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Kraus Hot Springs

 

Kraus Hot Springs is about 500 kilometres west of Yellowknife, in the Nahanni National Park Reserve, in Canada’s largest territory, the Northwest Territories. This Canadian national park, also known as a secret paradise, covers 30,000 square kilometres and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are other hot springs in the area, as well as other beautiful natural features including glittering alpine lakes, gorges, and waterfalls, but Kraus Hot Springs is believed to have the greatest views. Although this is one of Canada’s most difficult hot springs to reach, it is also one of the least visited, so you’ll have more of the natural beauty to yourself!

 

These Springs are a popular and much-anticipated rest break for those travelling down the South Nahanni River on a long and tough journey. The Springs, which spring from sand and gravel on the riverbank, are just downstream from the first canyon and a few hundred metres upstream from Clausen Creek.

The main source of hot water lies 300 metres from the river, at the base of a rock wall. A pool about 9 feet across generated by water rising up into the river sand and silt between high and low river levels is the main attraction for bathers. The water has a strong sulphur odour and a significant concentration of dissolved minerals, primarily chloride, sodium, calcium, and sulphate. When the river gets high, the pool is flooded.

Gus and Mary Kraus, who lived here periodically between 1940 and 1971, gave the Springs its name. The adjoining little cabin, which used to be their generator shack, is now used as a check-in station. Some exotic plants from the couple’s garden thrive here, shielded from the cold by the warmth of the Springs. There were plans to create a spa and hunting lodge here before the park was founded, but that didn’t materialise.

Despite the fact that the park staff generally encourages wilderness camping, the Springs are closed to camping from August to September due to the high number of black bears that frequent the region. It’s worth noting that this is one of only eight toilets in the entire park.

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