The Mountain Parks
17 Helpful Map Pages Hidden Gems Paddle Boarding Heli Tours Cannabis Campground Directory Icefields Parkway
ICONIC ADVENTURES IN BANFF & JASPER
MALIGNE LAKE CRUISE
COLUMBIA ICEFIELD ADVENTURE
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Experience the Mountain Parks Welcome to Canada’s Mountain National Parks! Welcome to the 15th edition of Experience the Mountain Parks. With its roots in the Parks Canada Mountain Guide, ours is now the ONLY visitor’s guide to the many activities, attractions, events, and stunning landscapes across all 7 of the mountain national parks within Alberta & BC! In this traveller’s companion, you’ll discover incredible experiences within the region, through compelling stories & images. And you’ll love our user-friendly maps! Keep it handy and expect to refer to it often. Whether you are exploring the mountain parks as a couple, a young family on a staycation, with your grandchildren
on a “grand-cation”, or just sightseeing on your own, we’re here to help! The themed tours in this guide will not only highlight the major attractions, but we’ll unveil numerous hidden gems throughout the parks. Our stories offer safe and fun activities that often contain educational components. You will love our coverage of communities and our contributors pull back the curtain on the rich history within the region. We sincerely hope you have a magical time here and are truly honoured to be of service. Bob Harris & Christine Weston
To download this, or any of our Travel Guides & Maps to your mobile device, go to ExperienceTravelGuides.com/Library
Kerry Robins believes
Chic Scott has devoted
in authenticity, and has a casual conversation with her audience. Her writing spans two decades. She is a storyteller at heart and an independent writer for various magazines. Alberta’s mountain sceneries inspire her. She appreciates nature and feels at home when she is outside enjoying all-season activities.
his life to skiing and climbing. Chic is an honourary member of the Calgary Mountain Club, Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and Alpine Club of Canada. A recipient of the Banff Mountain Film Festival Summit of Excellence Award, Chic lives in Banff, where he continues to write, lecture and, of course, ski. (Walking through History pg 16)
(Rocky Mountain High pg 28)
Graeme Pole is
Lisa Christensen has
Andrew Penner is
the best-selling author of thirteen books that describe the natural history and the human history of western Canada. Three of his titles have been finalists in the Banff Mountain Book Festival. His most recent is the novel, Siren Call.
worked in the art world over 35 years. Her three guide books explore the art of the Canadian Rockies and have won numerous awards. The fourth in this series: An Explorer’s Guide to the Art of Walter J. Phillips, was released in May 2019. She lives in Calgary, obsesses about Canadian art history, keeps bees, and plans the next trip. (Waterton Lakes National Park pg 10)
an independent writer and photographer living in Calgary, Alberta. His work has been featured in Westworld, Westjet Magazine, Golf Magazine, Golf Tips, Golf Canada, and many leading golf and lifestyle publications. When not travelling or working, he enjoys reading, movies, and chilling out in the backyard with his wife, Dawn, and their four boys. (Postcards from the Parks pg 6)
Visit his website: mountainvision.ca (Hidden Gems Lake Louise pg 22)
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Experience the Mountain Parks Welcome to the 2020 – 2021 Edition
Table of Contents
Use it to plan your holiday and as your travelling companion once you’ve arrived.
Experience Publishing is a privately-owned company with offices in Calgary, Alberta. We specialize in the production of our Experience Travel Guides & Maps in print as well as digital formats. Printed copies are delivered to our network of distribution outlets throughout Alberta and BC and into Montana and Saskatchewan. Travellers are encouraged to pick up a FREE printed copy through these outlets or use a mobile-friendly copy of this, or any of our current or archived guides from ExperienceTravelGuides.com/library. We wish to thank Parks Canada, Travel Alberta, Waterton Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Golden, Destination BC and all of our contributors, sponsors, and advertising partners for their generous support. Please support our advertisers and sponsors. If you get the chance, kindly mention where you saw their ad. Without their support this guide would not be possible. Founder: Bob Harris, CMI Publishing bob@ExperiencePublishing.ca Ph: (403) 259.8290
Circulation: Dan Clements, Allen Gibson, Ian Klein, Dale & Kelly Schultz, Warren & Sandy Pearson, David Saxby.
Associate Publisher: Christine Weston christine@ExperiencePublishing.ca
Distribution Outlets: Free copies available through most Visitor Information Centres, AMA travel offices, retail stores, attractions, and hotels & motels in the region. For a complete list: experiencemountainparks.com/our-distributors
Cartographer: Rob Storeshaw firstname.lastname@example.org Book Keeper: Adrienne Albrecht adrienne@ExperiencePublishing.ca Advertising Sales Reps: Dan Clements, Allen Gibson, Joseph Macdonald, Brian Peck, David Saxby and Nikolaus Wyslouzil
Cover photo: Waterton Lakes National Park Courtesy of Travel Alberta / Celestine Aerden Share Your Experience: Upload your photos to be eligible to win great prizes ExperienceTravelGuides.com/Contests Follow us @ExperienceTravelGuides
Banff National Park 15 Glacier National Park 60 Golden 55 Hinton 40 Jasper National Park 36 Kootenay Rockies 44 Kootenay National Park 46 Radium Hot Springs 48 Revelstoke 61 Waterton Lakes National Park 10 Wells Gray Provincial Park 43 West Kootenays 64 Yellowhead County 40 Yoho National Park 56
Specialty Pages Campground Directory 66 Experience Lake O’Hara 54 Experience the Comfort of RV’ing 9 Experience the Icefields Parkway 32 Flora and Fauna in the Mountain Parks 50 Heli-Highs With CMH 62 Hidden Gems 22, 47, 52 Photo Contest 3 Postcards from the Parks 6 Reader Survey 24 Rocky Mountain High 28 Stand Up Paddleboarding 30 Steel Dreams 26 The Golden Triangle 58 Walking Through History 16
Map Pages Alberta 7 Banff National Park 18 Banff Townsite 20 Bow Valley Parkway 21 British Columbia 42 Columbia Valley 44 Glacier & Mt. Revelstoke National Parks 61 Icefields Parkway 34 & 35 Jasper National Park 36 Jasper Townsite 39 Kootenay National Park 45 Lake Louise Townsite 25 Radium Hot Springs Townsite 49 Waterton Lakes National Park 14 West Kootenays 64 Yoho National Park 53
Share your Mountain Experience to Win a Getaway at Thankgiving Ranch - 2 nights’ accommodation - 1 dinner & 2 breakfasts - 1 hour scenic tour of the ranch on horseback
See pg 3 for more information 5 | ExperienceTravelGuides.com
Postcards from the Parks If you were a globetrotting landscape photographer and could only take one more breathtaking image, where would you go? What would you shoot? Maritime seascape? Remote desert scene in Africa? Burning lava flows in Hawaii? For many “shooters,” the answer would be a majestic, postcard-perfect scene in the Canadian Rockies. Indeed, the baby-blue lakes, rushing rivers, and jagged, snow-dusted mountains in Alberta and British Columbia, can make for the ultimate photographic prize. Perhaps the challenge, if you could only choose one location in the mountain parks, would be just that. Choosing just one! Here are five locations that would do just fine for your final postcard. Lake O’Hara: Getting into the remote Lake O’Hara region – you need to be on the ball and book a seat on the bus (serviced by Parks Canada) or walk up the 11 km road – is not a piece of cake. However, if you find your way there you’ll be rewarded. The region is peppered with lakes, tarns, cirques, crystal-clear streams, and soaring mountains. Moraine Lake: Good enough to be featured on the Canadian $20 bill for decades, the Valley of the Ten Peaks, as seen from the rock pile at the east end of Moraine Lake, is one of the most famous scenes in the Canadian Rockies. Capture this in the morning, when low-angled light paints the peaks, and you’ve got a keepsake to cherish. Vermillion Lakes: If you’re staying in Banff, you don’t have to venture far to find some sweet scenes. The Vermillion Lakes Road serves up classic photo-ops that have been shuttered by thousands of visitors. True, you won’t be alone here, but the beauty of Mount Rundle reflected in the calm water of the spring-fed lakes is a shot every serious landscape photographer needs in their portfolio. Spirit Island: Made famous thanks to an image capturing its surreal beauty was hung in Grand Central Station for over forty years, Spirit Island is the quintessential Canadian Rockies shot. The clutch of pines on the island, the lake, the mountains, it’s simply sublime. From Jasper, drive to Maligne Lake and for $71/adult take the 1.5 hr classic cruise to reach the island and snag your shot. Unfortunately, it’s a quick stop so make sure you’re first off the boat! Or, better yet, take the Premium cruise ($101/adult), a 2 hour tour geared for photographers. (see pg2) Waterton Lakes National Park: Perched on the wind-blasted bluff above the lake, the historic Prince of Wales Hotel is a striking subject in this classic scene. Getting the shot is simple: pull over when the hotel comes into view and shoot until your heart is content. In fall, when the aspens go gold, the scene can really “pop.” Story and Photos By Andrew Penner 6 | Enter Our Photo Contest
Alberta Fast Facts Capital City: Edmonton Population: 4.37 million History: Entered Canadian Confederation in 1905 Total Area: 661,848 km sq/255,541 mi sq Highest Point: Mount Columbia, 3,747 m/12,293 ft Lowest Point: Slave River, 152 m/499 ft above sea level Longest River: Peace River, 1,923 km/1,195 mi Provincial Flower: Wild Rose Provincial Tree: Lodgepole Pine Provincial Bird: Great Horned Owl Provincial Fish: Bull Trout Provincial Motto: â€œStrong and Freeâ€?
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Experience the Mountain Parks
TAKE THE BITE OUT OF CAMPING
PROTECT YOUR FAMILY FROM MOSQUITOES AND TICKS Visit off.ca for more details
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Experience the Comfort of RV‘ing We often get asked, “What’s the difference between camping and RV’ing?” The single largest reason to head to the great outdoors in an RV, is comfort. When camping, you will likely be laying on the hard ground, or, at best, on an air mattress which can spring a leak! In an RV, you get to enjoy a real honest to goodness bed. If you have an old mattress, get a new one, or add a mattress topper. And bring along proper sheets and pillows. Too often people think they can’t have ‘good sheets’ in the wild. Perhaps even more importantly, is that your kids will also get a good night’s sleep. Bunk beds mean no fighting over blankets, space, no kicking in their sleep, and happier children throughout the day. Under slept children are cranky kids. On rainy days, your family can be inside playing board games
Photo Courtesy of Parks Canada / Rogie
or cards. Or, have a movie night (complete with microwaveable popcorn) instead of being miserable in a cold, damp tent. Babies? Not only is food preperation a breeze, having a stove means you can sterilize bottles, and warm milk or baby food with ease. But, have you ever changed a dirty diaper on a picnic table (on which, you are soon going to have dinner!) You can pack more clothing options, so you will be prepared for the changing weather conditions found all to often in the mountain parks. Bring lots of layers, and just in case you go out to a nice restaurant, bring lots of options, so you’ll have something nice to wear. And lastly, an RV has lots of storage, so you’ll have room for baby toys and a crib, as well as all of your summer gear such as bikes, kayaks, life jackets and even your golf clubs!
RVing. It’s definitely the way to go. 9 | ExperienceTravelGuides.com
Experience Waterton Lakes National Park
As a child, I was lucky to have grandparents who lived 60 km away from Waterton Lakes National Park. On hot summer days, my siblings - or cousins - and I would beg one of the adults to take us there for the day. We would head straight to the outdoor pool, rent green bathing suits for one dollar, and go for a swim. After that, a picnic of fried chicken and baked beans made for a perfect summer day. Waterton seemed to be mine. We roamed freely, there was nothing to trouble us. We learned to respect the wilderness, were taught by our parents that bears needed their distance, and learned the hard way that the water in the Waterton Lakes is freezing, always freezing, no matter how hot the day. I’ve been working on my rock skipping skills my entire life, and nowhere, absolutely nowhere that I have been, has rocks as smooth and round and pancake flat as does Waterton. Waterton changed very little since my childhood until recent years. The 2017 Kenow Fire burned 80% of the hiking trails,
many of which are still to reopen. That fire also destroyed the original Visitors’ Centre, a charming stone building nestled beneath The Bear’s Hump on the edge of town. Now, three years after the fire, Waterton’s beauty is even more unique. A hike on one of the trails will take you through a kaleidoscope of wild mountain colour. Imagine a patchwork quilt with blue lupine and purple bee balm blooming in vast drifts, with the bright green of ash-fertilized grass and nodding white daisies sprinkled with the pink of Alberta roses. All this colour is set against black tree trunks and backed by an Alberta blue sky. Waterton is unique. Wildflowers grow there that are found in few other places in the Rockies. It is part of the Crown of the Continent ecosystem, biologically and physically diverse, and then... there’s that wind. Strong enough to blow a two-burner campstove, lit and with a pot of bubbling porridge on it, across a picnic table, or to lift a tent with a sleeping family of five right off the ground, Waterton’s winds are legendary. They shape the
The 2017 Kenow Wildfire impacted Waterton Lakes National Park areas and facilities. To find out what is currently open and closed in the park, please visit pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/waterton/visit/ideale_best 10 | Enter Our Photo Contest
Experience Waterton Lakes National Park forests and sculpt the hills. There’s a local saying, “If it isn’t windy, it isn’t Waterton.” Waterton Park was set aside in 1895, nestled in the southwest corner of the Province of Alberta, it borders Glacier National Park in the State of Montana, USA. In 1931, Rotary Clubs from each region suggested the two parks be joined, creating the first International Peace Park in the world. A symbol of friendship, this partnership also creates cooperation in the stewardship of this unique area. Hikers can put their boots on in Canada, and hike in the United States. It is also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The Triple Crown Hikes: Crypt Lake, the Carthew-Alderson and Akamina Ridge trails are all world-class bucket-list hikes. The Triple Crown Challenge of completing all three hikes – a total distance of 55.2 km – in one summer, will get you bragging rights, a commemorative pin, and your name in lights a local café. Waterton has a year-round population of about 300. In summer those numbers swell into the thousands, but it was made for
walking. The town itself is only six by four streets wide, so park your car and walk everywhere. Walk the path on the shore of the lakes, find a perfect skipping rock and see how many times you can make it bounce across the water. But study the rock and notice the colour of it before you send it off. Waterton’s fascinating geology has resulted in names such as Red Rock Canyon, and colourful red and green argillite stones that inspired this name can be found on the beaches, sand, riverbeds, and waterfall-cut canyons, as well as in man-made habitats, put to use forming old rock walls, the foundations of the older buildings in town, even as part of sidewalks. Waterton’s unique character is a treasure. A designation as respected as the UNESCO Biosphere term should be coined to commemorate its charm, beauty, and simplicity. So, Happy Anniversary Waterton! May your gentle charms remind us to slow down, wild winds make us feel alive, wildflowers dazzle us, your many bears demand our complete respect (and very safe distance) and may your representation of peace as well as cooperation help us to understand one another. By: Lisa Christensen
Waterton’s only Lakefront Resort is framed by the Canadian Rockies, and we have all you would desire in a mountain getaway - from untamed scenery to full on-site amenities. Let our family take care of yours.
