Golden B.C. offers a year-round abundance of outdoor adventures and experiences provided by the Canadian Rockies to the north, the Columbia Mountains to the south and proximity to six national parks and two historic rivers. The combination makes Golden the perfect place from which to explore the Rockies, enjoy the outdoors, and create lasting memories.
The best part about Golden is that it never feels like a tourist town. The railway brought the first settlers, including a wave of Swiss mountaineers who founded Golden’s thriving network of wilderness adventures; many of the current residents are descendants of these guides.
The scenic 3 hour drive from Calgary Airport through the Canadian Rockies serves as an appetiser. As you drive into town, you can’t miss the stunning peaks of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, located just 15 kilo- metres from downtown Golden. But winter doesn’t only have to be about carving powder on the groomers at Kicking Horse (or one of the other 4 world class ski resorts within a 2 hour drive). Golden was at the forefront of heli-skiing and cat-skiing, and today, the surrounding backcountry hosts several outfitters, guides, and lodges that can safely provide you with an unforgettable mountain experience.
Golden is situated at the confluence of the historic Columbia River. Spring through fall, the surging white waters of the Kicking Horse River, have drawn adrenaline junkies from across the world to experience the thrill of rafting and kayaking down the rapids. But the rivers aren’t just for thrill- seekers: the upper part of the Kicking Horse is much calmer than the lower, perfect for all ages to get a feel for the excitement of rafting.
Follow the Columbia River south on the other side of town and you’ll arrive at the Columbia Wetlands, the longest protected wetlands in North America. Be on the lookout for blue heron, bald eagles, beavers, bears and over 200 other species as you explore the wetlands by canoe or stand-up paddle board.
Golden is a hiker’s dream — you could spend a week here and never cover the same ground. A series of maintained trails runs in and around town and there are dozens of other unmaintained trails for those who want to get off the beaten path and see some amazing views. And with the Yoho and Glacier National parks no more than 40 minutes away, Golden provides access to waterfalls, lakes, peaks, flora and fauna along with thousands of kilometres of trails.
The original Swiss mountaineers came to conquer all the challenging peaks in the area; climbers of all experience levels have a wealth of opportunities to pursue. Mountain bikers can also test their mettle on over 129 kilometres of cross-country biking trails, ranging from green routes to black diamonds. A gondola at the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort transports adventurous riders to the top of downhill trails, but the gondola’s panoramic views are there for everyone to enjoy — along the way you might even spot Boo, the orphaned grizzly bear who lives in a refuge on the mountain.
In addition, thrill seekers can get their adrenaline pumping with tandem hang gliding or skydiving, a guided ATV tour in the spring, summer, and fall, or a snowmobile tour in the winter.
There are also many activities and events that don’t require a resting heart rate of 30 bpm and a closet full of Gore-tex. Try your hand at fishing, golfing, horseback riding, or even just driving along the “Golden Triangle” highway loop through the Columbia Wetlands. On your downtime enjoy some live music, stop by the Whitetooth Brewery for some locally brewed beers or take a walk along the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge — the longest free-standing timber frame bridge in Canada.
Just as Golden boasts a huge range of outdoor activities throughout the year, it also has accommodations to suit every personal style, whether it’s a full-service hotel, charming log cabin with private hot tub, cozy bed and breakfast, rustic backcountry lodge, or fully-furnished luxury mountain home or vacation condo.
Whatever the season, make your next vacation a Golden one.