The Canadian Rockies have been drawing visitors
for over a century and it's easy to see why - this region is incredible.
The valleys are lined with towering mountains and snuggled at the
mountains' bases are towns, lakes and roads. Standing at a viewpoint,
you can gaze out on a glacial lake and be dazzled by it's turquoise
hue. Canadian Rockies accommodations range from camping
to historic lodges to luxurious hot spring resorts.
The BC Rockies are the first mountains you see when approaching British Columbia from Alberta. While it is common to say all of the mountains in BC are "The BC Rockies", they are actually separate mountain ranges which differ in age geologically.
The Selkirk Mountain Range is roughly bounded by the Columbia River. The Selkirks are distinct from, and geologically older than, the Rocky Mountains. The Sekirk Range, the Monashee Range west of Revelstoke and the Purcell Mountains in the southeast corner of BC are part of a larger grouping known as the Columbia Mountains.
To many, the greatest appeal of the Canadian Rockies are the magnificent mountain parks. At some, such as Top of the World Provincial Park and Kootenay National Park, you can drive to the high points, while at others, such as Purcell Wilderness Conservancy, the best views are saved for hikers. Yoho (Cree for "awe") National Park will give you a feeling of awe as up at Takakkaw Falls or paddle in Emerald Lake. You can stay in the park or just outside the boundary, in Golden. (Map)
Revelstoke (Map) - Located on the Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 1) 410 km (256 mi) west of Calgary and 209 km (131 mi) east of Kamloops, you'll find awesome scenery and a beautifully restored downtown as well as excellent accommodations. Revelstoke is also easily accessible from the Okanagan by taking Highway 97 (Hwy 97a from Vernon on) north to Hwy 1 and then head east or from the Kootenays by taking Highway 95 north to Golden and heading west on Highway 1. Just west of Revelstoke be sure to stop at Three Valley Lake Chateau with the Three Valley Gap Heritage Ghost Town, the Railway Roundhouse and Antique Auto Museum is located.
Naturally you'll find plenty of activities such as river rafting, heli-skiing, heli-hiking, and windsurfing. Fishing for rainbow, brook, lake, and cutthroat trout is another excellent adventure. After all the activity you'll need to relax and what could be better then Radium Hot Springs, Fairmont Hot Springs or Lussier Hot Springs. If that's not enough the area is on the leading edge of golf resort development and there are 11 18-hole courses and a variety of 9-hole courses offering unsurpassed terrain and sweeping mountain views. Between Radium Hot Springs and Kimberly, on Hwy 95, you will come across Invermere located on Lake Windermere. This valley, known as one of the sunniest spots in Canada, can be reached by jet or car, as there is a new airport at Fairmont Hot Springs serviced by flights from Vancouver and Calgary. Invermere plays host to a major hang gliding competition every summer. (Map)
Kimberley has been modeled after a Bavarian town and has the world's largest cuckoo clock and Fort Steele is one of BC's most extensive "living history towns" and has over 60 homes and buildings restored or reconstructed to their turn-of-the-century condition. The Townsite is open all year with daily shows and activities throughout the summer.
Sparwood (Map) welcomes visitors to tour the murals which depict the history of the ghost towns of Michel and Natal. Elkford is home to a wide variety of wildlife and has more bighorn sheep than anywhere else in North America. Other attractions can be found in Fernie with it's distinctive brick buildings, Cranbrook with the Canadian Museum Of Rail Travel and Windermere and Golden with original log cabin museums. Mountain bikers will love Rossland, the mountain biking capital of Canada. There are several championship courses throughout the area and other fascinating courses including the Rossland Course with a rope tow to the 5th green. Fishing, swimming, water skiing, sailing and canoeing are all possibilities on the numerous lakes and rivers in the area. The Slocan River offers gentle interludes between exhilarating white water sections, perfect for kayaking. For a more peaceful time try floating down the Kettle River on an inner tube or charter a houseboat on Christina or Kootenay Lake. Spelunkers, cave explorers, will enjoy Cody Caves Provincial Park while wildlife enthusiasts should visit the Creston Wildlife Management Area. (Map)