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Experience Waterton Lakes National Park
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Experience Waterton Lakes National Park
mywaterton.ca 13 | ExperienceTravelGuides.com
Experience Waterton Lakes National Park See Campground Directory on pg 67
Some areas may be closed due to the 2017 Kenow wildfire. Check parkscanada.ca/waterton frequently for updates and closures.
See Legend on page 67
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Alpine Stables Come visit Alpine Stables and experience spectacular scenery on horse back in Waterton Lakes National Park! Alpine Stables has seen a
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lot of changes in the last 50 years, including multiple floods, changes in Waterton landmarks and growth of our family, now in the 5th generation. One of the biggest changes being the Kenow Fire of 2017 where all of Alpine Stablesâ€™ buildings were lost. Now in 2020 we will be operating out of a brand new facility! What remains is our love for Waterton and sharing the natural and cultural
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history with visitors from around the world. Since 1969-we are proud to partner with Parks Canada in showcasing this remarkable place.
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Experience Banff National Park Banff National Park (BNP) runs northwesterly from Canmore to the Columbia Icefield. This is the birthplace of Canada’s national park system. Established in 1885, after three railway workers discovered hot springs, BNP has become a world class destination. The park now hosts an estimated 4 million visitors each year. Our map on pg 18 details eight of the many popular attractions and provides the locations of the campgrounds. The international airports in Calgary and Edmonton serve travellers flying into the region. Buses run to BNP year-round, from each of these large urban centres. In addition, both Via Rail and Rocky Mountaineer Vacations operate rail passenger sightseeing trips in western Canada, with stops in Banff and Jasper from May to October. Within BNP are two important communities: The Town of Banff and the Village of Lake Louise. It’s easy to get around either community without your vehicle. That’s great because parking is at a premium and some lots cannot accommodate large vehicles such as RVs. Municipal lots and street parking and are free but have time restrictions. “Roam” is the name of the local public transit system. You’ll find our map of the Town of Banff on pg 20, along with 15 map keys starting on pg 19, to ensure a magical time.
With a record number of visitors in the national parks each of the past few years, the owners of HopOnBanff claim that since 2017, their service has changed the way visitors see the Park. Buy a Day Pass, hop on and hop off as you like, and avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot. HopOnBanff is affordable, safe, and eco-friendly. The Legacy Trail runs 26 km along the highway right-of-way between Banff and Canmore. Part of The Great Trail, formerly the Trans-Canada Trail, it is a popular paved, recreational trail suitable for walking, bicycling, and in-line skating. Note: riding from Canmore to Banff is mainly uphill and typically into the wind, so expect it to take twice as long to ride to Banff as it takes you to ride to Canmore. Located 45 min west of Banff is the Village of Lake Louise. The mountains that surround are internationally renowned for their majestic beauty. Lake Louise is often referred to as the Hiking Capital of Canada. In the summer, go for a simple stroll around the lake, a physically demanding climb, or be whisked away in a gondola to the top of the world. You’ll find our map of Lake Louise on pg 25 along with important map keys and a valuable coupon for the gondola!
Pick up a copy of Experience Western Adventures & Cowboy Trails for an authentic western adventure or download it ExperienceTravelGuides.com
Enrich your visit to the Rockies with books from Mountain Vision Publishing
Visit ParksCanada.gc.ca regularly for up-to-date information on events, activities and key dates in the Mountain National Parks. 15 | ExperienceTravelGuides.com
Walking Through History
Photo Courtesy of Chic Scott
The Old Banff Cemetery is one of the most beautiful in all of Canada. Located about 3 blocks from the centre of town (604 Buffalo Street) this cemetery is home for eternity to cowboys and mountaineers, soldiers and surveyors, poets and painters. In its silent way it tells the story of Banff and an afternoon spent exploring here reveals the rich history of this town and the unique people who have lived here. Wander the paths amongst pine and spruce trees soughing in the wind while high above the sun gleams on snow covered peaks. The cemetery is a place of peace in this hectic little tourist town - a lovely place to sit on a bench and contemplate. This cemetery is now the resting place of the mortal remains of over 2000 individuals. The main paths are laid out in the form of a cross and there is a field of honour in the heart of the cemetery for those who served in the armed forces. All nationalities and religions are represented and mixed together. William “Billy” McCardell the railway worker who stumbled upon the Cave and Basin Hot Springs in 1883, rests here, as does Fred Bagley, the bugle boy who marched west with the North West Mountain Police in 1874. The first person buried in this cemetery was a baby, Adelia Woodworth, in 1890.
Here you will find love stories - like that of Peter and Catharine Whyte who met at art school in Boston. And there are stories of heroism, like that of RCMP Officer Scotty Harrison who was shot while attempting to apprehend an escaped murderer. There are tragic stories like that of teenager Sandy Thompson who was paralyzed while ski jumping at Mount Norquay in 1935 and died several years later. His stone is graced with a beautiful bronze image of ski tracks skiing into the sunset. There are many interesting memorials - artistic bronzes like those of Pearl and Phillip Moore depicting bucking horses and mountain climbers. There are natural stones like that of photographer Lloyd Harmon and big mausoleums like Jim Brewster’s, the man who Liberty magazine called “Canada’s Mountain King”. The grave of Dave Spence is adorned with the pin from a golf course green and Jon Whyte’s gravestone displays a unique circular poem. Pioneer outfitters like Tom Wilson and Bill Peyto are buried here as are Cyril Paris and Cliff White who started Mount Norquay Ski Camp and Skoki Lodge. A.O Wheeler formed the Alpine Club of Canada and surveyed the Alberta/British Columbia Boundary. Norman Luxton, called Mr. Banff, founded Banff Indian Days and the Banff Winter Carnival.
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Walking Through History Mary Schaeffer, a Quaker woman from Philadelphia, who found her way to Maligne Lake and so loved the Canadian Rockies that she married her guide and settled in Banff. The home that they built, called Tarry-a-While, is located just across the street from the cemetery.
from cancer in 1976 at the age of 37. I cannot visit his grave without shedding a tear.
Other prominent citizens resting here include Dr. Robert Brett who was Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta from 1915 to 1925. But ordinary mortals can be found here too, like Ho Ping who had his tailor shop in the alley behind the Dominion Café.
If you are interested in tracking down an individual who is buried in the Old Banff Cemetery then this interactive map will help you locate a grave: banffmaps.ca/oldbanffcemetery
Near the north entrance to the banff cemetery is the Bankhead Miners Memorial which honours the 15 men who died in Bankhead but were all buried in Banff. According to the town of Banff website, “Mourners would travel nearly nine kilometres on foot, often preceded by the Bankhead Mine Band, to bury their dead.”
And then there are those whose tales remain unknown. Each year I discover new stones and new stories.
“At Rest in the Peaks” published by the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, is a small book which tells the stories of 17 individuals or couples who are buried in the cemetery. It is available for $6.95 from the Whyte Museum gift shop. Each summer, on Doors Open Banff Day in early August, the Whyte Museum offers a tour of the cemetery. I usually lead this tour and hope to see you there. Visit whyte.org for details.
For me the most poignant grave is that of Lloyd MacKay, my good friend and mountain climbing companion, who died
Photo Courtesy of Chic Scott
By: Chic Scott
Photo Courtesy of Kathy Madill-Scott
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Experience Banff National Park Town of Jasper, JASPER NATIONAL PARK (233 km from Lake Louise)
Kilometres 0 Miles 0
See Campground Directory on pg 66
See legend on page 67
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Banff National Park Campgrounds Liquor Ban Fri-Mon on all long weekends
Parks Canada has made a number of changes for the 2020 season visit parkscanada.gc.ca for up-to-date information. 18 | Enter Our Photo Contest
Calgary (128 km from Banff)
Distance (km) from Banff/Lake Louise 3/49 Backswamp 6/46 Mule Shoe 8/44 Prescribed Burn 11/41 Sawback 13/39 Hillsdale 16/36 Pilot Pond 21/31 Moose Meadow 26/26 Castle Cliffs 28/24 Storm Mountain 40/12 Baker Creek 48/4 Morantâ€™s Curve
Stop at roadside viewpoints and interpretive exhibits along this scenic road between Banff and Lake Louise. See Pg 21
Along the Bow Valley Parkway Hwy 1A
Visitor Centre 224 Banff Ave & 327 Railway Ave.
1 The Town of Banff - All Services
Drive with care on this busy thoroughfare. Look for five animal overpasses just between Banff and Lake Louise, one more west of Lake Louise, all built to allow wildlife to cross the road safely.
Banff National Park Map Keys
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ROCKY MOUNTAIN HOUSE National Historic Site (167 km from Saskatchewan Crossing)
Experience Banff National Park Banff National Park Map Keys
Banff Townsite Map Keys
See map page 18
See map page 20
2 Johnston Canyon
1 Parks Canada Visitor Centre
25 km (30 min) from Banff Exciting cat-walks cling to the canyon walls. Interpretive Display, 1.1 km (20 min) to the Lower Falls, 2.7 km to the Upper Falls. Stay on the trail and away from the edge.
224 Banff Avenue and 327 Railway Avenue 403-762-1550
2 Cave & Basin National Historic Site
311 Cave Avenue. The birthplace of Canada’s national park system.
3 Village of Lake Louise - Most Services Parks Canada Visitor Centre by Samson Mall. Ride the Gondola mid-May to mid-Oct. “The Hiking Capital of Canada” reflects the best high elevation hiking in the Rockies - including the Plain of Six Glaciers, and the famous Iceline Trail in Yoho National Park. See pg 25 for Shuttle Service Along the Icefields Parkway Hwy 93
3 Banff Park Museum National Historic Site
91 Banff Ave (by the Bow River Bridge) Discover Banff’s wildlife 403-762-1558 sh Red Paintbru
- Courtesy of
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Named for the series of glaciers lining this route, the parkway is one of the world’s great mountain highroads. This drive along the “backbone of the continent” from Lake Louise to the town of Jasper takes half a day, with time to stop and admire the views. Stock up on camera supplies.
Bow Falls & Banff Springs Hotel National Historic Site Magnificent views from either side of the Bow River.
For details turn to pg 34 & 35
4 Crowfoot Glacier
34 km (25 min) from Lake Louise A century ago, there were three “toes” of ice here. How many can you see today?
Upper Hot Springs Pool
Baby Bear - Courtesy
1-800-767-1611 Mountain Avenue. Heritage Bath House Locker, swimsuit and towel rentals, Café, and Gift Shop. Open year-round. Summer 9 am - 11 pm. hotsprings.ca
of Hilke Beuck
Banff Gondola & Sulphur Mountain
5 Bow Summit and Peyto Lake Viewpoint
1-800-760-6934 Mountain Avenue. Open year-round. Take the Gondola to the summit for breathtaking views. Interpretive boardwalk to historic exhibit.
40 km (30 min) from Lake Louise - Interpretive Display 2088 m (6849’) above sea level. A short walk from the parking area leads to a view of brilliant turquoise Peyto Lake and, in July and August, an astonishing array of alpine flowers.
Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum
6 Mistaya Canyon
72 km (50 min) from Lake Louise Only 10 min by trail from the road. Look for rounded potholes and a natural arch on the canyon walls.
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403-762-2388 1 Birch Avenue. Aboriginal history, displays, live performances and demonstrations. Operated by several First Nations including the Cree, the Blackfoot Confederacy, Tsuu T’ina and the Stoney. buffalonationsmuseum.ca.
Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
7 Saskatchewan Crossing
77 km (55 min) from Lake Louise - Interpretive Display Three rivers converge here: the Mistaya (Great Bear) River from the south, the Howse River from the west (the route used in 1807 by David Thompson to cross the Great Divide), the North Saskatchewan from the north - arising in the Columbia Icefield and emptying into Lake Winnipeg. Services available April - October.
403-762-2291 111 Bear Street. Brings mountain history, art and culture alive. Special learning programs for young children. whyte.org.
The turnoff is 1 km west of Banff, on the south side of the Trans-Canada Highway. Enjoy views of Mount Rundle from the pull-outs along this road.
8 Columbia Icefield and Info Centre
130 km (1.5 hrs) from Lake Louise 90 min Motorized Tours take you onto the glacier. Glacier Exhibits illustrate the effects of global warming. Restaurant, picnics, rooms, guided ice walks and more. Most Services available May 1 - Oct 15.
The Cascades of Time Garden
Flower gardens with walking path behind the Banff Park Administration Building. Great for families: FREE ADMISSION. Open Daily.
Cascade Ponds (Minnewanka Loop)
10 min - A favourite with locals and visitors alike. Grassy meadows, clear shallow pools, and a small beach. Picnic areas with fire pits. Accessible on foot and bicycle via Banff Legacy Trail. Elk - Courtesy of Wendy And
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Experience Banff 13
NOT TO SCALE CASCADE FIRE ROAD
Banff Townsite Map Keys
An easy trail circles this shallow lake. A small beach and good wildlife watching. Picnic tables.
A short interpretive trail leads to this superb view point, or book a rafting trip to view the Hoodoos from the Bow River.
(Lake of the Water Spirits) Boat tours available, 800-760-6934 Leisurely lakeside stroll to Stewart Canyon (30 min).
The Hoodoos (Tunnel Mountain Road)
Two Jack Lake TWO JACK LAKESIDE
Charming short and easy stroll through the surface workings of the coal mine and the outline of the old town site. Picnic area and trailhead. Road closed in winter.
Johnson Lake (Minnewanka Loop)
Bankhead (Minnewanka Loop)
TWO JACK MAIN
Continued from page 19
11 Cascade Ponds
Lake Minnewanka Interchange
Cascade Mountain 2998 m 9836'
Ca n Ca mo lg re ar , y
SKI NORQUAY TR GA K
ay Road orqu
O NEL M
DR IV E
BANFF SPRINGS HOTEL
AIN NT OU RAIL R M LK T LPU A SU ARDW BO Sulphur Mountain 2451 m 8042'
Sanson Peak 2256 m 7402'
GL MIDDLE SPR INGS
Y NA TE
CAVE AND BASIN NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
PARK INBOW RA
THE BANFF CENTRE
LVE R I WO
Tunnel Mountain 1692 m 5551'
N LIE JU ST. GRIZZLY
9 Recreation grounds
X LYN BOW
1st Vermilion Lake
2nd Vermilion Lake
ON E ILI RIV RM D VE K E S LA
LAKE LOUISE SKI AREA
o nt N Mou
Mount Norquay Interchange
Stoney Squaw Mountain 1868 m 6129â€™
Mount Rundle 2949 m 9675'
UPPER HOT SPRINGS POOL
7 BANFF GONDOLA
not to scale
See Campground Directory on pg 66 See legend on page 67
2nd Floor - Cascade Shops
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Experience the Bow Valley Parkway Protecting wildlife is the foundation of a sustainable future for the parks and a great visitor experience. To ensure this special area remains a high quality home for wildlife, from March to June, travel by vehicle, bicycle, or foot is not permitted between 8pm - 8am on the 17 km section between Johnston Canyon Campground and the Trans-Canada Highway. This travel restriction will allow wildlife to move unimpeded across the landscape, use high-quality habitat, and engage in normal behaviour. It is part of a larger action plan to ensure the ecologically rich Bow Valley Parkway area continues as a worldclass setting for visitors to learn about and experience the park, and as a safe environment for wildlife. All businesses remain open during this period of mandatory travel restriction and are easily accessible via the Castle Junction exit.
