 to 108 degrees F.