Top 10 Things to do in Kootenay National Park

Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks near Banff National park

Ahoy there, fellow explorers! Are you gearing up for a wild and wacky adventure while you explore Kootenay National Park? Do you want to make the most of your time there without getting lost or attacked by a bear? Well, look no further because I've got your back! In this blog post, I'm going to share with you the top 10 things to do in Kootenay National Park of British Columbia. And don't worry, I won't make you fall asleep with a boring list of activities!

1. Take a dip in the Radium hot springs

Kootenay River, Kootenay National Parks

Okay, hold on to your swim caps, folks, because we're about to jump into a hot spring! First on our to-do list is a classic activity that's hotter than a jalapeño pepper: soaking in the natural hot springs. But let me warn you if you're planning on taking a dip in hot pools during the winter, you better pack more than just your swimsuit and parka. You might as well bring a snowmobile suit and a portable heater, too but don't worry these mineral-rich pools are perfect for your skin!

Imagine sitting in a bubbling hot tub of natural mineral springs, surrounded by a winter wonderland of snow and ice. Sounds magical, right? Well, it is... until you start feeling like a human Popsicle and your teeth start chattering louder than a marching band. Trust me, it's not every day that you get to soak in hot water while your nose hairs freeze, but it's an experience you won't forget (and one that'll make for some hilarious stories to tell your grandkids).

2. Hike to the Stanley Glacier

Parks Canada, Kootenay Rockies mountain views

Ah, the Stanley Glacier trail - a majestic journey that will leave you breathless... both from the stunning views and the strenuous exercise. But don't let the allure of the glacier fool you, because this hike is not for the faint of heart (or the weak of the knee).

First things first, make sure you're equipped with proper footwear and gear because one wrong step and you could end up slipping and sliding like a cartoon character on a banana peel. And trust me, nobody wants to be called "Slippy McSlipface" for the rest of their life.

But fear not, because the views are worth the risk. You'll be treated to a picturesque panorama of the glacier and the surrounding mountains, which will make you feel like you're in your personal snow globe. The elevation gain is around 3,155 m (10,351 ft).

But be warned - this hike is not just a stroll through the park. You'll be scaling rocks and trudging through snow, so make sure you've got some snacks and water to keep you fueled and hydrated. And if you're lucky, you might even spot some wildlife along the way, like a mountain goat or a grizzly bear (just don't get too close or you might end up with a new nickname - "Bear Bait").

So, gear up, take a deep breath and get ready to conquer the Stanley Glacier hike. And if you happen to slip and fall, just remember to laugh it off and embrace your new nickname with pride (or at least try to).

3. Go camping

tent, camping, hills, Kootenay Dominion Park

You'll set up your tent under the stars and listen to the soothing sounds of nature - the gentle rustle of leaves, the chirping of birds, and the occasional snore from your camping buddy who swears they don't snore (they do).

But let's not forget about the potential dangers lurking in the wilderness - bears! Yes, bears are a real threat in Kootenay National Park, and if you're not careful, you might end up as a midnight snack. So, it's important to keep your food locked up and out of reach from these hungry critters. And if you see a bear, remember to stay calm and slowly back away... unless you're one of those people who can outrun a bear, in which case, go ahead and make us all feel inadequate.

But don't let the grizzly bears scare you too much because camping in Kootenay National Park is still an experience like no other. You'll get to roast marshmallows over a campfire, tell ghost stories, and bond with your fellow campers... unless they're snoring too loudly, in which case, maybe it's time for some earplugs.

So, embrace the great outdoors and all the adventure it brings. Just don't forget to pack bug spray, sunscreen, and a good sense of humour (because let's face it, camping without a few laughs is just sleeping in the dirt).

4. Drive the Banff-Windermere Highway

Kootenay National Park attractions

a stunning drive that will take your breath away (and potentially your car if you're not careful). This scenic route will take you through majestic mountains, tranquil lakes, and breathtaking vistas. It's like a postcard comes to life... if postcards had the potential to give you a heart attack.

Yes, as beautiful as this drive may be, it's important to keep your eyes on the road and avoid getting distracted by the jaw-dropping views. Because let's face it, if you drive off a cliff, that view will be the last thing you ever see. And while going out in a blaze of glory might seem like a cool way to go, trust us, it's not worth it.

So, take your time and enjoy the drive, but remember to stay focused and alert. And if you're prone to car sickness, you might want to bring some Dramamine, because this road is full of twists and turns that will make even the strongest stomachs churn.

But despite the potential hazards, the Banff-Windermere Highway is a drive that you won't want to miss. Just make sure to bring a camera (and a change of pants, just in case).

5. Go skiing

cross country skiing, mountain climbing while hanging glaciers

if you're planning on hitting the slopes during your visit, it's important to make sure you have the right gear. Because trust us, skiing with mismatched skis is a recipe for disaster.

Can you imagine trying to navigate the mountain with one ski that's too long and the other that's too short? It's like trying to dance with two left feet... except instead of embarrassing yourself, you're risking life and limb. So, make sure to bring your skis or rent a pair that fits.

And speaking of skiing, if you're a beginner, you might want to start with the bunny hill before attempting the black diamond runs. Trust us, it's better to look like a fool on the bunny hill than to be carried down the mountain on a stretcher. And if you do fall (which let's face it, is pretty much guaranteed), remember to fall with style, like you meant to do it.

But despite the potential hazards, skiing in Kootenay National Park is an experience like no other. The rush of the wind in your face, the thrill of conquering the mountain, and the feeling of accomplishment as you reach the bottom... assuming you don't fall on your face halfway down.