Johnston Canyon - Courtesy of: Leighton Lum
The Bow Valley Parkway is a very scenic, 48 km road that runs parallel to the Trans-Canada Highway between Banff and Lake Louise. Its eastern portion travels through a vital part of the park, called the montane, that provides critical habitat for large carnivores, including wolves, cougars and bears. Jasper
Lake Louis Ski
LAKE LOUISE 3
Y AY KW
i a H
Stop at roadside viewpoints and interpretive exhibits along this scenic road between Banff and Lake Louise.
Along the Bow Valley Parkway Hwy 1A
Protection 6 Mountain
Castle 1 Mountain
Rockbound Lake Si lv er to n
Radium Hot Springs
See Campground Directory on pg 66 See legend on page 67
W Tr RIV an ER s-
in de rm W
Distance (km) from Banff/Lake Louise 3/49 Backswamp 6/46 Mule Shoe 8/44 Prescribed Burn 11/41 Sawback 13/39 Hillsdale 16/36 Pilot Pond Mystic 21/31 Moose Meadow Peak 26/26 Castle Cliffs 28/24 Storm Mountain Mount 40/12 Baker Creek Ishbel 48/4 Morantâ€™s Curve
PA Corey RK W AY
Calgary Ski Norquay 1
Vermilion BANFF Lakes
Parks Canada has made a number of changes for the 2020 season visit parkscanada.gc.ca for up-to-date information. 21 | ExperienceTravelGuides.com
Hidden Gems - Lake Louise
Stanley Glacier Fireweed
Looking to Avoid the Crowds Parking lot gridlock has come to the shores of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, complicating access to some of the best trails in the Rockies. If you plan to drive to a trailhead at Lake Louise, you would do well to arrive before sunrise. Alternatively, take a bus from Banff. A round-trip adult day pass on ROAM (public transit) is $20. Hop On Banff is a private operator that offers an Adult Day Pass for $60. Or, reserve a seat on Parks Canada’s Lake Louise Park and Ride program. They operate shuttles to and from Lake Louise and Moraine Lake every 15 mins between 8:00 a.m and 6:30 p.m. (fee charged) Want to avoid the crowds? No problems! Here are five trails within striking distance of Lake Louise that will surely impress.
Castle Lookout: moderate, 3.8 km one-way Trailhead: On the Bow Valley Parkway (Hwy 1A), 4.9 km west of Castle Junction; 20.1 km east of Lake Louise. Access the Bow Valley Parkway from Castle Junction on Hwy 1.
Although you spend much of this short outing in pine forest, the destination delivers a “Wow!” view - the massive, glaciallycarved trough of the Bow Valley. With its southwest aspect, this trail is a great prospect for an early season hike. If you go early in June, check yourself for wood ticks during and after the trip. Built in the early 1940s, the Castle Mountain fire lookout was one of 7 in Banff National Park. In the 1970s, Parks Canada began using helicopters for smoke patrols. Everything but the concrete footings of the building has since been removed. Take care at the cliff edge.
Boom Lake: moderate, 5.1 km one-way Trailhead: Boom Creek picnic area, located on the north side of the Kootenay Parkway (Hwy 93 South), just 7.0 km west of Castle Junction. The Boom Lake outing offers an undemanding stroll through an ancient subalpine forest. The destination is the match of any lake in the Rockies. Its shores are a wonderful place to wile
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Hidden Gems - Lake Louise
Helen Creek Meadows
Bow Glacier Falls
away the hours. If hiking in September you will be treated to golden displays of Lyallâ€™s larch surrounding the lake.
Stanley Glacier: moderate, 4.2 km one-way
The trail crosses the base of a quartzite rockslide - a good place to look for hoary marmots - and then descends into a ravine. Rock-hop the stream and continue north on a braided trail across the alpine tundra toward Lake Helen.
Trailhead: Located on the south side of the Kootenay Parkway, 13.4 km west of Castle Junction.
Bow Glacier Falls: harder, 5.0 km one-way
The Stanley Glacier trail explores a hanging valley and offers close-up views of three processes that have shaped the Rockies: fire, avalanches, and glaciation. The trailside displays of wildflowers are spectacular. If you are hiking in July, consider this outing even if the weather is not great. You may see moose, mountain goats, white-tailed ptarmigan, and hoary marmots.
Lake Helen: harder, 6.0 km one-way Trailhead: East side of the Icefields Parkway, 32.5 km north of Hwy 1; opposite the Crowfoot Glacier viewpoint. For the first 3 km, this trail ascends steadily as it contours around the south end of an outlying ridge of Cirque Peak. In late July, the meadows in the valley of Helen Creek are packed with an array of upper subalpine wildflowers: paintbrush, Sitka valerian, western anemone, bracted lousewort, fleabane, arnica, glacier lily, mountain heather, and yellow columbine.
Trailhead: Located on the west side of the Icefields Parkway, 35.1 km north of Hwy 1. Follow the Num-ti-Jah Lodge access road west for 400 m to the public parking area. Walk the gravel road west toward the lake, curving northwest (right) in front of the lodge to the trailhead on the lakeshore. For more than a century, the shores of Bow Lake have been a favourite stopping place. No wonder. This relatively short hike is packed with variety - it offers a lakeshore stroll with fine views, an ascent alongside a canyon, a rough track across a moraine field, and a spray-filled panorama of a waterfall. The Canadian Rockies look the way that they do for three main reasons: they are made from sedimentary rocks, the rock layers were thrust upward during their creation, and the landscape has since been heavily eroded â€“ principally by glacial ice.
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Photos and Story by: Graeme Pole
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Sightseeing Lift, Restaurant & Hiking Trails The best Grizzly Bear viewing and Scenery in the Rockies!
Experience Lake Louise
GONDOLA RIDE Open Daily
Summer 2020 season TOLL FREE
Plenty of FREE Parking
lakelouisegondola.com See Campground Directory on pg 66
Destinations in the area are extremely popular and significant traffic congestion can occur. Parking at Lake Louise and Moraine Lake is limited and fills quickly. Plan ahead. Make the most of your visit by using shuttles and transit.
See legend on pg 67
Lake Louise Visitor Centre at Samson Mall Banff/Lake Louise Tourism 403-762-8421. Parks Canada Visitor Centre 403-522-3833. Gift Shop. Open 7 days a week. For hours visit: pc.gc.ca/banff. Lake Louise - 5 min from the Village Stoney Indians called it the "Lake of Little Fishes" The easy stroll around the lakeshore is stunning. Access point for more difficult hikes.
Moraine Lake - 20 min from the Village Nestled in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Hiking restrictions when grizzly bears in the area: tight groups of 4+ hikers. Open late May to early Oct.
Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola 4.5 km from the village; 403-522-3555 Summer Gondola runs mid-May to mid-Oct. but come back to ski early Nov. to mid-May.
Parks Canada has made a number of changes for the 2020 season visit parkscanada.gc.ca for up-to-date information. 25 | ExperienceTravelGuides.com
Steel Dreams: The Fascinating History of Canada’s Railway
Locomotive and Train in Rocky Mountains, Field, British Columbia 1903-1905 Image NA-428-1 Courtesy of The Glenbow Museum
Canada was five provinces strong and less than four years old when, in 1871, Prime Minister John A. Macdonald floated his promise. If the colony of British Columbia (BC) would enter Confederation, the federal government would link it to the east by a railway to be completed within ten years. Macdonald’s pledge acknowledged neither the political nor the physical realities of the intensely rugged mountains of BC. In crossing the province-to-be, the tracks of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) would need to make roller-coaster traverses of three mountain ranges, squeeze through the canyons of the Thompson and Fraser rivers, and, finally, make an end-run around a fourth mountain. It is probably just as well that Macdonald had never seen those mountains. For if he had known about the perils posed by the western slope of Kicking Horse Pass – a place that would become known as the Big Hill – he may well have reconsidered and his dream of uniting Canada may never have become a reality.
The Critics, the General, and the Major The many critics of the project were proved right. The fledgling country was incapable of financing a transcontinental railway. The surveys of the 1870s cost $3.5 million alone and would, by 1884, top $37 million. When construction finally got underway in 1880 it would devour $1.5 million per month.
To orchestrate the construction chaos the CPR hired William Cornelius Van Horne, a railway titan from the Midwestern US touted as “the ablest railway general in the world.” Van Horne was more than equal to the task. In fact, he had energy and ideas to spare. To the chagrin of Canadian newspapers, Van Horne hired Major A.B. Rogers, another American, to plot the route for the railway through the Rockies and Selkirks. The CPR’s charter stipulated that the grade of the railway could not exceed 2.2 percent (116.2 feet of elevation change per mile). The line that Major Rogers surveyed from Laggan (now Lake Louise) to the crest of Kicking Horse Pass climbed 1.8 percent over the 5.8 miles. This was steep for a railway, but nowhere near as steep as the plunge that lay ahead. From the outlet of Wapta Lake, the waters of the Kicking Horse River tumbled westward, dropping 1140 feet in 7.55 railway miles. For fully 3.25 miles of that distance, the grade was 4.5 percent. Major Rogers defied gravity and honored the terms of the CPR charter, staking a line for the rails across the southern flank of the Kicking Horse Valley. However, to follow the Major’s line, the CPR would have required a 1400-foot long tunnel and crossings of many avalanche paths and unstable areas. It estimated the cost at $124,775 per mile – double the average elsewhere. The work would have required an extra year and the railway would likely have gone bankrupt with the resulting delay.
The Temporary Solution After reassessing Rogers’ survey work, Van Horne put forward a “temporary solution.” He proposed to run the rails straight down the west slope of Kicking Horse Pass on the 4.5 percent grade. Van Horne’s logic was driven by an immediate need: complete the railway and open it for business in order to prevent the financial collapse of the whole venture. The government of the day reluctantly conceded. When the line was completed and opened in 1886, the resulting railway horror became known as the Big Hill. Nonetheless, Van Horne’s temporary solution would endure for 25 years until construction of the Spiral Tunnels.
Tourism, Accidentally Although Canada’s national park system arose from the discovery of hot springs at Banff in the autumn of 1883, it was Van Horne’s idea to park a dining car at the base of the Big Hill at Field that led to the establishment of tourism in the Canadian Rockies. Two locomotives were required to haul a short passenger train between Field and Laggan. The CPR could ill afford the luxury of including a heavy dining car, as this would have required a third locomotive. So Van Horne set the dining car on a siding and timed the arrival of trains to (hopefully) match meal times. Disembarking visitors were awestruck by the mountain scenery. Van Horne realized that the facility should be expanded to offer overnight accommodation and made sure this was done before the end of the first season of passenger train operation in 1886. The original building underwent annual expansions during its
first two decades with a major addition in 1901 that was designed by F.M. Rattenbury. At its peak in 1908, the Mt. Stephen House welcomed 8443 guests, boasted 60 rooms, a 200-seat dining room, a billiards room, and a library.
Tourism With Intent Van Horne took a calculated approach to establishing Banff as a resort. After appraising the potential of the local hot springs and surveying the surrounding mountains, he proclaimed: “Since we can’t export the scenery, we’ll have to import the tourists.” Van Horne chose a site for a hotel at the confluence of the Spray and Bow rivers. Construction began in 1886. When the 250-room Banff Springs Hotel opened in June 1888, it was the largest hotel in the world and was supplied with water piped from the nearby hot springs. Room rates started at $3.50 per day. Five thousand visitors arrived that first summer. Many had to be turned away to sleep in boxcars at the railway station, for which privilege Van Horne charged a mere $1.50 per day. The CPR built its first log chalet on the shore of Lake Louise in 1890. As with the hotels at Banff and Field, the facility went through many incarnations and by 1913 could house 400 guests. Whereas the CPR marketed the Banff Springs Hotel as a luxury resort, it pitched Lake Louise to those with a keen interest in the outdoors. As a result, Lake Louise became a beacon for artists and mountaineers whose published accounts helped to put the Canadian Rockies on the global map of places to visit. By: Graeme Pole
Look for Graeme Pole’s The Spiral Tunnels and the Big Hill in bookstores throughout the Rockies. Visit his website: mountainvision.ca
Mt. Stephen House and Mountain, Field, B.C. Image CVA 2-96 Courtesy of The City of Vancouver Archives
Locomotive Entering Tunnel. Courtesy of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies (V263-NA-1712)
Rocky Mountain High
Spring marks picnic season in Alberta and British Columbia, this year, cannabis edibles are sure to be on a few tongues. Edibles are the perfect option for those who want to avoid smoking cannabis. Edibles are made with cannabis oils or dried flowers. They made their legal debut here in Canada in October 2019, one-year after dried flower was legalized. But before you chomp into your tasty cannabis-laced treat, chat with your doctor to make sure edibles are right for you. Ingesting cannabis is very different than inhaling it and can interact with other medications. Side effects include low blood pressure, anxiety, depression, hallucinations and a racing heart. Do your research. Choosing a recognized, licensed seller will ensures your product is always safe and consistent. Edibles can be purchased either online or at a store. And when consuming cannabis edibles, “start low and go slow” because the effects can stay with you far longer than after inhaling it - up to 24 hours.
