Koote­nay roCk­ies

Scenic sites, charm­ing towns and op­por­tu­ni­ties for ad­ven­ture.

Where Canadian Rockies - - CONTENTS -

Many travel to the Koote­nay Rock­ies, the re­gion that borders Banff to the west and south, for the day or a multi-day va­ca­tion. Mo­tor­ized ad­ven­tures restricted in the na­tional parks, such as ATV tours and lift-as­sisted down­hill moun­tain bik­ing, are a big draw. Oth­ers visit unique sites such as the Burgess Shale fos­sil beds, Columbia River Wet­lands and Fort Steele Her­itage Town. White­wa­ter raft­ing on the Kick­ing Horse and Elk rivers is pop­u­lar, as are the area’s many ex­cel­lent golf cour­ses and hot springs. Take the Trans-Canada Hwy west of Lake Louise. Crest the Con­ti­nen­tal Di­vide and de­scend to the scenic wilder­ness of yoho Na­tional Park (1-250-343-6783). • Lake o’Hara, 11 km/6.8 mi from Hwy 1, of­fers many stun­ning hikes; try Lake Oesa day-hike. Ac­cess is only by bus (sum­mer June 20-Oct 5); call 250-343-6433 early to re­serve an 8:30 am or 10:30 am ride. • Spi­ral Tun­nels road­side stop of­fers a look at the spi­ral­ing rail­way cut into Mt Og­den and Cathe­dral Moun­tain; the re­duced rail gra­di­ent lets trains ease into the val­ley.

BANFF To GoLDEN: 139 km/86 mi

• Takakkaw Falls is one of Canada’s high­est at 384 m/1260 ft. Ac­cess is via Yoho Val­ley Rd. • Town of Field is 30 km/19 mi from Lake Louise; find food, lodg­ing and the Parks Canada Vis­i­tor Cen­tre with a small fos­sil dis­play. • Burgess Shale World Her­itage Site quar­ries con­tain 500-mil­lion year old in­ver­te­brate fos­sils. Ac­cess by tour only; 1-800-343-3006. • Emer­ald Lake is reached via Emer­ald Lake Rd; see Nat­u­ral Rock Bridge en route. Cir­cling the lake is a 5 km/3 mi trail; also try the short walk to Hamil­ton Falls. Dine or rent boats at Emer­ald Lake Lodge, 1-800-663-6336. • Wapta Falls, 23 km/14 mi west of Field,

is worth the 30-minute ac­cess hike for its 30 m/98 ft height, 150 m/490 ft width and Ot­ter­tail Range back­drop.

Split by the bois­ter­ous Kick­ing Horse River and bordered by the Columbia River Wet­lands, the Town of Golden (1-800-6224653) is 83 km/52 mi west of Lake Louise. Dis­cover a his­tory steeped in rail­way con­struc­tion, log­ging and the leg­endary Swiss Guides who pi­o­neered tourist for­ays into the Rocky Moun­tains. With full tourist ameni­ties and close prox­im­ity to Yoho and Glacier na­tional parks, Golden is a great stag­ing area for hik­ing, bik­ing, sight­see­ing, back­coun­try ad­ven­ture and fam­ily-friendly ac­tiv­i­ties. • Kick­ing Horse Pedes­trian Bridge in down­town Golden is North Amer­ica’s long­est free­stand­ing tim­ber-frame river cross­ing. Watch for free sum­mer con­certs and weekly farmer’s mar­ket at the ad­ja­cent Spirit Square. • Edel­weiss Swiss Vil­lage is a his­toric area of town where the fam­i­lies of the Swiss Guides were housed over a cen­tury ago. • Golden Mu­seum & Archives (1-250-3445169) in­ter­prets early days through ex­hibits on Swiss Guides, the first Sikh peo­ple, ge­og­ra­pher David Thomp­son and Columbia River river­boats. Trav­el­ling dis­plays are pre­sented. • Columbia Wet­lands is the long­est pro­tected wet­lands in North Amer­ica. Bird­ers and wildlife en­thu­si­asts take guided tours or rent boats for a self-guided pad­dle trip. • Kick­ing Horse Moun­tain Re­sort (1-866754-5425), 14 km/8 mi from town, of­fers the world’s largest griz­zly bear refuge for res­i­dent ‘Boo’, and a sight­see­ing gon­dola that rises to Ea­gle Eye restau­rant (Canada’s high­est), lift-as­sisted down­hill moun­tain bik­ing and sum­mit hik­ing trails. • Mount 7 at 1200 m/3937 ft is ac­ces­si­ble by road. En­joy the Columbia Val­ley view and watch the paraglid­ers and moun­tain bik­ers. • Fish­ing at lo­cal lakes and streams of­fer cut­throat, brook and rain­bow trout, koka­nee salmon and small­mouth bass. The Mu­nic­i­pal Camp­ground (1-866-538-6625) sell per­mits and lures, and rec­om­mend guides. • The Ro­tary Trails for pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists run par­al­lel to the Kick­ing Horse River be­fore wind­ing through res­i­den­tial ar­eas and past Golden’s Re­flec­tion Lake. • Moon­raker Bike Trails and Moun­tain Shad­ows Trail Sys­tem of­fer over 100 km of main­tained cross-coun­try cycling routes that can be ac­cessed from down­town. • Thomp­son Falls on the Blae­berry River is 28 km/17 mi north­west of Golden along gravel roads. Find its crys­tal wa­ters on the 1.4 km/.9 mi Thomp­son Falls Trail loop. • Kick­ing Horse White­wa­ter Raft­ing (out­fit­ters p 74 ranges from scenic fam­ily-friendly Up­per Canyon tours to max­i­mum thrills on class 4 rapids dur­ing Lower Canyon runs. • ATV Quad Tours (out­fit­ters p 61) are an adren­a­line-charged way to travel lo­cal trails. • Climb­ing and Moun­taineer­ing Hire a lo­cal guide and get into the moun­tains or get started with a learn to climb course at the in­door climb­ing gym. • Tan­dem Paraglid­ing and Sky­div­ing Get a bird's eye view of spec­tac­u­lar Rocky and

