Adventurers love Golden for its plentiful all-season outdoor activities, from cave exploration to scenic strolling and skiing. Photo by Andrew Chad.
For a small mountain town, Golden, B.C., has collected more than its share of superlatives
Located in the East Kootenay Rockies region of southeast British Columbia, less than three hours west of Calgary, Alberta, the area that would become Golden was used as a trade and travel route for the first nations Cree and Stoney natives, who came through Howse Pass. In 1807, European explorers LaGassi, LeBlanc and Finlay ventured here and were followed by master map-maker David Thompson. It was yet another 75 years before settlers came to reside here.
Despite Golden’s growing acclaim as a tourism destination, the community of less than 4,000 is still very much a rugged mountain town, founded on timber and train cars. Pickup trucks line the streets in front of gear and guide shops. In Golden, flannel has always been in fashion. It’s the sort of place where locals will share a gondola at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort—and then share their secret powder stashes or summer fishing spot.
Mountain biking trails are accessible just minutes from downtown Golden. Photo by Andrew Chad.
Two mountain ranges, the Canadian Rockies and Purcells, surround Golden with serrated, skyscraping peaks. Two heritage rivers, the Columbia and Kicking Horse, bring expansive wetlands and whitewater thrills to the valley floor. From the river valley to the top of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort it’s some six thousand feet of vertical relief. The mountains seem close enough to reach out and touch—and, thanks to Golden’s prime location, they’re just about that easy to get to.
Reminiscent of its history as a rail town, Golden is a hub for the surrounding area; the town lies within day-tripping range of six of Canada’s most stunning and revered national parks—Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Glacier, Kootenays and Mount Revelstoke.
Eagle’s Eye at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is the highest elevation restaurant in Canada. Photo by Andrew Chad.
With this backdrop, mountain adventure is whatever you make of it.
Take flight on a tandem paraglide from the summit of Mount 7 or enjoy a flight of award-winning beers at Whitetooth Brewing Co. Nearby, the half-mile-high spires of Bugaboo Provincial Park draw rock climbers and mountaineers from around the world. Whitewater rafters and wildlife-watchers can tick several boxes off their bucket lists without venturing far from town.
As a stop on the Powder Highway—the collection of eight ski resorts and dozens of heli- and cat-skiing operations and luxury backcountry lodges linked by 677 kilometers of pavement across the Kootenay Rockies—Golden is a world-class ski and snowboard destination.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort lays claim to the title of “Champagne Powder Capital of Canada”. Backcountry enthusiasts can choose from one cat-skiing and four heli-skiing operations, including the only in-town-accessible heli-skiing in Canada. Nearby, leg-powered powder chasers can access the revered Rogers Pass backcountry terrain.
Cave exploration is one of Golden's most unique attractions to the outdoor voyager. Photo by Andrew Chad.
For winter enthusiasts in search of a quieter, slower pace, miles of snowshoeing, fat-biking, Nordic skiing trails are accessible just minutes from downtown. Or hitch a ride with a team of high-energy huskies on a guided dog-sled excursion, where you can even try your hand at mushing.
Spring and fall, too, offer many of the same activities, with fair weather and fewer crowds.
Golden boasts hundreds of mountain chalets and lodges, including dozens of backcountry lodges—the greatest concentration of backcountry lodges in Canada.
From one of these basecamps, give yourself a few days or a few weeks. You’ll soon be adding your own superlatives to the list.
To start planning your Golden adventure visit tourismgolden.com/adventure.