After you take that first bite: • Don’t drive for at least 24 hours. • Don’t drink alcohol - edibles don’t mix well with alcohol. • It can take from 1/2 hr to 4 hrs to feel the effects. • The ‘high’ from ingesting cannabis is more potent than after inhaling it. Health Canada advises you to know the THC content in their edibles, and 10 mg is considered an average dose. However, they say that’s enough to produce significant side effects in novices or casual users, and advises starting with a 5 mg dose. Wait up to two hours before consuming more. At this point you’re probably wondering, “What’s it going to do to me?” Everyone is different and the time it takes to feel anything will vary along with differences in side effects. Edibles are a great alternative to smoking or inhaling cannabis, but be informed and stay safe. That goes for dried flower as well. For more info on cannabis read ‘Rocky Mountain High’ featured last May in Experience the Mountain Parks. Visit Health Canada online for more information. By: Kerri Robins
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Rocky Mountain High Where and when you can and cannot consume cannabis in Alberta’s National Parks (Banff, Jasper, Waterton Lakes) You can smoke or vape cannabis: • If you are 18+ years old; • In campsites with valid permits from 7am to 11pm; • In public areas including day-use area; • On front and back country trails; • In the hamlet of Lake Louise; • In Waterton Lakes National Park public areas within the town boundary; and
You cannot smoke or vape cannabis: • In campground common areas including playgrounds, kitchen shelters, washrooms, trails, roads; • Within five metres of buildings throughout the park or small municipalities; • During summer long weekends from Victoria Day through Labour Day; • During special events or festivals; • In any public places within the Town of Banff and municipality of Jasper including day-use areas at Pyramid, Annette, Edith beaches and Palisades Centre; and Banff Upper Hot Springs.
Where and when you can and cannot consume cannabis in British Columbia’s National Parks (Kootenay, Yoho, Mount Revelstoke, Glacier) You can smoke or vape cannabis: • If you are 19+ years old; • In campsites with valid permits; • In public areas including day-use area; • On front and back country trails; and • In the townsite of Field (Yoho National Park) in public areas within the town boundary.
You cannot smoke or vape cannabis: • In campground common areas including playgrounds, kitchen shelters, washrooms, trails, roads; and • Within six metres of buildings throughout the park or small municipalities. 29 | ExperienceTravelGuides.com
Stand Up Paddleboarding
Moraine Lake Stand up Paddleboarding (SUP) is one of the most popular water sports across the world today, and what better place to try it than on one of our beautiful mountain lakes? Paddlers can glide across tranquil waters with loons calling in the background at sunrise, or catch some easy waves while riding the Bow River from Banff to Canmore. For more of an adventure, try the newest craze to hit the Rockies. Rent an inflatable board and go SUP Hiking to pristine backcountry lakes. Getting Started – Where to Rent and Get Outfitted Before you jump on the lake, you’ll need to equip yourself with a board, paddle, and personal floatation device (pfd). A rental package will usually include an ankle leash, and includes other safety gear such as a whistle and a rescue throw bag which are both required by all paddlers in Canada. There aren’t many lakeside rental companies operating in the Rockies so you may want to rent a board in Calgary, Canmore, Banff, or Jasper and transport it to your destination. Inflatable boards are the easiest to transport, and the Banff Canoe Club rents them out by the day with a pump and all required gear. The Kananaskis Outfitters rents boards on weekends at the Barrier Lake Day Use Area in Kananaskis. Nervous to try SUP for the first time without a lesson? Bow Valley SUP, operating out of the Banff and Canmore area, can get you set up with a lesson, rental, and guided first trip. They also offer family-friendly trips and a rental service for those wanting to head out alone.
Top 10 Lakes to SUP Across the Canadian Rockies 1. Vermillion Lakes, Banff—These three lakes are located next to the Banff townsite and provide great opportunities for wildlife viewing. Mt. Rundle provides a stunning backdrop and the water is usually calm for novice paddlers. There are docks located along Vermillion Lakes Drive at each lake and parking can be found along the side of the road. The first lake can also be reached from the Banff Canoe Club docks in town by paddling up Echo Creek. This trip offers beginners a chance to try moving water with a small current that can be paddled both up and downstream. 2. Two Jack Lake and Johnson Lake, Banff—These two lakes are located just outside of town on Lake Minnewanka Loop Rd. Lake Minnewanka is a great place to paddle, however wind and big waves make it much more dangerous than the smaller Two Jack and Johnson Lakes. Both lakes have day use parking with beach areas for families. 3. Lake Louise and Moraine Lake—These iconic Banff lakes should be on every paddler’s bucket list. Views don’t get better than from Lake Louise with Mt. Victoria as your backdrop, or from Moraine Lake circled by the 10 classic peaks that were featured on the Canadian 20 dollar bill. 4. Bow Lake, Banff—This lake is the crown jewel for paddlers travelling along the famous Icefields Parkway. (see pg 34) It’s also one of the hardest lakes to tackle by SUP because of the strong winds. If it’s a calm day, consider it your lucky
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Touring Across the Canadian Rockies day, seize the chance to paddle this magnificent lake! For an added adventure, paddle to the far end of Bow Lake and then proceed on foot to the beautiful Bow Falls. Just remember to bring along a pair of dry shoes.
overnight at the Emerald Lake Lodge and get out on the water at sunrise and sunset for a rare chance to be alone on this popular lake. While you can rent canoes onsite, there are no SUP rentals in the area.
5. Cameron Lake, Waterton—While the 3 Waterton Lakes see heavy wind and large waves, Cameron Lake is smaller, calmer, and perfect for novice paddlers.
9. Barrier Lake, Kananaskis Country—this Lake is a good one for paddlers and is close to Calgary if you want a day trip from the city. Kananaskis Outfitters rents boards lakeside at the Barrier Lake Day Use Area on summer weekends, making this one of the easiest spots to paddle.
6. Middle and Upper Waterton Lakes—If you’re experienced on a board, you’ll want to paddle from Middle to Upper Waterton Lake through the Bosporus. Pay attention to the wind and you can do the paddle one-way as an incredible down winder that just might be the highlight of your trip to the Rockies. There are many docks and day use areas available for launching, and you can set up a shuttle with the help of a bicycle using the Kootenai Brown Bike Trail. 7. Pyramid and Patricia Lakes—When visiting Jasper National Park, these are the two lakes you want to SUP for calm water, stunning reflections, and the chance to paddle with loons at sunrise. Both lakes are located in close proximity on the Pyramid Bench and the two paddles can be broken up with brunch at the Pyramid Lake Resort. Fortunately, there are SUP rentals in the Jasper area. 8. Emerald Lake, Yoho—this is named for the colour of the water that glows beneath you on a board. You can even stay
Upper Kananaskis Lake
10. Lower and Upper Kananaskis Lakes—If you have some experience under your belt, try either lake in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. The Upper Lake has several small islands that make the perfect spot for a picnic lunch and the Lower Lake has multiple day use areas if you want to set up a oneway shuttle in advance. For a real adventure, reserve a campsite at the Point Backcountry Campground on Upper Kananaskis Lake and try your first SUP backpacking trip. Recruit friends in a canoe for the outing and you won’t have to worry about how to transport your gear! Banff Canoe Club - banffcanoeclub.com Bow Valley SUP - bowvalleysup.ca Kananaskis Outfitters - kananaskisoutfitters.com Translucid Adventures - translucidadventures.com See you on the water this summer! Photos and Story by: Tanya Koob
Lake Louise 31 | ExperienceTravelGuides.com
Experiencing the Icefields Parkway Lake Louise framed Chateau Window
Peyto Lake Viewpoint
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Experiencing the Icefields Parkway If you’ve yet to explore the Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper we have one question for you – what are you waiting for!? Considered one of the most beautiful mountain drives in the world, along with the spectacular-in-a-different-way “Going To The Sun” road in Montana, the Parkway is a true gem. For just under 300 km, there are only a handful of human habitations like lodges, hostels, cafeterias as well as the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre. The rest of the time there’s nothing but highway, lakes, mountains, glaciers and wildlife.
of the giant ‘Ice-Explorers’ out on to the massive Athabasca Glacier, one arm of an ice field complex that is over one and a half times the size of Paris! The young folk who drive these monsters are well trained at both driving and entertaining you, and it’s an experience you won’t soon forget. A recent addition to this adventure is the construction of a glass-bottomed walkway that juts over the side of the Sunwapta Valley, located just north of the Centre.
And you. Having one of those quasi-spiritual experiences that an overdose of beauty can bring. Taking your car is no longer the only, or perhaps even the best, way to witness the scenery. There are many guided tours that include this route as part of their itinerary. There’s even the option of cruising along on the back of a Harley! The Parkway itself is pretty straightforward. If driving, you pay your National Park admission fee at the gates, if you don’t already have one, and cruise on up the road. And, while you’ll see a lot of spectacular scenery on that road, it’s when you dive in to the side-trips that the experience becomes truly epic. Jasper Motorcycle Tours is an exciting option for experiencing the Parkway, offering 1 to 3 hour tours around Jasper, or down the Parkway as far as the Icefields. They do the driving; you and a smallish friend go in the Harley’s sidecar. Rates start at $319 for adults, $160 for kids. The best part is you get to wear leathers and show everybody at home your inner biker.
Admission to either experience is via the visitor centre and its fleet of busses. Adult combo tour of both attractions is $103, less if you’re an Alberta resident. Like most of the big sights in Alberta’s Rockies, these are now owned by Pursuit. The company also runs the Banff Gondola and the Maligne and Minnewanka Lake cruises, so it’s worth investigating a ‘combo package’ if you’ll be spending a few days in the area. It’s also worth bringing your own snacks or lunches to these attractions, let’s just say in-house prices are reflective of the isolation. A nice spot to grab lunch is at Sunwapta Falls, 53 km south of Jasper. A visit to Athabasca Falls is not to be missed! Not the tallest, but the sheer force of the water is fantastic. Plan on spending half an hour, and walk all the way to the bottom of the gorge along the well laid out trail and viewing platforms. However you do it, experiencing the Icefields Parkway is an awesome experience of the sheer scale and magnificence of Mother Nature. Even the bears agree.
From Banff, you can now take an express transit bus as far as Lake Louise - Canada’s highest permanent settlement - with a day pass for $20 and, given the parking difficulties there, it could be your best option. See roamtransit.com for information. Buses even accept US dollars. To see the whole Parkway, an option is a an 8 hour one way guided tour from either Banff or Jasper for $159. Info: banffjaspercollection.com
Experience Travel Guides contributor Allen Gibson regularly leads tours on the Parkway.
The peak diversion is the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre, about an hour south of Jasper or 2 hr north of Banff. Ride one
See helpful map on page 34! Photos and Story By: Allen Gibson
The Icefields Centre now has free wifi - one of the few spots on the parkway where you’ll have net or cell service. You won’t be able to replicate the photo of Peyto Lake this year - the viewpoint is closed for a revamp all year.
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Experience the Icefields Parkway While plotting the border between Alberta and BC in the early 1900s, this roadway was the brainchild of Arthur O. Wheeler, who described this route as a “wonder trail”. Work began in 1931 as part of a depression-era public works program to put men to work, but the rugged terrain and short season meant the project took 9 years to complete. Isolated for centuries, 1940 ushered in an era of tourism to the region when this road opened to the public. Today, more than a million travellers experience the parkway annually.
Between Jasper & Banff, Alberta Custom Bike Tours Available
It is often referred to as “The Backbone of the Canadian Rockies”. National Geographic calls it “One of the World’s Ten Greatest Drives”. For many, it is the road trip of a lifetime. Stretching 230 km between Lake Louise and Jasper, this world-class journey amidst the peaks of the Canadian Rockies, offers easy access to a vast wilderness of ancient glaciers. It’s complete with guided adventures onto the icefields, majestic viewpoints and interpretive displays designed to enrich your understanding of glaciers and climate change.
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Experience the Icefields Parkway It is possible to travel this route in just three hours, but that would be a crime. The Icefields Parkway offers the best hiking, biking and photo opportunities in the Rockies. There are unforgettable stops along the way. The most photographed locations are the ones that are easily accessed: Bow Lake, Peyto Lake, Mistaya Canyon, Athabasca Glacier, the Columbia Icefields Centre, Athabasca Falls and Sunwapta Falls. But there are some locations tucked away, unsigned, where you may find your “mountain moment”. Some that are well worth the hike include: Herbert Lake, Panther Falls, Parker Ridge, Tangle Falls and the two-for-one stop at Waterfowl Lakes Campground to take in Cephren Lake and Cirque Lake.
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See Legend on page 67
See Campground Directory on pg 66
Pick up a copy of Experience Jasper Visitor Map to see Jasper’s Treasures
Experience Jasper National Park Special Feature Miette Hot Springs 61 km (1 hr) North of Jasper on Hwy 16 & Miette Rd. The hottest mineral springs in the Canadian Rockies. Two refreshing cool pools. Towels, bathing suits & locker rentals. Open May to Oct. 1-800-767-1611
See Campground Directory on pg 66 See legend on page 67
Plan ahead!Â Make sure you have a camping reservation before arriving. In 2020, Whistlers Campground will be closed for reconstruction. When the campground reopens, visitors will be greeted with a new registration centre, 17 new combined washroom and shower facilities, improved campsites, and wider roads for two-way traffic. Underground services will be replaced and many of the existing electrical campsites will be upgraded to 50 Amp service. For more information visit parkscanada.gc.ca Expect delays and plan for your own comfort. Travel early in the day or in the evening when traffic volumes are lower. For the most up-to-date information on roads in Alberta, dial 511 or visit 511.alberta.ca. For BC road information, call Drive BC at 1-800-550-4997 or visit drivebc.ca. Parks Canada has made a number of changes for the 2020 season visit parkscanada.gc.ca for up-to-date information.
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Experience Jasper National Park Jasper National Park Map Keys 1 The Town of Jasper - All Services
Jasper Park Information Centre 500 Connaught Dr.
2 Mount Edith Cavell
29 km (30 min) south of Jasper via 93A. A switchback road climbs 14.5 km (9 mi) to a popular viewpoint. Trailers or RVs larger than 7 m are not permitted. Open mid June - Sept.
3 Athabasca Falls
30 km (30 min) south of Jasper via 93A or 93. A bridge and platforms give views of the thundering falls. Stay on the trail and inside the protective fences.
4 Sunwapta Falls
55 km (40 min) south of Jasper via 93. A paved road and short trail lead to the falls. Sunwapta is an indigenous term meaning “turbulent river.” Stop at the resort for a great meal and excellent gift ideas.
5 Columbia Icefield and Athabasca Glacier
103 km (75 min) from Jasper on the Icefields Parkway, Hwy 93 Guided glacier hikes (Icewalks) icewalks.com or phone 1-800-565-7547 (June - September) For Pursuit’s Glacier Adventure, book your trip at the Icefield Centre or call 1-877-423-7433.
Jasper House National Historic Site
6 (30 min) North of Jasper on Hwy 16. 35km A short walk on an easy trail leads to an interpretive viewpoint looking beyond the Athabasca River towards the Jasper House historic site.
Photo Courtesy of Matt Meisenheimer
Jasper National Park is the largest of Canada’s Rocky Mountain Parks, and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover the rugged mountains, glaciers, alpine meadows, forests, broad valleys, and wild rivers contained within more than 11,000 km2 of protected area. Wildlife is abundant here. It is common to see elk, bighorn sheep, deer, coyote and even black bear. Jasper may have the greatest variety of accommodations in the mountain parks. Within the park, you could pitch your tent, park your RV, stay in a wilderness hostel, or be pampered in a resort. In town, your options include hotels, motels, private home accommodations and B&B’s.