So, embrace the winter wonderland and hit the slopes, just remember to bring your sense of humour (because let's face it, there's nothing funnier than watching someone wipe out on the bunny hill).

6. Explore/Visit Marble Canyon

mountain peaks, hiking trials in alpine tundra

A natural wonder full of beautiful scenery that will leave you speechless (and potentially shoeless if you're not careful). This picturesque canyon is a must-see attraction in Kootenay National Park due to its natural beauty, but it's important to come prepared. And that means wearing comfortable shoes unless you want to spend the rest of your vacation hobbling around like a penguin with blisters the size of golf balls.

Trust us, there's nothing worse than having sore feet when you're trying to take nice walking trails and enjoy the great outdoors. It's like trying to appreciate the beauty of the canyon while simultaneously feeling like you're walking on hot coals. So, do yourself a favour and invest in some comfy shoes, your feet will thank you later.

And while we're on the topic of Marble Canyon, it's important to note that the rocks can be slippery, so watch your step. Unless you want to go from tourist to contortionist in a split second, it's best to stay on the designated path and avoid any acrobatics. Because let's face it, doing a split in public might look impressive, but it's not worth the trip to the ER.

But despite the potential hazards, Marble Canyon is a natural wonder that will take your breath away. The stunning rock formations, the rushing water, and the feeling of being in the great outdoors - it's like a postcard come to life. So, grab your comfortable shoes and your sense of adventure, and get ready to explore!

7. Try fly-fishing

angler, time out, sunset, sinclair canyon

The perfect activity for those who want to feel like they're one with nature, while also pretending to be the next Brad Pitt in "A River Runs Through It." But let's face it, for most of us, fly-fishing is more like flail-fishing. We try to cast our line with grace and elegance, but end up looking like we're trying to flag down a helicopter.

But despite our lack of skills, fly fishing is still a great way to spend some time in the water and try to catch some fish. Just be prepared for the occasional mishap, like catching a tree instead of a fish. Because let's face it, trees are sneaky creatures, and they like to pretend they're fish by waving their branches in the water.

And speaking of pretending, don't get too cocky if you do manage to catch a fish. Sure, you might feel like the next Hemingway, but let's not forget that the fish is doing all the hard work. It's like taking credit for winning a race when you're riding a cheetah - it's not fair.

But in all seriousness, fly-fishing is a peaceful and rewarding activity that's perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy the great outdoors. So, grab your gear, channel your inner Brad Pitt, and get ready to make some memories (and potentially catch a tree or two).

8. Go mountain biking

mountain bike, mountain goats during early september

There are plenty to choose trail out from in Kootenay National Park but be warned - some of them are not for the faint of heart. If you're a beginner, it's probably best to stick to the easier trails, unless you want to end up with more bruises than a banana that's been dropped too many times.

But even if you're an experienced mountain biker, there's always the chance of a wipeout. It's just part of the fun (or terror, depending on how you look at it). So, be prepared to fall off your bike at least once, or you might end up feeling like the only person who can't ride a bike without training wheels.

But in all seriousness, mountain biking is a thrilling activity that's perfect for anyone who wants to get their adrenaline pumping and uniquely explore the park. So, strap on your helmet put on your brave face, and get ready to conquer those trails (or at least attempt to).

9. Visit the Kootenay Valley Viewpoint

Canadian Rockies hiking trails

But be warned, if you forget your camera, you might end up feeling like a magician without a wand. Or worse, like a tourist without a selfie stick. And nobody wants that.

And speaking of things flying off, if you're afraid of heights, the Kootenay Valley Viewpoint might not be the best place for you. The wind can be pretty strong up there, and if you're not careful, your hat might end up taking flight like a bird that's just been freed from its cage.

But hey, who needs a hat when you've got panoramic views of the park? Just hold onto your hair (or your scalp, if you're bald like me) and enjoy the stunning scenery. And if you're feeling brave, try standing on the edge and pretending you're on top of the world. Just don't look down, or you might end up feeling like a cartoon character who's just realized they're standing on thin air.

10. Go wildlife spotting

early october wildlife watching bears

It's like a real-life safari, except without the fancy jeeps and tour guides. You never know what kind of animal you might stumble upon, so it's important to keep your eyes peeled at all times.

And let's be real here, spotting a bear in the wild is like finding a needle in a haystack. So, if you're lucky enough to see one, resist the urge to take a selfie with it. I know you want to show off your bravery to your friends on social media, but trust me, a bear selfie is not worth risking your life over (make sure to pack bear spray). Plus, it's kind of hard to look cool when you're being chased by a 500-pound animal.

And speaking of animals, keep an eye out on rocky mountains for the majestic elk, the goofy-looking moose, and the rock-climbing bighorn sheep. If you're lucky, you might even see all three in one day. Just don't get too excited and try to ride one like a bucking bronco. They might look cute and cuddly, but they're still wild animals.


Oh, dear adventurer, you sure have a lot of stamina if you want to try all 15 activities in one day! But don't worry, I won't judge you for trying. Just make sure to pack some energy bars, otherwise, you might end up looking like a human-sized snickers bar to the bears.

And let's be real, trying to do all 15 activities in one day is like trying to eat a whole pizza by yourself - it's a noble goal, but you'll probably regret it later. So, if you want to avoid collapsing from exhaustion, take it easy and spread out the activities over a few days.

But hey, if you do end up attempting all 15 activities in one day, don't forget to bring a spare pair of socks. Trust me, your feet will thank you later. Happy travels, and may the force be with you (you'll need it)!

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