Your autumn playground a waits
At 7 a.m. my alarm sounds (“the early bird gets the birdies”) and I roll out of bed and saunter over to the window. I open the blinds and the gorgeous silhouette of Fisher Peak greets me, a perfect pyramid piercing a creamy pink and purple sky. But I don’t look long. I’ve got things to do, places to go. Lots of places. And that’s the problem.
Well, “problem” isn’t really the right word. A “conundrum” is more accurate. As a lover of mountain-fuelled culture and adventure, I’ve certainly found my happy place, albeit for only a weekend.
The region is one of my personal favourites for a quick shoulder- season getaway. An outdoor playground webbed with wicked single-track mountain biking, majestic mountainside golf, rivers teeming with trout, soothing hot springs and heavenly hiking trails, the options are enough to make any multi- sport, outdoor enthusiast dizzy.
Front- country activities, such as museums, festivals, shopping, dining, craft breweries, zip- lines and wildlife viewing are also ideal for any weekend getaway.
The Kootenay Rockies is one of North America’s most exciting and adventurous places to play golf. And thanks to 27 mountain golf courses, it’s always difficult to decide which courses to play ( just another conundrum in the Kootenay Rockies).
On Day 1 we decide to play Wildstone, a Gary Player design in Cranbrook that just gets better and better every time I play it. On Day 2, we play Trickle Creek in Kimberley, a dramatic mountain track that tumbles down Northstar Mountain. On Day 3, on our way back to Calgary, we play Eagle Ranch in Invermere, a gorgeous layout that soars along aerie bluffs high above Lake Windermere.
And, to be clear, it’s not just the East Kootenay corridor that is ripe for the pickin’. From Rossland to Revelstoke, Golden to Nelson, the entire Kootenay Rockies region is a mountain-filled mecca for exploration and adventure.
In Golden, for example, where the Columbia and Kicking Horse Rivers collide, a recreational renaissance of sorts has taken place the past few years. The town is buzzing thanks to the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort — home to the highest restaurant in Canada! — as well as a new microbrewery, spectacular hiking, heart- pounding mountain bike trails, and some of the best whitewater rafting and kayaking on the planet. More and more stories of people coming — and refusing to leave— are playing out.
Other towns, such as Fernie, Invermere, Revelstoke, Creston, Nelson, Nakusp, Kaslo, and Radium Hot Springs are on similar trajectories.
There are numerous resort hot springs to choose from such as Ainsworth, Canyon, Fairmont, Halcyon, Nakusp, and Radium. Spa lodges and rejuvenating retreats offer accommodation, adventure and wellness packages.
But, in terms of its global recognition, I’d put the Koo- tenay Rockies in the “somewhat discovered” category. For visitors, especially those willing to hang with the friendly locals and do a little digging around, new discoveries, regardless of your passions and interests, are there for the taking around every bend in the pine-lined road.
Remember to be safe and Know Before You Go. Please ensure you check the current conditions at www.kootenayrockies.com.
Hiking, golf, mountain biking and sightseeing are just a few of the many activities available in British Columbia’s Kootenay Rockies region.