7 Maligne Canyon
All of these choices are excellent. Each will appeal to a wide range of travellers and several unique properties are available in each category. If you are looking for something a little different, consider a private cabin.
8 Medicine Lake
Typically located on the edge of town, cabins offer a rustic charm ideal for those who really just want to get away from it all. Decompress in privacy without sacrificing comfort. Use this opportunity to read a book, go for a stroll, run a trail or just gaze at the amazing night sky.
11.5 km (15 min) east of Jasper on the Maligne Valley Road. 3.7 km interpretive trail with foot bridges over canyon. Stay away from the edge. Very deep (50 m) narrow canyon. In winter take a guided tour inside the gorge. It is unsafe to descend into the canyon without a professional guide.
27 km (30 min) from Jasper on the Maligne Valley Rd. The Maligne River flows in, but where does it flow out? Drained by one of the largest underground river systems in North America.
48 km (55 min) from Jasper on the Maligne Valley Rd. The beauty of this lake is legendary. A Boat Tour of this 22 km long lake is a “must see”. Chalet open mid-May to early October, 8:30 am - 7 pm. Boat tours start when spring ice conditions permit. Tour hours 10 am - 3 pm, extended to 5 pm in the summer. Call for a Reservation 1-888-285-0376. malignelake.com.
Pick up a FREE copy of our Experience Jasper Visitor Map for more highlights and activities in both Jasper National Park and Jasper.
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See pg 66 & 67 for our Campground Directory Download all our Travel Guides at ExperienceTravelGuides.com/Library
Experience Jasper National Park etarium
Photo Courtesy of Jasper Plan
in the Canadian Rockies is a pursuit gaining real traction with parents and grandparents, alike. They take advantage of the perfect conditions to share this amazing experience with their children and grandchildren. Families are replacing clumsy & expensive telescopes with iPads and GPS-based star-finders to browse their way around the vast sky.
If dark starry night skies give you goose bumps, you’ve come to the right place! The landscape within Jasper National Park is a vision during daylight, but it also has a night time magic very rare in the world these days. The park boasts one of the largest dark sky preserves in the world. You can see dreamy nightscapes of planets and constellations year-round, although the stars are brightest during the monthly phase of the new moon. In March 2011 the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) officially designated Jasper National Park as a Dark Sky Preserve (DSP). A DSP is an area in which no artificial lighting is visible and active measures are in place to promote the reduction of light pollution, the protection of nocturnal habitat, and the visibility of the night skies. While Jasper is nestled within soaring mountain ranges, it also has the largest clearings in the Rockies, ideal for dramatic open spaces for stargazing. This kind of wilderness astronomy
Astronomy programs are offered daily at the Planetarium and Jasper’s Dark Sky Festival is a “must see”. Since inception, this festival has grown into one of North America’s largest annual celebrations of the night sky. Plan to return for the ultimate Jasper Dark Sky experience, from October 16-25, 2020 that includes: • Guided virtual tour in climate-controlled dome theatre • See the local aboriginal First Nations constellations • Tour of the most powerful telescopes in the Rockies • See recent 4K sky imagery with a new video telescope • Learn how to photograph auroras and the Milky Way • Guided tour deep space and Q&A with astronomy expert What to Bring? (in addition to warm clothes) You’ll be simply amazed as to what you will be able to see with the naked eye, but if you have a Smart Phone or an iPad, load up a GPS-based star finder program from your App Store, and get familiar with it, before you leave home. Your camera! Remember to take pictures of your experience and enter our reader contest! (see pg 3) Image-stabilized binoculars feature optics that adjust many times a second to counteract your unsteady hands, effectively transforming such devices into small telescopes without the need to pack a tripod.
For more visit jasperdarksky.travel/partners and jasperplanetarium.com
Reservations: 780-852-3779 Restaurant: 780-852-3535 www.beckerschalets.com
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See Campground Directory on pg 66 See legend on page 67
1 Jasper Information Centre
National Historic Site, 500 Connaught Dr. Friends of Jasper Gift Shop. Jasper Information Centre: 780-852-6176 Tourism Jasper Visitor Desk: 780-852-6236
2 Patricia & Pyramid Lakes
5/7 km (10/15 min) drive from Jasper. Patricia Lake has a 2-3 hour loop trail. Read the plaque for WWII historical significance. Enjoy hiking, fishing, swimming, cross-country skiing, trail rides, and snow shoeing. Easy to access.
3 Old Fort Point Loop
1.5 km (5 min) drive via 93A and Old Fort Point Road - 3.8 km loop (1-2 hr) fairly steep hike to the top of this popular hill that overlooks the town & Athabasca River.
4 Lakes Annette, Edith & Beauvert
5 km (10 min) drive via Hwy 16 Sandy beaches, swim in spring-fed “kettle” lakes 2.4 km (45 min - 1.5 hr) Wheelchair and stroller accessible interpretive trail.
5 Jasper SkyTram
7 km (15 min) drive from town Phone 866-850-8726. jasperskytram.com. Open late Mar. to mid-Oct. (weather dependant). Guided tours and stunning views from atop Whistlers Mountain. Canada’s longest and highest aerial tramway (7,500 ft. above sea level).
6 The Discovery Trail
This trail can be accessed at several points throughout Jasper. (8.3 km loop) Portions are wheelchair accessible downtown.
Suggested Stargazing Sites
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7 Jasper-Yellowhead Museum & Archives
400 Bonhomme St.; 780-852-3013 jaspermuseum.org. Discover the spirit of Jasper. Admission Fee: Adults $7. Permanent exhibits of Jasper’s history. Monthly exhibits in Showcase Gallery. Summer (mid May - mid Oct) 10 am - 5 pm Winter (Thurs. - Sun, only) 10 am - 5 pm
8 Fitness & Aquatic Centre & Arena
NEW Fitness Facility! Arena, Indoor Climbing Wall, 50m Waterslide 25m Pool, Hot Tub & Steam Room, Showers Tennis & Raquetball Courts, Meeting & Event Facilities Fitness & Pool: 780-852-3663 Activity Centre: 780-852-3381
Experience Yellowhead County & Hinton
Hinton, Photo Courtesy of Travel Alberta
Hinton, Photo Courtesy of Leigh McAdam @hikebiketravel
More and more travellers are making Hinton and Yellowhead County part of their vacation plans – and it isn’t hard to see why. The abundance and variety of lodgings here give visitor’s countless opportunities to explore the Canadian Rockies and the surrounding foothills.
something for anyone wanting to explore some of the most majestic and eclectic landscapes in western Canada.
Located only a few hours west of Edmonton, along Hwy 16, Yellowhead County stretches from Evansburg, at the junction of Hwy 22 (The Cowboy Trail) in the east, to the gates of the Jasper National Park gates in the west. Yellowhead County has
Welcome TO OUR BACKYARD!
With a population of 9,900 residents and located a short 15-minute drive east of the Jasper National Park boundary, Hinton is a regional hub in West Yellowhead County. Accommodations run from tepees, lodges, resorts, and B&Bs, to full-service hotels with indoor swimming pools. There are more than 30 campgrounds here, operated by the municipality, private sector and Alberta Parks. They provide a full range of serviced and non-serviced campsites to choose from.
FIND IT CLE AN
#LEAVE IT PRIST INE
Welcome to our backyard. Stretching from the Pembina River to the Northern Alberta Rockies, Yellowhead County offers something for anyone wanting to explore some of the most majestic and diverse landscapes Canada has to offer.
FIN D IT CL EA N
Go to WWW.VisitYellowhead.CA to find out all the things there are to see and do in Yellowhead County. FIND IT CLE AN
#LEAVE IT PRIST INE
Please enjoy it with respect. © Clearwater County 2015
Yellowhead County EXPERIENCE THE MOUNTAIN PARKS 2020
1. Visit one of the many parks in our area. 2. Guided horse-back tours in the Rockies and foothills. 3. Stop in at one of the museums from Evansburg to Hinton. 4. Go tubing in the Pembina, McLeod or Athabasca River. 5. Hop on your mountain bike to try some of the great trails. 6. Relax at the family friendly beaches and campgrounds. 7. Hike the Hoodoos in Sundance Provincial Park. 8. Check out the Coal Branch and Cardinal Divide.
The town boasts a number of outdoor recreational facilities and attractions. Canada’s longest freshwater boardwalk, the Beaver Boardwalk is a great family outing that showcases a local wetland system around Maxwell Lake. It features two observation towers, seating areas, interpretive signs, and more than a dozen beavers. Arrive in the early morning or evening for the best chance to see them in action. Hinton is getting a reputation as a mountain biking hotspot in Western Canada, too. The biking trail network is constantly changing. Those who venture out can experience woodland
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Experience Yellowhead County & Hinton
Black Cat Guest Ranch, Photo Courtesy of Travel Alberta / Ryan Bray
beauty, wetlands or breathtaking vistas with an interesting mix of roots, side hills, climbs and technical features. On a rainy day, check out the Northern Rockies Museum of Heritage and Culture. Imagine the sounds as the old steam engine rolls into Hinton in 1911. Back then, the population was only 500 and saw little growth until the opening of local coal mines in the late 1920s. Those mines were part of a vast network that became known as the Coal Branch. A hidden gem in the area, consider a self-guided tour of the abandoned coal mines. It starts 10 minutes west of town on Hwy 40 South. A serendipity of this travel route is that it is great for wildlife spotting. Watch for bear, moose, elk, wolves and cougars. You’ll likely find herds of Big Horn sheep right along the side of the road. However, cell service is not reliable here and the road changes from paved to gravel. To learn more, pick up a copy of our Coal Mine Tour Map at the info centre. Located at 309 Gregg Avenue in the central shopping district, the staff has received high praise for their service! Hinton’s backyard is a mecca for campers, quadders, hikers, bikers, skiers, hunters, and fishers – along with rock climbers, white water rafters, canoers and kayakers. Located 15 min north of Hinton on Hwy 40, with vivid views of the majestic mountains, the William A. Switzer Provincial Park is an uncrowded gem nestled in the foothills. The park offers multiple campgrounds, beach activities, visitor centre, interpretation programs, and numerous trails for hiking, and biking and cross-country skiing. You will also find excellent wildlife watching opportunities from easily-accessible viewing platforms and self-guided interpretive trails.
Hinton, Photo Courtesy of Travel Alberta / Ryan Bray
Traditionally, Hinton hosts two major summer festivals. The Föhn Festival is their signature event! It is designed to showcase their rich diversity and has been combined with their Canada Day Celebrations. Plan to attend in 2021 and come early for the fireworks! fohnfest.com Historically, the Wild Mountain Music Festival runs the 3rd weekend of July. Held at the Entrance Ranch, 8 km north on Hwy 40, it features two stages, beer gardens, vendors, and kids’ activities. In 2021, camp on-site or take the shuttle from Hinton.
visit us at DISCOVERALBERTAROCKIES.COM VIC Address: 309 Gregg Ave #1, Hinton, AB email: email@example.com phone: 1 800-252-3782
White Wolf Inn Hinton
Come join the pack Whether lone time, or time with the pups Trek the forest behind Journey into the Rockies Jacuzzi & kitchenettes Pets are welcome 10% discount with ad
whitewolfhinton.com | 780-865-7777
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Experience British Columbia
BC Fast Facts Capital City: Victoria Population: 4.99 million History: Entered Canadian Confederation in 1871 Total Area: 944,735km sq/364,764mi sq Highest Point: Fairweather Mountain, 4,663m/15,299ft
Lowest Point: Pacific Ocean, Sea Level Longest River: Fraser River, 1,368 km/850 mi Provincial Flower: Pacific Dogwood Provincial Tree: Western Redcedar Provincial Bird: Steller’s Jay Provincial Gemstone: Jade Provincial Motto: “Splendour Without Diminishment”
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Experience Wells Gray Provincial Park Our coverage of British Columbia (BC) begins with the communities of Clearwater, Valemount, Blue River, and Wells Gray Provincial Park. Wells Gray Provincial Park contains 5,250 sq km of alpine wilderness, borne from volcanoes and carved by glaciers. It boasts one of the most unique landscapes in all of BC; where your days are measured in vertical feet, big game sightings and the number of waterfall shots on your camera. Courtesy of Claude Robidoux
Helmcken Falls is Canada’s 4th highest waterfall and just one of the 39 named waterfalls you’ll find here. It’s where the Murtle and Clearwater Rivers roar into life each spring and wildlife sightings are as common as sunrise and sunset. Murtle Lake is North America’s largest canoe-only lake. It is here, through a kaleidoscope of colour where you can hike through the wildflower meadows of the Trophy Mountains. You’ll find serenity among oldgrowth interior rainforests. Select Valemount, Blue River or Clearwater as your
Courtesy of Chance Breckenridge
staging ground for wilderness adventures. Tour by car, on foot, or by saddle… in the Canada you imagined. Located one hour west of Jasper on Hwy 16, drop by the Mount Robson Visitor Centre, or stop at the Info Centres in Valemount or in Clearwater. The friendly staff will ensure you get the most from your visit to this breath-taking area!
For more information visit: WellsGray.ca VisitValemount.ca
Helmcken Falls, Courtesy of Claude Robidoux
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Experience the Kootenay Rockies To Jasper
YOHO NATIONAL PARK
BANFF NATIONAL PARK
KOOTENAY um Parson NATIONAL bi a PARK R iv er Harrogate
Highway 93 runs north from Wickenburg, Arizona, 2,768 kms to Jasper, Ab. American visitors cross into Canada at the Roosville Border Crossing which is open 24/7 year round. For much of the 330 km within BC, Hwy 93 follows the Columbia River Valley and passes through historic communities like Fort Steele, resorts such as Fairmont Hot Springs, and the quaint town of Radium Hot Springs, before veering northeast through Kootenay National Park. Unplug, slow down and drink in the charm of this section of your journey.
Bed & Breakfast Cabins
Radium Hot Springs
• 107 forested acres • Private secluded log cabins with kitchens and jacuzzis • Creekside hammocks and picnic areas, hours of trails • $119 - $159 +tax/couple includes breakfast
Panorama Windermere Windermere Lake 95 93
Fairmont Hot Springs
18 km south of Kootenay National Park - Windermere, BC
Fort Steele To Sparwood and the Crowsnest Pass
Spectacular every season
To Coeur d’Alene
To Whitefish, Kalispel
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N I P I K A . C O M
Experience Kootenay National Park Kilometres 0 Miles 0
BANFF NATIONAL PARK
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Vermilion Crossing k eC ry d n re Ve War
Radium Hot Springs Pools
3 km from Radium; Admission fee. Hot pool is a relaxing 39 oC (102 oF). Cool pool is a refreshing 29 oC (84 oF). Lockers, swimsuit and towel rentals available. Visit hotsprings.ca for hours, fees and information.
