The springs were well-known to the Sinixt and Ktunaxa peoples, who fought over ownership of the springs and of the Arrow Lakes region in general.
The name Halycon was conferred by Robert Sanderson, a steamboat captain who staked a mineral claim here and opened the first hotel in 1894, in reference to that word's meaning of contentment (see halcyon). The springs attained a worldwide reputation and water from them was bottled for export, reaching customers in London. When the local mining rush ended and steamboat traffic stopped, the hotel changed hands a number of times and became rundown. In 1924, British ArmyBrigadier-General Dr. Frederick Burnham, who was a surgeon, revamped the hotel as a sanatorium. In 1955, the hotel burnt to the ground, taking with it the life of Dr. Burnham. The site was abandoned due to lack of road access, although a resort has since been rebuilt.