The 15,070 hectare Columbia Wet­lands that con­nects Golden with Invermere is one of the long­est and most bi­o­log­i­cally rich in North Amer­ica. Eco-tours in­tro­duce visi­tors to its di­verse pop­u­la­tion of plants, birds, fish and mam­mals. Columbia moun­tain scenery. • Golden Golf Club (1-866-727-7222) of­fers two lay­outs (Newis front 9 and Les Furber back 9) along the Columbia River be­tween the Rocky and Pur­cell ranges. • Rogers Pass His­toric Site is west of Golden via Hwy 1 through Glacier Na­tional Park and over Rogers Pass, named for Al­bert Bow­man Rogers’ ex­pe­di­tion to find pas­sage through the “im­pen­e­tra­ble peaks” of the Selkirk Moun­tains. There’s hik­ing and pic­nick­ing, plus in­ter­pre­tive pro­grams at the Rogers Pass Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre, 1-250-837-7500.

BANFF TO CRAN­BROOK 278 km/173 mi

South off Hwy 1 be­tween Banff and Lake Louise, the Banff-Win­der­mere Hwy 93 S rises to the BC bor­der, de­scends into Koote­nay Na­tional Park and ends at Radium Hot Springs. Amongst the moun­tain scenery and be­tween the fast flow­ing Ver­mil­ion and Koote­nay rivers are back­pack­ing routes and these short hik­ing trails: • Fire­weed Loop (.8 km/.5 mi) ex­plores a 1968 fire and re­gen­er­at­ing for­est. • Mar­ble Canyon (.8 km/.5 mi) boasts unique pol­ished rock for­ma­tions and seven foot­bridges over the 40 m/131 ft deep gorge where rag­ing Tokumm Creek flows. • Paint Pots (1.5 km /.9 mi) trail leads to colour­ful springs and ochre beds used by First Na­tions for or­na­men­ta­tion.

Exit Koote­nay Na­tional Park through the red rocks of Sin­clair Canyon to reach the Vil­lage of Radium Hot Springs (Vis­i­tor Cen­tre 1-888-347-9331), 139 km/86 mi from Banff at the cross­roads of Hwys 93 and 95. Mo­tels, shops, restau­rants and mini golf line Radium’s main streets where Rocky Moun­tain Bighorn Sheep of­ten wan­der. • Radium Hot Springs (p 86) is sit­u­ated amongst rust-red cliffs; it fea­tures Canada’s largest min­eral springs pool, a 25-me­tre long cool pool, a plunge pool, steam rooms and spa ser­vices. • Queen of Peace sta­tion of the cross sculp­tures are lo­cated be­hind the Cana­dian Mar­tyrs Church at 7528 Main St East, two doors from the Radium Vis­i­tor Cen­tre. • Back­coun­try Ac­tiv­i­ties near Radium in­clude fish­ing, horse­back rid­ing, wildlife view­ing, camp­ing, ca­noe­ing and kayak­ing. • Hik­ing trails are abun­dant. Olive Lake (.5 km/.3 mi) board­walk has bronze bear paw, tree bark and fish dis­plays. Val­ley View (1.8 km /1.1 mi) is a Dou­glas fir-lined trail from Red­streak Camp­ground. Ju­niper Trail (3.2 km/2 mi) along swift flow­ing Sin­clair Creek con­nects the town to the hot springs. • Columbia Wet­lands prime wildlife habi­tat is pop­u­lar with ca­noeists and bird watch­ers. • Bik­ing trails over di­verse ter­rain of­fer cy­clists of all abil­i­ties a chance to en­joy the scenery. There are trails for cross-coun­try and sin­gle­track bik­ers; tricks and air are found at Radium Pump & Jump Track. The Columbia Val­ley Cycling So­ci­ety’s trail map is avail­able at the Radium Vis­i­tor Cen­tre. • Back­coun­try travel by horse­back is per­mit­ted. ATV and dirt bike rid­ers are en­cour­aged to con­tact re­cre­ation sites and Trails BC