Sim pson Riv
MOUNT ASSINIBOINE PROVINCIAL PARK
Parks Canada has made a number of changes for the 2020 season visit parkscanada.gc.ca for up-to-date information.
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90 km from Radium Hot Springs. Fee applies for the guided hike.
8 Stanley Glacier Burgess Shale Hike
(98 km from Radium)
Si n Paclair ss 93
See Campground Directory on pg 66 See legend on page 67
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k ak C
Panorama, Invermere, Windermere, Fairmont Hot Springs, Cranbrook, Fort Steele & U.S.A.
Radium Hot Springs 1
3 Sin 2 10
Kootenay National Park is on Mountain Time â€“ 1 HR AHEAD of Pacific Time (and most of B.C.)
Vermilion Pass, Fireweed Trail 95 km (1.2 hr) from Radium. Elevation: 1640 m. The Continental Divide is the dividing line between the Pacific and Atlantic watersheds. A 15-min interpretive trail loops through a regenerating forest.
7 Paint Pots
85 km (1 hr) from Radium. Cold, iron-rich mineral springs bubble up through small pools, staining the earth a deep ochre.
6 Kootenay Park Lodge
63 km (45 min) from Radium. Located at Vermilion Crossing. Gift Shop, Cabins & Dining. Lodge Open Mid-May to Mid-Sept.
Banff (132 km from Radium)
5 Kootenay Valley Viewpoint
3 Sinclair Canyon
16 km (20 min) from Radium. Stop here for dramatic views of the Kootenay River Valley, and the Mitchell and Vermilion ranges.
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1.5 km from Radium. The iron-rich cliffs of the Redwall Fault provide a dramatic entrance to the park. Watch for bighorn sheep.
13 km (15 min) from Radium. Interpretive trail bordering a clear, shallow lake. Look for brook trout in the jewel-coloured water
2 Redstreak Restoration Trail
1 km trail. Follow interpretive signs to learn why grasslands and open forests are so important for wildlife.
4 Olive Lake
In the village of Radium Hot Springs. Tourism Radium Information Desk OPEN YEAR ROUND 250-347-9331 Friends of Kootenay Gift Shop Parks Canada Info Desk 250-347-9505 Ktunaxa Nation culture & history exhibit.
KOOTENAY NATIONAL PARK
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1 Kootenay National Park Visitor Centre
YOHO NATIONAL PARK
Lake Louise and JASPER NATIONAL PARK
Kootenay National Park
Experience Kootenay National Park Kootenay National Park (KNP) stretches from the glaciers of the Great Divide to the semi-arid grasslands of the Columbia Valley. The park offers world-class hiking, stunning scenery and a very interesting history. On April 21, 1920, the Government of Canada agreed to build a road connecting the Bow and Columbia valleys. In exchange, the Province of BC provided eight km of land on either side of what is now Hwy 93 and this park was born! It took a full 7 hours to drive through the park, when this gravel road first opened in 1922. And it had many bumps, steep hills and sharp turns. Today, you can drive this paved corridor in just 75 minutes and the jaw-dropping scenery here has become a highlight for many mountain park visitors. In January, Parks Canada launched a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of Kootenay National Park, by unveiling a new stamp that features an image of Floe Lake (Rockwall trail) to commemorate the event. canadapost.ca. One of the many events planned in KNP throughout 2020 is “The 100 Challenge”. Complete one of the following by
Thanksgiving and claim your prize by calling (250) 347-9505: • Hike, bike or paddle 100 km in the park • Identify 100 plant or animal species • Be 100 (or more) years old! • Take 100 smile shots at scenic spots • Share your favourite photos on social media using #kootenay100. Interpretative panels are being placed along the path between the Village of Radium Hot Springs to the Radium Hot Springs pools. They’ll detail the geology, ecology, wildfires and history around the Sinclair Canyon. Start at Shell Park (where “The Mountains Shall Bring Peace to the People” sign is located). Throughout July and August, watch for Park Interpreters in Kootenay as they bring the park’s past to life with games and activities for young and old alike. Late December, The Midnight Snowshoe As a final send-off to the centennial, park superintendent Rick Kubian will lead a special evening snowshoe in the park. Bring along your own mug on this easy outing for a hot chocolate salute to the next 100 years!
Be part of their centennial! For more information pc.gc.ca/kootenay
Photo Courtesy of Alec Postill
Photo Courtesy of Shannon Panko
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Hidden Gems - Kootenay’s Marble Canyon
Lower Marble Canyon
Marble Marvel The 800 m Marble Canyon trail crosses seven bridges along the route of a “migrating” waterfall. It also provides valuable insight into the rebirth of a forest. At the first bridge, we’re greeted by cold air, an example of the canyon’s effect on local climate. Glaciers 20 km up the valley chill the air that settles on the valley floor. And the shaded depths of the canyon cool the air more. At the second bridge is a natural arch, which marks the waterfall’s location about 9000 years ago. Please don’t attempt to cross here! People have died from falling at this spot. The large boulder near the fifth bridge is a glacial erratic, deposited when the glacier that carved the Tokumm Creek Valley receded. Spray from the canyon saturates the thin soils on the rim. Only lichens and mat-like plants can take hold. Before the 2003 fire the complement of plants near Marble Canyon included some species normally found north of the Arctic Circle. With most of the damp forest consumed by fire, the plants now include species associated with drier, lodgepole pine forests. The canyon’s deepest point is the 39 m drop underneath the seventh bridge, the present location of the waterfall. Constant pounding at the base creates a plunge pool. It enlarges over time and undercuts the rock above. The hanging lip of the waterfall collapses into the pool and the brink moves a couple
of metres upstream. This process has helped Marble Canyon’s waterfall to shift more than 600 m upstream in 11,000 years. Ochre Beds and Paint Pots This 1 km walk leads to colourful deposits of clay and the outlets of three mineral springs. On the way you are treated to a suspension bridge crossing of the Vermilion River. Sediments deposited on the bottom of an ancient glacial lake became the clay of the Ochre Beds. The remarkable colours result from saturation of the clay with iron-rich water from the outlets of three mineral springs - the Paint Pots. The Ktunaxa (toon-AWK-ah) First Peoples knew the Ochre Beds as, “The place where the red earth spirit is taken.” The Ktunaxa gathered the colourful clay, formed it into cakes and baked it in fire. They ground the resulting compound into powder and mixed it with animal fat or fish grease to create a body paint, which was used in rituals and for trade. In the early 1900s industry came to the Ochre Beds. The clay was excavated and shipped to Calgary as a source of pigment for paint. It failed and rusting equipment remains. What once was considered sacred still is. Please keep to the beaten path and do not walk in the ochre deposits or remove any of the material. Photos and Story by: Graeme Pole
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Headbanging in Radium Hot Springs Photo Courtesy of James Anderson
Come late fall, the village of Radium Hot Springs, as it goes with many mountain towns, slows down considerably. Many of the summer soakers, hikers, bikers, golfers, and the like, have made their journey home. However, some Radium “residents” never leave. In fact, come late fall, they start “raising the roof” with a headbanging show that always draws a crowd. Radium Hot Springs – a beautiful Kootenay Rockies village located 260 km west of Calgary in the Columbia Valley – is known for many things. Obviously, the gorgeous natural hot pools (the largest in Canada) immediately come to mind. The exceptional golf – there are two spectacular courses in town - the hiking, the Columbia Valley Wetlands, the quaint motel-lined downtown “strip,” which boasts ice cream shops, candy stores, restaurants, mini-golf, and the like, are all staples on Radium Hot Spring’s “To Do ” list. Throughout the year, Radium also hosts a number of popular events including the unique Headbanger Festival. But it’s not quite what you’re thinking. There are no eardrum-busting heavy metal bands, mosh pits, or wild, all-night parties. No, the Headbanger Festival in Radium Hot Springs celebrates (in
Radium Springs Golf Course Photo Courtesy of Andrew Penner
a good, clean, family-friendly way!) the fall rutting season. And the bighorn sheep always put on quite a show. “Watching the big rams engage in their head-butting rituals is an awesome experience,” says Kent Kebe, former manager at Tourism Radium. “It’s one of the most impressive displays in the natural world you can see in Western Canada.” The festival incorporates lots of chances to witness the headbutting first-hand. (This banging of heads occurs when two rams square off and smash horns in a thundering display of raw aggression and dominance. The winner then becomes the leader of the herd and earns the right to mate with the ewes.) Parks Canada presentations, guest speakers, photography workshops, interpretive hikes, and family art projects are other highlights of the weekend; one that is all about celebrating the iconic wildlife in Radium and educating attendees on how wildlife and humans can better co-exist. “Radium is one of the few places in North America where a herd of bighorn sheep lives and roams freely in a residential
Radium Hot Springs Photo Courtesy of Parks Canada / C. Douce
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Headbanging in Radium Hot Springs area,” says Kebe. “So the educational piece surrounding how this is best managed, how humans, predators, and bighorn sheep interact, is a pivotal part of this weekend. There are unique challenges and many people from around the world are very interested in how we are managing this situation.” Although the numbers of the Radium herd has gone down over the years (it’s now approximately 160 animals, down from 220 ten years ago), greater awareness and understanding of all the issues involved (such as harmful food sources, traffic hazards, and large predators like cougars entering the town) is making a difference. “Nature is connected. Together with Parks Canada, our goal is to ensure sustainability and long-term success for both humans and animals,” says Kebe. Obviously, attendees of the weekend festival will also get a taste for what the charming town of Radium Hot Springs is all about. The soothing hot springs – located up the hill from town in Kootenay National Park – are iconic and should not be
missed. Interestingly, while soaking in the natural hot springs pools, you can glance up on the bordering mountainside and often view wildlife, including bighorn sheep! Ringed with snow-capped mountains, rushing rivers, hoodoos, dramatic canyons, and a beautiful network of trails, the outdoor recreational opportunities are endless. Right in the heart of town, for example, the Sinclair Canyon hiking trails offer a beautiful half-day of walking. (A hike, followed by a soak in the hot springs, capped off with ice cream is, in my opinion, a perfect day in Radium!) Regardless of whether you’re in Radium Hot Springs for the fall Headbanger Festival, or for some camping and a few rounds of golf in the middle of summer, one thing is certain: you will be “wowed” by the gorgeous mountain scenery. And leave with a greater appreciation for the mountains and the natural world around you. By: Andrew Penner
See map keys on pg 47 See legend on page 67
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Experience the Flora in the Mountain Parks As you explore one of Canada’s most spectacular landscapes, you’ll often be staring toward immense ramparts. At other times, you’ll be squinting to spot some of an area’s amazing animals. Just remember to look down to appreciate some of the unique wild flowers that line the trails and roadsides. The Crocus To many locals, the crocus is the official harbinger of spring. Its delicate pinkishpurple flowers announce the start of the wild-flower season. Orchids As the spring gives way to summer, the calypso orchid or fairy slipper emerges from carpets of needles lying beneath towering forests of lodgepole pine. An Amazing Diversity As you learn to recognize wildflowers, take note of where you encounter them. Was the area in the open sun or more shaded? Were the plants protected from the elements or subjected to high winds? Was the soil moist or dry? Learning to recognize the landscape within which the flowers live will help you anticipate which flowers to expect as you head out on future wildflower walks.
the tiny bloom of the blue violet and the creamy flowers of the yellow locoweed. Try to find the star flowered Solomon’s seal, bunchberry, wild strawberry, bearberry, twinflower or a prickly rose. Flowers of the High Country This season is short so the flowers need to bloom as soon as conditions allow. Watch for red and purple flowers, like the common red paintbrush, alpine forgetme-not, and the tiny moss campion. Other high elevation flowers include the cow parsnip and the club like flower clusters of the bear grass. This summer, get to know a few of the wild flowers. They’ll be your constant roadside and trailside companions as you roll your way through the mountains and unlike bears, they don’t run away as soon as you try to get a good look at them. But remember: look, don’t pick!
Seedhead, Wilcox Pass - Courtesy Terry Webb
Flowers of the Montane The valley bottom plays host to most of the early season wildflowers. Watch for
Galypso Orchid - Courtesy Joshua Angiola
Crocus - Courtesy Jerre Paquette
Blanket of Daisies - Courtesy Jeremy Klager
Red Paintbrush - Courtesy Lloyd Dykstra
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Meadow of Scarlet Paintbrush - Courtesy Terry Webb
Experience the Fauna in the Mountain Parks
Elk - Courtesy of Sheila McKeand
Dawn and dusk are your best bet for spotting animals in their natural setting. However, it’s important to keep in mind that these are WILD animals.
The Many Members of the Deer Family Here you’ll find white-tail and mule deer, elk or wapiti, moose, and even caribou in the northern reaches.
Bears Both black and grizzly bears can be seen along highways as they feed on spring dandelions or summer buffaloberries.
You’ll likely see more animals while you’re driving. Mule and white-tailed deer, along with large populations of elk (or wapiti) line many of the highways. They typically graze the grassy roadside shoulders and hillsides taking advantage of plentiful forage.
Black bears may be any colour, so colour itself is a poor indicator. Instead, look for a prominent shoulder hump and a slightly dished-in appearance to the face - a sure sign that you’re watching a grizzly. Bighorn Sheep or Mountain Goats? Bighorn sheep make appearances along the roadside, mountain goats do not. To help you identify them, remember that mountain goats are snow white. Male bighorn sheep get the large full-curl horns. Females have small, goat-like horns.
Keep Them Wild; Keep Yourself Safe We all want to keep the animals safe and your visit memorable. Here are some tips for safely observing wildlife in the mountains: Stay in your vehicle when you see an animal. They are very large and equally fast. Be sure to stop your vehicle only if it is safe to do so. Blind corners and steep hills can obscure other drivers’ view of your vehicle. Do not feed or entice animals to move closer to you. Animals that approach humans for handouts are likely to lash out defensively if they feel threatened. Help us keep the wild in wildlife.
Mountain Goats - Joey Olivieri
Bear - Courtesy Trevor Ward
Remember to keep your smart phone, camera and binoculars ready for action. Spotting wildlife often happens suddenly with little warning and ends just as fast. By Ward Cameron
Wolfs - Courtesy Francis Sandoval
Bears - Courtesy Leonard Heinonen
Coyotes - Courtesy Nicholas Taffs
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Big Horn Sheep - Courtesy Richard Collens
Hidden Gems - Yoho’s Cascade Tour Photo by Deschênes Steve
There is no better place to appreciate Yoho National Park’s
on to Laughing Falls at 4.6km. Follow beaten paths from the
theme of “rockwalls and waterfalls” than the Yoho Valley.
campground along the north bank of the Little Yoho River to
When the ancestral Yoho Glacier receded at the end of the ice
this impressive waterfall.
age, side valleys were left hanging above the main valley floor. Their streams now plunge over limestone cliffs toward the
To complete your cascade tour of the Yoho Valley, continue
Yoho River. Takakkaw Falls (TAH-kah-kah) cascades 254m. The
north from Laughing falls for 3.8 km to Twin Falls. This 180m
name is Cree for “It is magnificent!” You can reach the falls by
high cataract shimmers with rainbows in the morning sun. The
a 600m trail, wheelchair and stroller accessible in part, from
Twin Falls Tea House, a National Historic Site, is nearby.
the parking lot at the end of the Yoho Valley Road. The falls are best-lit in the afternoon and early evening.
