Whether your idea of a good time is soaking in a historic hot pool, taking a scenic drive alongside the continent’s Great Divide, or heading out for a casual snowshoe trip in the lush Canadian Rockies wilderness, Kootenay National Park has something for everyone this winter.
Below are a few suggestions on how to best enjoy Kootenay National Park during the snowy months ahead.
Scenic Drive: Kootenay – Yoho Triangle:
Make a day of it with a 320-kilometre or five-hour winter sightseeing drive through Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks.
Dip into History-Radium Hot Springs and Spa:
Oral history tells us that the Ktunaxa (formerly Kootenay) bathed in Radium Hot Springs to soak away their aches and cares in these revitalizing waters. Experience the natural hot springs as the stunning Rocky Mountain scenery and soothing mineral waters combine to relax tired muscles and bring peace of mind.
Winter Camping at Dolly Varden
Located near Dolly Varden Creek,:36 kilometres north of the Village of Radium Hot Springs, on Highway 93 South, Dolly Varden Winter Campground provides visitors with an authentic winter camping experience set amongst an imposing mountainous backdrop. Basic services include vault toilets, kitchen shelters and interpretive displays. Camping permits can be purchased at the Kootenay National Park West Gate (250.347.9551), Lake Louise Visitor Centre (403.522.3833) or the Yoho National Park Visitor Centre (250.343.6783).
Some of Kootenay National Park’s hiking trails are suitable for cross-country skiing, though none of the trails are track-set, groomed or patrolled, so conditions will vary. A good spot to try is along the Kootenay Fire Road by Dog Lake, 26.5 kilometres north of Radium Hot Springs. This trail features lots of variety, with river and lake views, two suspension bridges and some nicely forested areas.
Snowshoeing in the northern half of Kootenay National Park:
Snowshoeing is a great way to explore Kootenay’s snowy landscape. The season runs from mid-November to early April, and the best snowshoeing is in the northern half of the park, where heavier snowfalls translate into a good supportive snowpack. Options range from the shorter Fireweed and Paint Pots Trails to longer and more challenging
terrain at the Ochre Creek and Stanley Glacier Trails. Some of these routes run through avalanche terrain. In all cases, visitors should make sure they have appropriate knowledge, skills and rescue equipment.
Ice Climbing in Haffner Canyon
Located near Marble Canyon, Haffner Canyon offers visitors an exceptional ice climbing opportunity with a wide array of routes to choose from. Ice climbing requires a high degree of skill and experience and should only be attempted by competent, experienced climbers or with a certified mountain guide. Climbers should also be aware of the avalanche risks associated with ice climbing.
Visit or call a Parks Canada Information Centre for trip planning help at 403-522-3833 or go to www.pc.gc.ca/kootenay.