at www.trailsbc.ca. • White­wa­ter Raft­ing com­pa­nies op­er­ate tours on the Kick­ing Horse and Koote­nay rivers, and Toby Creek. Voy­ager trips are of­fered down the Columbia River. • Golf op­tions in­clude The Re­sort and Springs Cour­ses (1-800-667-6444) lo­cated within the Vil­lage of Radium Hot Springs. There are 8 cham­pi­onship cour­ses along the Columbia Val­ley Golf Trail as well as many 9-hole par 3 cour­ses.

The Town of Invermere (1-250-342-2844) is 11 km /8 mi south of Radium via Hwy 93/95 on the north end of Lake Win­der­mere. Both the Kins­men Beach and James Chabot Park have sand beaches and shal­low swim­ming ar­eas that are ideal for chil­dren. Boat rental op­tions in­clude jet skis, wa­ter ski and wake­board boats, fish­ing boats, ped­dle boats, kayaks and ca­noes. • Golf cour­ses in­clude Ea­gle Ranch (1-877877-3889), 18 holes perched along bluffs over­look­ing the Columbia River and Rocky and Pur­cell moun­tains; their Rus­tic Steak­house and Trader’s Lounge are well-re­garded din­ing venues. Cop­per Point (1-877-4184653) also of­fers cham­pi­onship golf.

De­tour 18 km/11 mi west of Invermere to Panorama Moun­tain Vil­lage (1-800-6632929) to find Mile 1 sight­see­ing chair­lift that ac­cesses hik­ing and down­hill moun­tain bik­ing trails. Grey­wolf Golf Course is a scenic 18-hole course, and there’s mini golf too. Paved hik­ing and bike trails run along­side Toby Creek, pop­u­lar for white­wa­ter raft­ing and kayak­ing. ATV tours are of­fered nearby.

Eigh­teen km/11 mi south of Invermere is Fair­mont Hot Springs (Re­sort 1-800-6634979), home to Canada’s largest min­eral hot pools com­plex. Golf at the 18-hole Moun­tain­side and River­side golf cour­ses, or fam­ily-friendly Creek­side Golf Course par-3 (1-800-665-2112).

Eighty-four km/52 mi south of Fair­mont via Hwy 93/95 and 95A is the City of Kim-

berley (1-866-431-7669) that bus­tles with ac­tiv­ity dur­ing the sum­mer. • The Platzl out­door pedes­trian area fea­tures shops, cafés, a mu­seum and Canada’s largest free­stand­ing cuckoo clock. • Com­inco Gar­dens boasts 45,000 flow­ers and trees; it’s pop­u­lar for a pic­nic or stroll. • Kimberley’s Un­der­ground Min­ing Rail­way (1-250-427-0022) trav­els through Mark Creek val­ley as a guide speaks about the his­tory of Kimberley and the Sul­li­van Mine. • Hik­ing op­tions in the Pur­cell and Rocky moun­tains in­clude easy strolls, walks to wa­ter­falls and multi-day treks. • Wasa Lake is pop­u­lar for swim­ming and wa­ter ski­ing. Nearby Premier Lake is a good spot for fish­ing. Lo­cal rivers are good for fly fish­ing. • Golf Cour­ses 18-hole cour­ses in­clude: Boot­leg Gap Golf Course (1-877-427-7077); Kimberley Golf Course (1-877-427-4161) and Trickle Creek Golf Re­sort (1-800-258-7669).

Thirty km/19 mi south of Kimberley is the City of Cran­brook (1-800-728-2726). Koote­nay Rock­ies’ largest city was founded over a cen­tury ago fol­low­ing the ar­rival of the Crowsnest Rail­way. • St Eu­gene Golf Re­sort & Casino fea­tures an 18-hole course (1-877-417-3133) and the only casino in the Koote­nay Rock­ies. Its his­tory as a res­i­den­tial school for abo­rig­i­nal chil­dren is hon­oured at the re­sort’s In­ter­pre-