Return to the trailhead by the way you came (8.4km one-way), or make a loop, returning via Marpole Lake, 9.5k m one-way to
If Takakkaw has you yearning for more thunder and spray, you
the parking lot. Round-trip distances for this hike will be
can make a fine, full-day hike in the Yoho Valley. From the Yoho
16.8km – 17.9km. The good news: There is little elevation gain.
Valley trailhead, follow the trail 2.5 km to where short side-
If you have more time, you may reserve camping at Laughing
trails branch east to the bank of the Yoho River and a view of
Falls or Twin Falls campgrounds.
Angel’s Staircase Falls, and southwest to Point Lace Falls. Carry 52 | Enter Our Photo Contest
Photos and Story by: Graeme Pole
Experience Yoho National Park Yoho National Park 1 Yoho Visitor Centre at Field, BC
Just off the Trans-Canada Highway. Parks Canada Info Desk open May to mid October. Phone: 250-343-6783. Friends of Yoho National Park Gift Shop. Burgess Shale fossil displays.
2 The Village of Field
27 km (30 min) west of Lake Louise, Alberta - most services. Quaint mountain town with numerous Guesthouses and Bed & Breakfast Accommodation.
3 Spiral Tunnels Viewpoint and Kicking Horse Pass National Historic Site 8 km (5 min) east of Field. watch trains snake through this engineering marvel constructed in 1909 for rail safety. Interpretive exhibits. Open Mid-June to Mid-October.
4 Takakkaw Falls
17 km (25 min) from Field. In the Cree language, Takakkaw means “magnificent.” One of the highest waterfalls in Canada. Walk to the base of the falls, or start a magnificent day-hike or backpacking trip on one of the nearby trails.
5 Emerald Lake
11 km (15 min) from Field. A jewel of the Canadian Rockies. A 2 hour trail circles the lake. Hike, canoe or picnic in the summer or snowshoe in the winter. Public parking available. Open year-round.
6 Natural Bridge
4 km (5 min) west of Field. A natural rock bridge arches over Kicking Horse River.
7 Wapta Falls
22 km (30 min) west of Field. In the Nakoda language of the Stoney Nation, Wapta means “running water” or “river”. Trail head is 2 km drive down dirt road, off of the Trans-Canada Highway. 90-minute round trip hike to see these impressive falls. Open year round.
8 Walcott Quarry Burgess Shale Hike
Parks Canada has made a number of changes for the 2020 season visit parkscanada.gc.ca for up-to-date information.
17 km from Field; Fee for the guided hike. Hold history in your hands.
Burgess Shale Guided Hike to Mount Stephen
Starts in the Village of Field; Fees apply.
See Campground Directory on pg 67 See legend on page 67
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Experience Lake O’Hara
“In all the mountain wilderness the most complete picture of natural beauty is realized at O’Hara Lake.”
- Walter Dwight Wilcox
To many, Lake O’Hara is THE jewel of the Canadian Rockies. Surrounded by spectacular alpine summits, this emerald green gem is a delight, shimmering in the brilliant light of the summer sun or covered by soft powder in winter. Some feel that Lake O’Hara is at its finest in autumn when the golden larches blaze against the blue sky and snow-covered peaks. In 1908 in the Canadian Alpine Journal, R. L. Glisan wrote, “Not a trace of human presence or any disturbing element, the whole scene was the personification of a majestic peace.” Although not quite as pristine as it once was, Lake O’Hara’s unspoiled beauty has been well maintained by Parks Canada. Unlike many other renowned destinations in the Canadian Rockies, Lake O’Hara is never crowded. In the mid 1970s a master plan was created whereby only about 250 visitors are allowed in the valley per day: 30 tents at the campground (number of people per site will vary), 24 visitors each at the Alpine Club of Canada’s Elizabeth Parker Hut and Abbot
Pass Hut, 60 visitors at Lake O’Hara Lodge, and 42 day users. This means you will never be crowded while exploring the trails - the area is large enough to absorb the visitors and leave lots of space for solitude. In the wintertime Lake O’Hara is a popular ski destination. Many people just ski up the snow-covered road for a day trip, but others overnight at the Elizabeth Parker Hut. And if you crave a little luxury, try a night at the Lake O’Hara Lodge, sitting around the fire with a glass of wine and good company. Located in Yoho National Park, Lake O’Hara is on the BC side of the Continental Divide. The starting point for your trip to O’Hara is a parking lot just off the Trans-Canada Highway near Kicking Horse Pass, about equidistant from Lake Louise and Field. Here you catch the bus to the lake. Reservations can be hard to get so book early. By: Chic Scott
Approaching the Elizabeth Parker Hut near Lake O’Hara. Photo by Chic Scott
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These days, our addiction to devices, and growing obsession with spontaneity and travelling like a local means that we leave planning a vacation to the last minute, often whilst we are on the road. We are sure that we’ll meet that local who knows everything and has the time to tell us about it, but the reality is that the most famous towns in the Canadian Rockies are so full of tourists and seasonal workers that finding a true local is almost as challenging as discovering a four-leaf clover. But, with a little bit of planning, and being fore-armed on where to find the best information whilst you’re on the road, you too can ensure you get a truly authentic and unique experience. Here’s what I wish I knew when I first visited the mountain parks in the Canadian Rockies:
same wonderful rewards but without the crowds. The tripplanning tool helps you create your own customised itinerary that can be saved, printed, and shared via email.
3. Travel in the shoulder season; May, June, September, and October are all great months to visit the Rockies when snow is on the peaks, temperatures are cooler, and crowds diminish.
4. Book your accommodation early, especially if travelling in the high season (July and August). I recommend staying in a bed and breakfast; they’re owned by people who live in Golden because they love it, and you’ll have plenty of opportunity to get their hints, tips, and stories first-hand during your visit.
1. Make Golden your base; Golden is a small unassuming 5. One of the first things to do on arrival is drop into the new mountain town sitting at the confluence of two historic rivers, surrounded by the majestic beauty and outdoor opportunities of the Rockies and Purcell mountain ranges, and an easy drive from Banff Lake Louise, Yoho, Glacier, Mt. Revelstoke, and Kootenay National Parks, as well as the Icefields Parkway. Yes, it is busier in July and August, but the locals are truly local; families who have lived there for generations, and who love talking about their town, mountains, and outdoor experiences.
2. Use the Tourism Golden website. Their unique Experience Finder will help you discover activities according to your preferences, season, and travel party type. They are experts in the place that they live, work, and recreate, and the suggested itineraries include both the ‘must-dos’ of the Rockies such as Lake Louise and Banff, along with hidden gems that offer the
Golden Visitor Centre. The counsellors are all from Golden, and can give their inside tips on additional activities, places of interest, where to eat, shop and lots more. Your customised itinerary can be emailed directly to your mobile device for use during your stay. Parks Canada passes are available to purchase.
6. Keep an eye out in the downtown area and at local events for the roving Golden ambassadors and eye-catching pop up information tent. They’re ready to answer your questions right when you need them to!
7. Connect to the best local information by downloading the Tourism Golden web app to your mobile device. There are four Wi-Fi hotspots in the downtown area, so no need to burn through your own data.
Visit tourismgolden.com/EMP for inspiration and information. 55 | ExperienceTravelGuides.com
At the heart of it. A heart of gold.
Jasper National Park
Photo by A Barrett Photography
BRITISH COLUMBIA Glacier National Park
Banff National Park
Yoho National Park
Mt. Revelstoke National Park
Kootenay National Park Bugaboo Provincial Park
lovethenationalparks.com tourismgolden.com A heart of gold.
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At the heart of your Parks adventure. Golden B.C. is surrounded by six of Canadaâ€™s most stunning national parks; Yoho, Glacier, Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, and Mount Revelstoke. This unique location makes Golden the ideal place from which to experience the spectacular scenery, iconic hiking trails, waterfalls, lakes and heritage sites of the national parks. Sitting at the confluence of two historic rivers and surrounded by majestic mountain vistas, Golden is an authentic mountain town that offers unrefined mountain adventure. Enjoy a vast range of activities or just simply appreciate our fabulous scenery and abundance of wildlife.
Start planning: lovethenationalparks.com Golden Visitor Centre
Seek and you will find.
Ask our friendly, knowledgeable Information Counsellors about activities, attractions, dining, and accommodations in Golden. Free travel guides, Visitor Wifi Local Trip local maps, and other amenities, including free Centre Hotspots Maps Planning WiFi. Parks Canada passes are also available for purchase. Open daily during the summer months. tourismgolden.com/visitors #GOLDENRULES #GOLDENBC
1000 TRANS CANADA HIGHWAY
Kicking Horse Culture
The world comes to play in Golden at Summer Kicks in these family friendly concerts Wednesday evenings in our Spirit Square. Visit our website for details.
Helicopter access only! Located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies between Banff and Yoho National Parks. Guests enjoy adventures including hiking, swimming, nature watching, photography & relaxation!
Golden Golf Club Stay in a peaceful setting just minutes from Golden. 42 private sites with 30 amp power, free Wi-Fi, a potable water station, adjacent to our 18-hole golf course, restaurant, and Mini-Golf course.
Getting to Golden Now is a great time to take a road trip to Golden with an open highway and attractions in the national parks along the way.
Plan now: GettingToGolden.ca
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Experience the Golden Triangle Enjoyed by cyclists for more than 20 years, this 310 km loop
please drive with care. The road is wide, climbing 800m to the
tour offers spectacular views as you will cross the Continental
Continental Divide and then down again to Castle Junction.
Divide twice. The communities of Golden, Radium Hot Springs,
Stop at any of the numerous viewpoints and hiking trails, such
and Lake Louise serve as the three points of the triangle, and all
as the Paint Pots, all detailed on pg 47.
three offer a full range of experiences, year-round. From Castle Junction, follow Hwy #1 west, or the much more In recent years, The Golden Triangle has been discovered by
tranquil Hwy 1A, to picturesque Lake Louise. Enjoy a walk
both motorcyclists as well as campers. Sure, it’s driveable in a
along the lakeshore or ride the summer gondola for amazing
day, but plan for 3 or 4 days, to explore everything these parks
and communities have to offer. Stop regularly, breathe deeply, and allow the energy here to recharge your soul.
Drive west over the Kicking Horse Pass and into Yoho National Park. The town of Field has an excellent Visitor Centre as well
Situated at the confluence of Kicking Horse and Columbia
as several affordably priced, quaint guesthouses. See pg 53.
rivers, our adventure starts in Golden, BC, a hub of outdoor
Continue west back to Golden.
adventure, from white-water rafting to Via Ferrata and paragliding. Wildlife viewing opportunities abound: a grizzly bear refuge (for Boo), wolf sanctuary, and bird watching along the lush Columbia River Wetlands. From Golden, take Hwy 95 (recently upgraded) south 103 km to Radium Hot Springs. This leg runs adjacent to the Columbia River, and is nestled between the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Bugaboo & Purcell Mountains to the west. As you approach the hamlet of Parson, watch for a sign that will direct you to The World’s Largest Paddle! Then due east of Spillimacheen, Diana Lake and the white rocks at the top of The Judge beckon fit outdoor enthusiasts to tackle this superb full-day hike. For a more leisurely time, seek out local artisans selling their crafts. The village of Radium Hot Springs is a year-round, full-service destination. Try out one of the many restaurants in town. On summer weekends, bring your lawn chair and enjoy Music on Main. For more on Radium, see pg 48. From Radium, take Hwy 93 up into Kootenay National Park. This 105 km leg has the highest concentration of wildlife, so 58 | Enter Our Photo Contest
Experience the Golden Triangle
Golden triangle discover the other side of the rockies
Parks Canada / Zoya Lynch
JOURNEY THROUGH THE CANADIAN ROCKIES ON THIS UNIQUE CIRCLE TOUR Enjoy spectacular scenery as you explore the natural wonders and heritage sites of Yoho and Kootenay national parks. Experience the warm mountain-town hospitality of Golden and Radium as you discover the nearby rivers, lakes, hiking trails, hot springs and activities along your Golden Triangle tour.
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Experience Glacier National Park High on Adventure Glacier National Park is the birthplace of mountaineering
railway, to road building and railway engineering feats, to the
in North America with the first recreational technical climbs
modern avalanche mitigation measures of today, the route
recorded in 1888. While adventure seekers can still get their
through the pass brings Canada together as a nation. Explore
adrenalin going with technical mountaineering and glacier
Rogers Pass by car through snow sheds and steep avalanche
travel, todayâ€™s network of trails caters to all abilities ranging
terrain. Stop in at the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre to learn
from short, level strolls to ambitious climbs. Be inspired by
more about the triumphs and tragedies of travel through this
dramatic mountain views, humbled by giant ancient trees or
treacherous pass. And take a stroll along abandoned rail beds.
captivated by the secrets of the abandoned railway over Rogers Pass. This summer, visit the Beaver Valley to view the mosaic of
burned and unburned forest left after the Prairie Hills wildfire,
Glacier National Park is legendary for its snowfall, attracting
in 2017. Look for new vegetation and wildflowers sprouting up
ski-touring enthusiasts from around the world with an array
among remnant stands of old growth forest. Be safe, please use
of glades, alpine bowls, and icefields. All ski destinations in
caution near burned areas as remaining trees can be unstable.
the park require knowledge of travel in avalanche terrain. If you plan to tour in Glacier, be aware that many areas of the
Major Rogers Route
park have restricted and prohibited access in winter. Please
Travel through time in Rogers Pass National Historic Site and
visit parkscanada.gc.ca/skirogerspass before you go. Skiers are
discover human courage and ingenuity. From the early trail
urged to wear avalanche transceivers, carry a shovel and probe,
blazing for the final link in Canadaâ€™s first trans-continental
and be prepared for self-rescue.
Abbott Ridge Trail, Photo Courtesy of Mari Omori
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Experience Glacier and Mount Revelstoke National Parks Special Feature Meadows in the Sky Parkway Begins 1.5 km east of Revelstoke. The only place in a Canadian National Park where you can drive to the top of a mountain. This road switch-backs 26 km up Mount Revelstoke to flower filled meadows. A free shuttle service takes you the last few kms in the summer months. Ten trail heads at the summit including the Koo Koo Sint Trail that details David Thompsonâ€™s travels in the area. The heritage of three First Nations peoples - the Secwepemc, Ktunaxa, and Okanagan is highlighted in the First Footsteps Trail.
