A Weekend In Radium Hot Springs With My Grandma

My Grandmother was fond of taking us on trips when we were young. We (meaning my siblings, cousins, and myself) spent a great deal of our childhoods at my grandparents farm, near Sundre, Alberta. There we would while away the hours riding around on trikes or horses, picking eggs, tormenting the chickens, attempting to befriend the feral cat population, or playing in the trees behind the house (among many, MANY other things). Sometimes Grandma would also take us to town, or to the pool, or to Bergen Store. Wherever we could convince her to go really. And then sometimes, if we were really lucky, she would take us to Radium Hot Springs. Often our parents would come too, but on a couple of occasions, she would take just a couple of us herself and we would have a grand time.

Those memories are very special to me. She would take us to the pools at the springs, and to every gift shop and ice cream place we could convince her to stop at. She is the very best Grandma any of us could have ever asked for.

Grandma turned 81 this year, and although it’s been at least 13 years since our last trip to Radium together, I decided that I wanted to take HER for a change. So I called her up early last week and asked her if she had plans for the weekend. She said that she didn’t, but it did take a bit of convincing (thanks Mum!) to get her to agree to an impromptu drive into the mountains, just the two of us, for two nights.

I know she was worried about being too tired, but on Saturday morning we headed out. I did the majority of the driving, which suited me just fine. We chatted a lot along the way. There are so many things I realize I want to know, but haven’t taken the time to ask her. Things about her life, and the ways of her time (we talked a lot about canning, which I am just now getting very interested in, more on that in another post) and whatever stories she was interested in telling me.

We stopped for lunch, and I had a sandwich and she shared my french fries. We laughed a lot, just like always. We did hit some delays due to construction, but eventually we made it to Radium, and immediately went looking for a place to stay. There were a number of options, but we ended up selecting The Lido, which is the same hotel Mike and I stayed in with the kids two summers ago, and the same hotel that we used to stay in very frequently in my youth. The hotel was spotless, and Grandma was able to have her own bedroom, so that she could read and I could do whatever it is I do before bed (so play on my phone). We dropped off our things and then bee-lined it for the pool of course!

The weather was absolutely GORGEOUS! We couldn’t have asked for better. Clear skies, sunshine. It was perfect.

Radium Hot Springs

Radium Hot Springs

Radium Hot Springs

After a good soak, we went to get some supper (which was over-priced and left much to be desired) and then went for a drive to look for wildlife and kill time before evening swim. We drive over to Invermere and decided to go there for supper the following night, as they seemed to have better selection than Radium. We didn’t see anything for wildlife except a single scruffy deer! Which is sort of unusual for Radium.

At any rate, back to the pool we went, and had a wonderful swim, in the cooler air and the beauty of dusk in the mountains.

Radium Hot Springs

Once we were sufficiently waterlogged, we called it a night and returned to the hotel for reading and eventually sleeping. We had a great sleep, and a full day to follow!

Sunday morning we got up and after getting ourselves sorted, decided to go for Sunday Brunch at the local cafe. It was not too bad. They had a selection of breakfast foods, and then some Chinese dishes, which was kind of weird (who eats ginger beef for breakfast? Rebellious women and their grandmothers, that’s who!) but the food was good, and the coffee was hot, so we ate and then off we went for another drive in the country.

Breakfast Food?

Still no animals! Oh well, back to the pool for an early afternoon dip. We lingered, but not too long, as it was very hot and shade was at a premium.

We decided to go back to the hotel until supper time, and so we sat and visited and talked about old times and generally enjoyed our afternoon in the air conditioning! When it was getting close to supper we set off for Invermere, and checked out several of their restaurants before settling on the Rocky River Grill.

The food was very good, and the service was friendly. We enjoyed a nice meal, and people-watched (one of Grandma’s favorite things ever) and discussed all sorts of things. I was somewhat concerned that we would run out of things to say during the trip, but I shouldn’t have bothered worrying about it. There were lots and lots of stories and memories and things to chat about.

After supper we digested in our room for a short while, and then went back to the pool again for our evening soak. I think these were the best parts of the trip, going to the pool in the evenings. There were fewer people, the mountain air was crisp, and we could just sit and visit and really enjoy the hot water!

Radium Hot Springs

You sure scoot to the change room from the pool when it’s chilly like that though 🙂

When we’d had enough, we made our way back to the room, and then stayed up terribly late talking each others ear off! Finally we went to bed, and had a really good nights sleep.

I always hate the last day of a trip or vacation, and I know Grandma wasn’t keen on it either. We rounded up our things, checked out of the room, and then had a light breakfast before one last swim. We had only intended to stay for 45 minutes, but that turned into two hours, since neither of us were keen on leaving.

Radium Hot Springs

Radium Hot Springs

Grandma And I

The weather was much cooler, and it had rained over night, so there was steam coming off the water, which was really perfect.

Radium Hot Springs

Radium Hot Springs

When we reluctantly left the pool, it was time to make the drive home. The sky opened up and poured rain on us as we were leaving the parking lot, a fitting end to the perfect weekend we had.

We stopped for a late lunch in Canmore, and then before we knew it, we were back at my Aunt’s house, and our trip was over.

I am so very grateful for the time I had there with Grandma. I haven’t had that kind of one-on-one time with her in many years, and I will look back fondly on our impromptu Radium vacation always.

About the author

Mike & Cal have been backpacking around Alberta for the past decade. This site is where they share trip reports, photos, and tips and tricks for getting outside.


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