tive Cen­tre where Ktu­naxa Na­tion sto­ries, ar­ti­facts and hand­crafts are dis­played. • Fort Steele Her­itage Town (1-250-4267352) recre­ates pi­o­neer life as it was dur­ing the gold rush, rail­way and lum­ber­ing days of the late 1800s. At­trac­tions in­clude the Wild Horse The­atre, steam train and horse drawn car­riage rides, and black­smith and gold pan­ning demon­stra­tions. • The Cana­dian Mu­seum of Rail Travel (1-250-489-3918) show­cases re­stored his­toric train cars and the beau­ti­ful 1906 Royal Alexan­dra Hall. • Koote­nay Trout Hatch­ery (1-250-4293214) has ex­hibits, kid’s fish­ing pond and moat with tro­phy size trout. Open year ‘round, guided tours and sched­uled ac­tiv­i­ties are May through Au­gust. • Paved cycling Over 40 km of routes in­clude North Star Trail that con­nect Cran­brook and Kimberley along a for­mer rail line. • out­door ac­tiv­i­ties in the area in­clude hik­ing, boat­ing, hunt­ing, cycling and fish­ing.

CRAN­BRooK To FERNIE 96 km/60 mi

Lo­cated 87 km/54 mi east of Cran­brook via Hwy 3, the City of Fernie (1-877-933-7643) draws visi­tors with the prom­ise of out­door ac­tiv­i­ties and ad­ven­ture. Fernie was founded in 1898 fol­low­ing con­struc­tion of the rail­way and the open­ing of Coal Creek mine. This his­toric town is full of char­ac­ter; stroll its park trails along the Elk River and visit the grand 1899 court­house. • Fernie Alpine Re­sort (1-877-333-2339) op­er­ates the Tim­ber Ex­press Chair­lift that trav­els up the moun­tain to spec­tac­u­lar Elk Val­ley views, hik­ing trails, Lost Boys Café and an aerial play­ground with a rip­pin’ zi­pline. From the top, bik­ing op­tions in­clude cross-coun­try, down­hill, sin­gle track and dual slalom trails; bike ren­tals are of­fered. • Is­land Lake Lodge (1-888-422-8754) sits on 7000 acres that in­cludes a lovely lake, old growth ‘coastal-style’ forests and hik­ing trail. Overnight and day visi­tors en­joy fine din­ing, fly fish­ing and the spa. • Fernie Min­ers Walk City Hall gar­den path­ways, in­ter­pre­tive dis­plays and sculp­ture

rec­og­nize the con­tri­bu­tion of lo­cal min­ers. • Clawham­mer Press (1-778-519-5010) is a work­ing down­town Fernie let­ter­press stu­dio and gallery that em­ploys cen­tury-old equip­ment for de­sign and print­ing. • Fernie Golf & Coun­try Club (1-250-4237773) par-70 fea­tures strate­gi­cally placed wa­ter and sand haz­ards, along with spec­tac­u­lar moun­tain views. • Coal Mine Tours of Elk Val­ley Coal’s Ford­ing River and the Elkview mines are of­fered dur­ing the sum­mer from vis­i­tor cen­tres in nearby Elk­ford (1-877-355-9453) and Spar­wood (1-877-485-8185). Spar­wood also dis­plays a Terex Ti­tan, one of the world’s largest tan­dem axle dump trucks. • The Fernie Der­rick, BC’s last wooden oil der­rick, is lo­cated next to the Vis­i­tor Cen­tre off Hwy 3. Its metal com­po­nents were the first to drill oil wells in the prov­ince. • An­cient Cot­ton­wood Trail Along a short Elk River trail 15 min­utes west of Fernie are 400year old black Cot­ton­wood trees (the world’s big­gest) and old-growth western red cedars. Watch for en­dan­gered western screech owls and song­birds while you walk. • Fly Fish­ing Fernie is a world-class ‘dry-fly’ fish­ing des­ti­na­tion. The Elk River is full of west­s­lope cut­throat trout and bull trout; use a drift boat or walk and wade this spec­tac­u­lar river. Guide ser­vices are avail­able. • Hik­ing trails range from city river­side paths to alpine routes above tree­line. Over 60 trails of­fer choices for all ages and fit­ness lev­els. • White­wa­ter Raft­ing com­pa­nies of­fer trips that in­clude the wild rapids of the Elk River as well as re­lax­ing Bull River floats.

Rus­ti­cally el­e­gant ac­com­mo­da­tion such as Is­land Lake lodge (shown) are off the beaten path yet have the ameni­ties that so­phis­ti­cated travellers ex­pect.

The Koote­nay Rock­ies of­fer cham­pi­onship golf cour­ses like Ea­gle Ranch (shown) as well as par 3 and 9-hole cour­ses suit­able for a more ca­sual round.

Ride the gon­dola to Canada's high­est restau­rant, hik­ing and down­hill bik­ing at Kick­ing Horse Moun­tain Re­sort near Golden

By Best Im­pres­sions Pho­tog­ra­phy

Radium Hot Springs

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