Golden is a village of 10,000 population situated in the confluence of the
British Columbia and Kicking Horse rivers in a long deep valley between
the Rocky and Purcell Mountain ranges in eastern BC,
at an elevation of
790 m [2591 ft] located at the heart of six mountainous national parks:
Yoho, Banff, Jasper, Kootenay Glacier and Mount Revelstoke. Yoho
National Park, the ‘adopted’ park of the community, is a half-hour drive
east of Golden. From May to September mountain biking, hang/paragliding, bungee jumping,
and snowboarding are popular, and of course skiing during the winter.
Tobogganing, skating, or Nordic skiing through rolling windy trails
through woods. Downhill Skiing, Snowboarding, Heli-Skiing, Cat Skiing,
Snow mobiling, Dog Sledding, and Ice Climbing from mid-November to
the End of March.
Pilots from all over the world flock to the Mount 7 flying site to paraglide
and hang-glide. Horseback Riding, hiking, mountain biking, golfing,
fishing, and air tours. World class white water rafting, ATVing,
motocross, and rock climbing attract international thrill seekers.
Bird and wildlife viewing, slow floats, wetland scenic forest tours.
Boating and angling are common activities at recreation sites. Most
sites allow car top boat launching only. That means you can hand-launch
only canoes, kayaks and boats small enough to be carried on top of
your car. Trailered boats can be launched safely and conveniently from
those sites with ramp facilities. In most cases, the ramps are suitable
only for small and medium-sized boats.
A plane or helicopter ride will show you the Selkirk, Purcell and
Rocky Mountain ranges and their glaciers. You can even land on a
glacier for a closer look. Air tours are available year-round.
For local history there’s the Golden Museum where you can learn about
the important role that Swiss Mountain Guides played in the birth of
Canadian mountaineering traditions. Or at Ray’s Antique & Collectable
Museum you can browse through some old farm equipment and antique
tools. Take a guided hike way, way back [some 515 million years]
and visit the fossils of the renowned Yoho Burgess Shale or, if art is
your scene, there are many local art shops.
Cruise the numerous small mountain roads. Tour season is [weather
permitting] from May to October.
Bird / Wildlife Watching:
The Rocky Mountain Trench is a major migratory path, and a
great diversity of birds also settles in the Columbia Valley. 265
transient and resident species have been counted in Golden so far.
Reflection Lake, the Edelweiss slough and Moberly Marsh are favourite
birding spots. You can do bird watching year-round, although there are
more species during migration in spring [April to June]
and fall [September to October].
Canoe / Kayak Tours:
At the Columbia River you can view birds of prey, herons and ducks.
Paddle the Blaeberry River for more action. The Kicking Horse River is the
place to be for great whitewater action. For very experienced kayakers
the lower canyon with its class IV rapids is ideal. Season: May to October.
In 1912 six Swiss Mountain Guides and their families moved permanently
to Golden. Canadian Pacific Rail had hired them as professional
mountain guides for the many tourists who wanted to explore the Canadian
Rocky Mountains. Today there are many ACMG certified mountain
guides who live and work in Golden and the mountains around.
Golden attracts climbers from all over the world.
Track-set trails are just minutes from town at the Golden Golf Course.
More challenging trails can be found at Dawn Mountain Nordic Trail
System at the base of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Many more
tracks set by XC-enthusiasts can be found in the Blaeberry and Columbia
Valley. The season is from December to April.
Golden is the centre for the ‘Golden Triangle’ Tour where you cross the
Continental Divide twice. You can go at your own pace or book a package
with one of the tour companies.
Season lasts from late November to April.
Downhill (Alpine) & Cat Skiing / Snowboarding:
The new Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is being developed into a 250-
acre resort, encompassing 4005 acres of ski and snowboarding terrain,
with views of the Canadian Rockies. The new gondola rises to the
summit of the Dogtooth Mountain Range at an elevation of 7705
feet [2350 meters] where the new Eagle’s Eye Restaurant is located.
The excellent snow conditions will include a vertical drop of 4,133
feet [1260 meters] from the top lift, making it the second highest in
Canada. Ski season is from early December to the end of April.
Freshwater Fishing / Ice Fishing / Heli-Fishing:
The area’s fishing opportunities are endless, ranging from early and
late rainbow trout, small cut-throat trout in alpine lakes to char in
the river and giant ling [turbot] and Dolly Varden in the hydro
reservoir. Guides can take you to the type of fishing you prefer and
provide all the equipment from boats to heli-fishing. One of the more
popular lake areas is south of Golden, near Parson and Brisco. Many
of the lower lakes open early in May, and more fishing can be found
at higher elevations as summer arrives.
A popular lake is Mitten Lake. Also excellent are the Cleland and
Jade Lakes, and to the west, the Blackwater Lake. Stocked rainbow
trout up to 24-inches can be caught in these areas. North/northwest of
Golden are the Susan and Jeb Lakes in the area of the Big Bend Highway
and are usually open by early July. These two lakes are renowned for
their Brook trout. Anglers should note that the waters to the north remain
cooler longer in the summer and often provide a more vigorous fish than
the lethargic ones of the southern waters. Many of the higher alpine lakes,
which open at various times later in the summer offer exciting and
picturesque fly and spin- cast opportunities. The more popular areas
include Gorman, Quartz and Silent Lakes – and all trailheads are
within 25 minutes of town. Hike-in distances range from several
kilometres to much longer.
For river fishing, the Columbia opens early in the spring providing
Rainbows and Char. With a red and white spoon or a wet fly you’ll likely
nab one. Also available in the Columbia are Dolly Varden, Whitefish and
Kokanee. Creeks and streams open officially on June 14. and a lightweight
fly rod is recommended. In the Glacier and Yoho National Parks is superb
fishing but you must have a special permit aside from your regular license to
encourage catch and release in these areas. Ozark Trail Customer Service