Parks Canada has made a number of changes for the 2020 season visit parkscanada.gc.ca for up-to-date information. See Campground Directory on pg 66 See legend on page 67
2 Nels Nelsen Historic Ski Jump
Exhibit celebrates international ski jumping (1915-71). Hike from the Railway Museum or the Nels Nelsen Historic Area on Meadows in the Sky Parkway.
3 Giant Cedars Boardwalk
Approx 30 min east of Revelstoke. An excellent stop for a walk and picnic, it can also accomodate larger vehicles and provides a 20 min interpretive walk through rare old growth forest (700 year old trees)
4 Hemlock Grove Trail
54 km (40 min) east of Revelstoke. Explore the rain forest. A 10 minute interpretive boardwalk winds through ancient Western Hemlocks.
5 Loop Brook Trail
63 km (45 min) east of Revelstoke. This 30 minute interpretive loop winds you through historic pillars which once held up a railway engineering feat.
6 Illecillewaet/Asulkan Valleys
66 km (50 min) east of Revelstoke. Several hikes begin at this trailhead. Explore mountaineering routes established more than a century ago.
7 Rogers Pass Discovery Centre
Summit of Rogers Pass: 76 km (55 min) west of Golden; 72 km (52 min) east of Revelstoke. Parks Canada Info Desk 250-837-7500. Regular Summer hours: 8am - 7pm daily. Theatre & exhibits: history, wildlife & avalanches.
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8 Bear Creek Falls Trail
Approx 1 hr east of Revelstoke. A short hike (1 hour round trip) to a waterfall. The Connaught Creek waters cascade over the falls to join the Beaver River a short distance downstream. Bathroom available in the parking area.
Beaver Valley Day-Use Area
85 km (65 min) east of Revelstoke. The Beaver Valley is a place of fragile beauty with dynamic mountainsides, shaped by mudflows and landslides. In the warmest part of Glacier, this day-use area is one of the parkâ€™s first and last snow-free facilities every season.
Photo Courtesy CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures / DannyStoffel
Heli-Highs With Canadian Mountain Holidays Shortly after we were airborne – after our second waist-deep powder run - our group of eight wide-eyed heli-skiers noticed that the low, dirty-grey clouds that hemmed us in all morning were being ripped apart by a warm wind that wandered in from the west. And through the holes we saw them: a sparkling ridge of pearly-white peaks and the rich, baby-blue sky beyond. A wave of adrenaline shot through me and saw seven ear-to-ear grins and seven thumbs in the “up” position. Indeed, when heli-skiing with Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH), even the lift up can give you goosebumps.
Today CMH operates 12 backcountry lodges (including three that you can drive to) in BC. Some of the towns that boast lodges or are situated in close vicinity to staging areas (where you will fly into the lodge) are Revelstoke, Nakusp, Golden, Invermere, and Valemount. While each lodge has its own unique flavour and character, the skiing is guaranteed to be phenomenal. And, as I discovered on my recent 4-day tour to the CMH Kootenay Lodge (a lodge you can drive to in the quaint, lakeside town of Nakusp), the thrills are off the charts.
Here’s the truth: heli-skiing is a bucket list experience. And, without a doubt, it’s the trip down - stringing together many pillow-soft turns through powder-smothered bowls that rarely see tracks – that’s the real payoff. Put it this way, the first time I went heli-skiing, it literally changed my life. And that’s a story that the staff at CMH hear time and time again.
However, while CMH tours are synonymous with epic winter heli-skiing adventures, their summer heli-hiking and their via ferrata programs are quickly gaining momentum. Three of their most popular lodges – Cariboos, Bobbie Burns, and Bugaboos – are each offering their own unique, mind-blowing summer heli-hiking adventures that are unlike anything else you can experience in North America.
Back in the late 60s - thanks to the pioneering efforts of Swiss guide turned Canadian mountain man, Hans Gmoser - heliskiing was born. The company that Gmoser founded, CMH, has been ushering powder-hungry skiers into BC’s remote alpine bowls for decades now.
For example, the Mt. Nimbus and Conrad Glacier Via Ferratas at the newly renovated Bobbie Burns Lodge close to Golden afford an unforgettable opportunity for amateur adventurers to venture high in the Purcells – in stunning and often extreme wilderness terrain – to complete a fixed alpine route.
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Photo Courtesy CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures / Jesse Tamayo
Via Ferratas, which is Italian for “Iron Road,” involve climbing and scrambling, often on exposed rock faces and beside waterfalls and ancient glaciers. For recreational hikers with only limited skills, it seems a little, well, far-fetched. However, participants are attached to a fixed line at all times so the risk of falling is negated. Besides the accompanying cable, the route features iron rungs, suspension bridges, ziplines, and numerous handholds to ensure even beginner climbers can complete the route and have the time of their lives (a decent level of physical fitness is required). Professional CMH guides also accompany each group to ensure a safe passage for guests. Due to the success of the via ferratas at Bobbie Burns, CMH has recently added another similar high-adrenaline adventure at the Cariboos Lodge, which is located near Valemount. The Zilmer Canyon Via Ferrata - which is located in a remote canyon with soaring rock walls, glaciers, and lots of unnamed waterfalls that, up until recently, have seen very little human activity - ups the ante. Although in its infancy (because it was
Photo Courtesy of Andrew Penner
constructed in 2018), it’s well on its way to legendary status. Those fortunate enough to embark on this adventure will spend the better part of the day scaling rock walls, traversing rocky ledges above the waterfalls, and, in general, just being totally “wowed” by mother nature’s awesome power. While the summer hiking programs at CMH include activities that may not be ideally suited to the timid explorer, there are certainly easier, more family-friendly options. In the renowned Bugaboos, for example, guests can fly into hanging valleys, explore flower-filled alpine meadows, glacier-fed tarns, and ogle the magnificent spires that make this region one of the most sought after mountaineering destinations on the planet. And, of course, guests always enjoy gourmet food, hot tubs with heavenly views, spa treatments, and the cozy confines of the fire-warmed lodge. Indeed, the entire CMH experience, regardless of whether it’s winter or summer, often borders on the surreal. And expect plenty of goosebumps. Especially on the way up.
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By Andrew Penner
Experience the West Kootenays The traditional route east from Revelstoke is along the Trans-Canada Hwy 1 to Golden (see pg 55). To take a path less travelled, follow the scenic Hwy 23 south towards Nelson and the free ferry across Upper Arrow Lake. This waterway is part of the Columbia River System, so if you like the calming effect of water, you’ll love this route! The road forks as you depart Galena Bay. Hwy 23 heads south to the luxury of Halcyon Hot Springs. Open year-round, your worries will melt away while you drink in the incredible view of the Arrow Lakes and Monashee Mountains. With its quaint village-like atmosphere, the welcoming philosophy here is simple. Healing waters should be shared with the world. A great spot even on a hot summer’s day, when you can utilize the mineral swimming pool on the lower deck or take a dip in the lake. halcyon-hotsprings. com 30 minutes south, and flanked by the Selkirk and Monashee mountain ranges, Nakusp is another great place to rejuvenate both the body and mind. Soak in hot springs. Relax at a spa. Sandy Beach is just a short walk from the shops and restaurants located downtown. Surrounded by gardens, shade trees and
picnic tables, this beautiful beach is the perfect place to while away an afternoon while entertaining the kids. Ready to stretch your legs? Waterfront Walkway is a level, paved pathway with stunning views of the Arrow Lakes and surrounding mountain ranges. You’ll find it just a block south of main street. If you follow BC Hwy 6 southeast of Nakusp for 25 minutes you will arrive at the northern end of Slocan Lake. Several small communities dot its eastern edge, which is 39 km long. It has a maximum depth of almost 300 m (978 ft)! The mountains to the east were the focus of the Silver Rush of the 1890’s, at which time, Slocan City was a bustling, boomtown filled with saloons, hotels, rail cars filled with ore and miners in pursuit of the ever-elusive mother lode. During WWII, a Japanese Canadian Internment Camp was located in Slocan. One of those interned here was the celebrity scientist, David Suzuki. To learn more about the WWII camps, visit the Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre in New Denver, BC. Driving south along Hwy 6 from Slocan, you will reach the junction of Hwy 3A, at about the mid-point between Castlegar
Rest, Relax, Rejuvenate
Radium Hot Springs
Halcyon Hot Springs
68KM SOUTH OF REVELSTOKE 35KM NORTH OF NAKUSP
Open Year-Round #HealingWaters
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Experience the West Kootenays and Nelson. The alternative to taking Hwys 23, 6 and 3A to get to Nelson from Galena Bay, is to follow scenic Hwy 31 southeast from Galena Bay, following the shores of Kootenay and Trout lakes, 134 km to Kaslo, BC. A stroll down Front Street in Kaslo brings you to the majestic SS Moyie, one of the last great sternwheelers. It operated on Kootenay Lake for 59 years. Reuters calls the Kaslo Jazz Etc Summer Festival one of “the Top 10 places to enjoy outdoor summer music.” The unique floating stage transforms Kaslo Bay Park into a natural green amphitheater that sends live music reverberating out over Kootenay Lake. Festival goers dance in the sand, swim around the stage, or relax in the grass. All weekend long, world-class musicians perform against a breathtaking backdrop of mountains and vast skies. The intimate, laid-back vibe of this festival has been seducing audiences since 1992. The 29th festival has already been rescheduled to July 30 - August 1, 2021. So, mark your calendars now and be sure to attend!
Kootenay Lake Ferry Departure Schedule 2020 NOTE: Schedule is subject to change please confirm departure times at DriveBC.com
Following Hwy 31 south from Kaslo, for 30 mins, we arrive at Balfour - a small but vibrant community, catering to the avid hiker, biker, golfer, boater and fisherman. Fine dining, great pub food and delicious baked goods will satisfy any craving. Play a round at their golf courses; but don’t let the stunning views of the mountains and lake be a distraction! Decision time… Nelson is a small enchanting city famous for its heritage. The movie ‘Roxanne’, starring Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah was filmed here in 1987. If Nelson beckons, head west from Balfour along Hwy 3A. However, if you’re heading to Creston, drive to the loading area for the Kootenay Lake Ferry. You will find it located next to the Dock ‘n’ Duck, in Balfour. Trip Advisor rates this FREE ferry ride (the world’s longest) with 5 Stars! It ends near the artisan’s enclave of Crawford Bay. Experience the laid-back charm of West Kootenays. You will leave with a lifetime of great memories!
Spectacular LAKEFRONT Dining Take-out Lodging
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1:10 2:50 4:30 6:10 7:50 9:40
6:30 8:10 9:50 10:40 11:30 12:20 1:10 2:00 2:50 3:40 4:30 5:20 6:10 7:50 9:40
7:10 9:00 10:40 12.20 2:00 3:40 5:20 7:00 8:40 10:20
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DOCK ‘N’ DUCK Pub Grill Lodge
www.DocknDuck.ca This Thriving Resort is FOR SALE www.KootenayCommercial.com
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ss Ac ce e pi ts
a bl ed
Pr o gra m sh T oil ets Sho we rs
#o f Si t es
Banff National Park - Map on pg 18 1
May - Sept
June - Sept
Lake Louise Tent*
June - Sept
Lake Louise Trailer* Year Round $33.01 Soft-Sided camping in winter only (mid-November to mid-April)
June - Oct
June - Sept
June - Oct
Tunnel Mt. Village I*
May - Oct
Tunnel Mt. Village II*
10 Tunnel Mt. Trailer*
May - Oct
11 Two Jack Main*
June - Sept
12 Two Jack Lakeside*
May - Oct
13 Waterfowl Lakes
June - Sept
Kootenay National Park - Map on pg 45 1
June - Sept
June - Sept
May - Oct
$28.00 - $39.04
100 888-773-8888 pc.gc.ca/jaspercaming
Jasper National Park - Map on pg 36 1
May - Oct
May - Sept
Icefield Centre RV
May - Sept
June - Sept
May - Sept
May - Sept
May - Sept
$21.50 - $27.40
May - Oct
$27.40 - $32.30
10 Wapiti Winter 11 Whistlers 12 Wilcox
Apr - Oct
Oct - May
$27.40 - $32.30
May 2for - Oct 8 Closed 2020
$27.40 - $38.20
May - Sept
Glacier and Mount Revelstoke National Parks - Map on pg 61 1
June - Sept
July - Sept
June - Oct
$28.00 - $33.01
For more campground information
All Open Dates are weather dependant.
pick up or downlaod our sister publications at ExperienceTravelGuides.com/Library
All fees are subject to change without notice. A fire permit is required for fires in Parks Canada’s campgrounds.
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* These Campgrounds accept reservations.
1 Hoodoo Creek
June - Sept
2 Kicking Horse
May - Oct
May - Sept
4 Takakkaw Falls
June - Oct
e pi ts
a bl ed
Pr o gra m sh T oil ets Sho we rs
rp Int e
#o f Si t es
Yoho National Park - Map on pg 53
Waterton Lakes National Park- Map on pg 14 1 Waterton Townsite* 2 Crandell Mountain 3 Belly River 4 Waterton Springs
Apr - Oct
Please call 1-877-737-3783 for Campground information. Closures are in place due to the Kenow Wildfires
$22.50 - $38.20
Closed for 2020 May - Sept Closed for 2020
Caroline, Alberta Clearwater Trading Year Round $25.00 - $35.00 47 • • • • 403-722-2378 clearwatertrading.ca Proud to offer you a separate, private venue for all your events’ needs. Call us today! Check us out on Facebook @clearwatertradingevents
Rocky Mountain House, Alberta Rocky Mountain House May 22 - Sept 30 $26.06 43 • • National Historic Site Historic fur trade post along the North Saskatchewan River. Immerse yourself in stories of Indigenous Peoples and legendary explorers. Camp in your RV or tent.
Wells Gray, British Columbia Clearwater Valley Resort & KOA Campground
May 1 - Oct 1
$32.90 - $48.90
West Kootenays, British Columbia Woodbury Resort & Marina Year Round 60 • • • • • 877-353-7717 woodburyresort.com Kootenay Lake’s only year-round destination resort. Stay, Fish & Swim Packages! Boat rentals, country store, cold beer, restaurant, pub and motel. Mirror Lake Campground Apr 15 - Oct 15 $24.00 - $28.00 96 • • • • 250-353-7102 mirrorlakecampground.com Lakefront rental cabins and trailers, $55-$79 based on double occupancy. Beach with playground, rental boats and bass fishing. Dog walk.
All open and close dates reflect a typical camping season. Parks Canada has made a number of changes for the 2020 season, please visit parkscanada.gc.ca regularly for up-to-date information on open dates, events, activities and key dates in the Mountain National Parks.
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