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Stories from Columbia Valley

Kootenay National Park, BC

Scenic Drives Around the Columbia Valley

Take the scenic route! Here in the Columbia Valley, we are all about slowing down and enjoying the views. Hop in the car, grab your camera, and get ready for some unforgettable sights – no matter the direction you’re headed in. 

Here are a few of our favourite drives: 

Climb to the Purcells: Toby Creek Road

Enjoy the scenic journey to Panorama Mountain Resort via Toby Creek Road from Invermere. Winding alongside the Toby Creek, the drive leads through beautiful forests, past small mountain lakes, and into the Purcell Mountains, ending at the four-seasons Panorama Mountain Resort. 

No matter the season – it is sure to be a beautiful drive! Winter guests will marvel at the dramatic, ice-filled creek and snowy surroundings on their way towards powder laps, Nordic skiing & fat biking. In the warmer months, guests doting bikes and hiking boots can enjoy the view above the fast-flowing, milky-green Toby Creek amidst the new growth of springtime. Certainly, we can’t forget about fall and all of the beautiful colours the autumn season brings forth! 

Winter or summer, stop in at Lake Lillian Recreation Site along the way to go for a paddle, bike, hike, or skate! 

Panorama Mountain Resort

Wetlands, Mountains, Golf & Farmland: Highway 95

If you’re looking for a drive that has it all, Highway 95 Radium Hot Springs is a must-do. The highway follows the mighty Columbia River, offering stunning views of the wetlands and surrounding mountains. Explore the northernmost communities in the Columbia Valley: Brisco and Spillimacheen.

Along the way, travellers will find two Par 3 Golf Courses: Edgewater Hilltop and Spur Valley Golf Resort, along with restaurants and locally-owned shops. Spend time on the trails, whether you’re looking for a few hours or a few days: the Lower Bugaboo Falls is a great easy hike option in the area, whereas the remote Bugaboo Provincial Park offers amazing hiking and mountaineering opportunities for those with alpine experience. 

Love disc golf? You’re in luck! Continue heading north to Parson and play the 56-hole disc golf course! 

Enjoy the many experiences the North Columbia Valley has to offer by playing a round of golf, enjoying a fabulous meal out, picking up some local honey, or simply taking in the beautiful views. 

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Spur Valley Golf Resort

Jagged Peaks, Trails & Lake Views: Westside Road

Travel along the west shore of Lake Windermere on the winding Westside Road, offering remarkable views of the lake and mountains along the way. This drive connects the communities of Fairmont Hot Springs and Invermere, weaving past multiple trail systems (such as the 25km paved hiking and biking Westside Legacy Trail), small hamlets, farmland, and birding opportunities. Keep your eyes open for wildlife along the way, as deer and bears are frequently spotted in this area. The Westside Road is also a popular route for bikers and those on horseback – remember to share the road! 

Hoodoos & Headwaters: South Columbia Valley

The welcoming South Columbia Valley communities of Fairmont Hot Springs and Canal Flats will impress visitors with hard-to-forget scenery. Marvel at the Fairmont Hot Springs Hoodoos, a natural rock formation towering high above the town. Those wanting a closer look can hit the trails and climb to the top of the Hoodoos on the Hoodoos Restoration Trail.  

Further south, enjoy views of farmland, the Rockies, and spanning Columbia Lake. Don’t miss the roadside viewpoint of Columbia Lake, offering a birds-eye view of the bright blue waters and mighty Rockies as far as the eye can see. Canal Flats, the southernost community in the Columbia Valley, is known for being the Headwaters of the Columbia River, which ultimately flows into the Pacific Ocean in Astoria, Oregon. 

Along the way, don’t forget to spend time exploring the local shops and restaurants in these charming communities. 

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Fairmont Hot Springs Hoodoos

Gateway to the Columbia Valley: Sinclair Canyon

It’s hard to think of a more welcoming entrance than the Sinclair Canyon! The famous gateway to the Columbia Valley in Radium Hot Springs has been a road trip highlight for decades. Just within the  Kootenay National Park on Highway 93, marvel at the dramatic Sinclair Canyon as the road twists through. Continue the drive deeper in to the Kootenay National Park and discover the brightly-coloured Red Wall Fault, the bright green Olive Lake, the panoramic view of Kootenay Valley Viewpoint, endless trails, the winding Kootenay River, and so much more! Make sure to bring your camera for all of the best stops along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park. 

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Sinclair Canyon

Bucket List Day Trip: Kootenay, Banff & Yoho National Parks

Did you know? some of the most famous sights in the world are only 90 minutes from the Columbia Valley! Get ready for a day trip and tour the famous National Parks within 1 hour of the gateway of the Columbia Valley: Kootenay, Banff, and Yoho National Parks.

Closest to the Columbia Valley is Kootenay National Park, only a few minutes from Radium Hot Springs. Take a soak in the famous, naturally-heated Radium Hot Springs pools, listen to the rushing water of Numa Falls, lace up your boots for a hike on one of the many hiking trails, or discover the beautiful viewpoints, waterfalls, and hidden gems throughout. 

Visitors can plan to take in the iconic landmarks of Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and the town of Banff within Banff National Park. Further west is Yoho National Park packed with hiking opportunities, towering peaks, and the aptly-named Emerald Lake. 

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Numa Falls

Tour the Triangle: Radium to Golden

For those looking for a longer drive, the Golden Triangle is another scenic route that takes you through some of the most beautiful areas of the Columbia Valley. This route forms a triangle between Golden and Radium Hot Springs with three national parks along the way.

Travellers can explore Kootenay, Banff, and Yoho National Parks along the way. The Golden Triangle Route offers plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the sights along the way, explore hikes, stop at roadside restaurants and shops, and enjoy the drive.

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