If your idea of a Sunday drive includes scenic highways and the occasional bird-call, it’s time to take it to the wilds; Kootenay Rockies-style. Shift into gear with a three pronged excursion that links both Yoho and Kootenay National Parks with neighbouring Banff; dubbed the “Golden Triangle“. This well-tread stretch blends natural wonder, soothing hot springs and the unique Canadian Rocky Mountain communities of Golden, Field, Banff and Radium Hot Springs.
The best part? You can make a day of it with a mere 320-km (199 miles) to conquer. Indeed, your Sunday drive will never be the same, thanks to Yoho’s Spiral Tunnels viewpoint off Highway 1; a refreshing trek to Takakkaw Falls – one of Canada’s highest waterfalls; a peacefull-stroll around Emerald Lake (and a visit the historic Emerald Lake Lodge, on its own island); followed up with an awe-spiring family hike to Wapta Falls.
And for the more adventurous, Burgess Shale fossils were discovered in the Canadian Rockies (more than 508 million years old) and Parks Canada offers guides hikes at all three locations, in Yoho (Mt. Stephan & Walcott) and Kootenay (Stanley Glacier) National Parks.
Takakkawa Falls in Yoho National Park; photo by Heidi Korven
Continuing west, is the community of Golden. Be sure to include these “must see & dos” when visiting – a whitewater-rafting excursion down the famous Kicking Horse River; ride the gondola to the top of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and hike the alpine trails; or visit ‘Boo’ their resident grizzly bear. And with a bounty of tasty menu options and cozy accommodation at each stop, who knows? You may just be tempted to put it in park!
Rafting the Kicking Horse River; photo by Best Impressions
Neighbouring Kootenay National Park/Radium Hot Springs, provides it’s own lure, complete with a luxuriating soak in this Rocky Mountain hot spring gem. Have an itch for outdoor adventure? Easily remedied with a roadside hike into Kootenay National Park, such as the Juniper Trail, Marble Canyon or Paint Pots just to name a few. A drive south (15-minutes) takes you to Invermere and Lake Windermere. Why not cool off with a refreshing dip in this recreational hot spot. Or fly like an eagle with Valley Zip Adventures in Radium Hot Springs.
Sinclair Canyon and Radium Hot Springs; photo by Ryan Creary
Plus we offer 14 other ‘Road Trip‘ suggestions for getting around the Kootenays, including an the multi-province Rockies and Ranchlands that loops around the Canadian Rocky Mountains or the popular Kootenay Hot Springs Route, that visit the therapeutic warm, mineral rich water at some of the most enticing natural hot springs pools in BC.
Know Before You Go – Upcoming travel plans? Living in the mountains can come with unexpected changes in weather patterns. Even in the warmer months, it is very important to check highway conditions and travel advisories. Drive BC is a great resource with real-time webcams and road statuses.
~ 4 Reasons to Drive BC’s Hidden Route: The Slocan Valley
~ Cool Ways to Travel in the Kootenays
~ Funky Kootenay Fun Facts
~ Getting into Hot Water: Kootenay Hot Springs
~ A Kootenay Coffee Road Trip: Meet the Locals
~ Pit Stops for a Kootenay Road Trip
~ Quirky Attractions Only Found in the Kootenays
~ Wet Your Whistle: Along a Kootenay Road Trip
Story by Destination BC. Top/Cover photo of Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park by Best Impression Photography.
(Original published date: July 20, 2016)