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Stories from Columbia Valley

Sinclair Canyon Radium Hot Springs

Taking the Scenic Route from Banff to the Columbia Valley

The road trip to the Columbia Valley, BC, promises an unforgettable adventure that’s just as picturesque as the final destination. For travellers approaching from the east, take the time to savour the journey and explore the stops along Highway 93 between Banff and the Columbia Valley. Throughout the drive, find many spots to stop at including hikes, walks, and day-use areas. Check out our favourite spots to snap a great photo or stretch your legs. Don’t forget to grab your National Parks Pass for your stay in Kootenay National Park. The drive typically spans approximately 1.5 hours without any stops, but the route boasts an abundance of attractions past Banff en route to the Columbia Valley’s iconic spots.

Continental Divide

At the border of British Columbia and Alberta, you’ll stand at the Continental Divide, where the Pacific and Atlantic watersheds meet. This area is also home to the Fireweed Loops trails, offering walks ranging from 0.5 km to 2 km through serene, shaded forests. Along the shorter loop, interpretive signs narrate the story of regeneration following the 1968 wildfire.

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Zoya Lynch - Parks Canada

Marble Canyon

Marble Canyon is an iconic stop in Kootenay National Park, with bridges spanning the Tokkumm Creek and its stunning bright blue waters below. Hikers can follow the trail and bridges to Marble Canyon or opt for a longer hike to the Paint Pots. At the trail’s end, discover the famous Parks Canada red chairs, perfect for relaxation and photo opportunities.

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@sur_la_trotte Instagram

Numa Falls

The Numa Falls rest area in Kootenay National Park offers a fantastic respite. A short stroll from the parking area leads to a spectacular bridge viewpoint overlooking Numa Falls. Regardless of the season, Numa Falls provides incredible views, along with a picnic area and restrooms. Looking to extend your trip? There are a number of campground options in the vicinity of Numa Falls so you can take in more of the beautiful scenery.

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Abby Cooper - Kootenay National Park

Paint Pots

Experience the vibrant orange ochre pots with a short jaunt from Highway 93. Consider stretching your legs with a 3 km return hike between the Paint Pots and Marble Canyon.

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Zoya Lynch - Parks Canada

Dolly Varden

If you have little ones with you, make a stop at Dolly Varden during your drive for some playtime on the playground. The Dolly Varden rest area offers an excellent opportunity to stretch your legs while exploring Kootenay National Park. Learn about wildlife overpasses and underpasses through informative signage.

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Zoya Lynch - Parks Canada

Dog Lake

The Dog Lake Trail is ideal for a quick walk or an easy hike. A 15-minute walk along the trail will lead you to a suspension bridge spanning the Kootenay River. If you’re up for a longer hike (2.5 km in total), you’ll reach Dog Lake, a charming mountain tarn nestled in the valley.

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Abby Cooper - Tour the Triangle

Kootenay Valley Viewpoint

The Kootenay Valley Viewpoint provides a mesmerizing panorama of the Kootenay River Valley and the surrounding mountains. It’s especially enchanting at sunrise or sunset, and it’s a perfect spot to take in the views just 10 minutes before reaching the Village of Radium.

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Abby Cooper - Tour the Triangle

Olive Lake

Olive Lake, named for its stunning green waters, features a short boardwalk encircling the lake. Take some time to explore the interpretive panels along the lake. Note that the Olive Lake area is closed during the spring due to bear activity, with winter closures in effect for snow removal.

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Sinclair Canyon

As you approach the southern end of Kootenay National Park, you’ll encounter the dramatic Sinclair Canyon, the picturesque rock-faced entrance to the Village of Columbia Valley. Explore the Sinclair Canyon area by stopping at a viewpoint for stunning photos or hiking the Juniper-Sinclair Trail for a bird’s-eye view of the canyon, mountains, and charming Village.

Embark on your journey to the Columbia Valley and discover a world of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and the warm embrace of the local community. Whether you’re a hiker, a nature enthusiast, or simply seeking relaxation, there’s something for everyone.

Sinclair Canyon Vertical No Cars Summer
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