Words by Morgan Dinsdale | Posted July 26, 2016
The city of Golden is the gateway to the wildlands of interior British Columbia. Located between the Columbia and Rocky Mountain ranges, the town lies in close proximity to six of Canada’s most breathtaking national parks (Banff, Glacier, Jasper, Kootenay, Mount Revelstoke and Yoho). It is also situated at the convergence of two heritage waterways, the Columbia River and Kicking Horse River. When driving the Trans-Canada Highway, this small BC town can be missed with the blink of an eye. However, for those who venture into its quaint streets and vast wilderness, it is a hidden gem filled with small-town charm, endless outdoor adventures and breathtaking vistas. This summer experience Golden with these must-do adventures.
Explore the wilderness in hiking boots
For Goldenites, a part of every day is spent in the forests and mountains. Golden’s backyard is home to six of Canada’s most stunning National Parks – Banff, Glacier, Jasper, Kootenay, Mount Revelstoke and Yoho – as well as three equally spectacular Provincial Parks – Bugaboo, Mount Assiniboine and Burges & James Gasden. What’s even better is that all of these parks are best explored on foot. From a long, steep hike up Table Mountain, Golden’s answer to the Grouse Grind, to an idyllic, easy hike through Silent Pass, these parks offer inspiring landscapes, teeming wildlife, world-class backpacking, mountaineering and climbing. Sitting in the middle of the highest concentration of National Parks in the world, there are endless trails to be explored for those of every skill level.
Use this exceptional guide to Golden’s hikes when planning your next adventure: goldenhikes.ca
Curl up with a good book & a cup of soup at Bacchus Books
Known for its quirky atmosphere and bright yellow walls, Bacchus Books and Café is a place where many locals spend an afternoon unwinding. Donning an eclectic menu (complete with hand milled soups and fresh salads sourced from local ingredients), the café’s walls are lined floor-to-ceiling with used books for all to enjoy. Wandering outdoors will have you placed on their riverside patio next to the Kicking Horse River. With a book in hand and aromas wafting from the café out into the open air, the ambiance of Bacchus can put anyone in a deep state of relaxation.
Try your hands at Rockling Climbing at Dogtooth Climbing Gym
Home to three of the “Classic 50 Climbs in North America” (namely the Northwest Ride of Mt Sir Donald, Beckey-Chouinard Route on South Howser Tower and East Ridge of Bugaboo Spire), Golden is home to some of the best rock climbing in the country. With so many climbers looking to train in the area, it is also home to an exceptional climbing facility: Dogtooth Climbing Gym. Set routes for top roping and bouldering of all levels make this a great place to give your hands a try at the sport.
Check out what Dogtooth Climbing Gym has on offer at dogtoothgym.com
Get your via ferrata warm up at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
Adventurers start their journey to the top of Terminator Peak at the ridgeline dividing the Rocky Mountain trench from the Purcell Mountain range. Following a protected climbing route known as a Via Ferrata (Italian for “iron road” and utilized by Italian troops in World War I as a means to safely cross the Dolomite mountain region of Italy), this system allows even the rookie mountaineer to access difficult peaks and complete otherwise dangerous routes without the risks of traditional mountaineering. The route, which is a great warm up before tackling the Mount Nimbus Via Ferrata at CMH Bobbie Burns, uses a series of steel cables fixed to rock, iron rungs, carved steps and free-hanging bridges between peaks. This newly built Via Ferrata at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort will leave you standing on top of the world.
To learn more about experiencing the Via Ferrata at Kicking Horse click here: kickinghorseresort.com
Raft the Rivers
The Kicking Horse, Columbia and Blaeberry rivers of Golden make it one of the best places to whitewater raft in British Columbia. With numerous rafting companies to choose from and Class 1 to Class 4 whitewater rapids, it is an exhilarating way to take in the breathtaking scenery of the Rocky Mountains. Entirely wild, it’s no wondering why Kicking Horse River was the first recognized Heritage River in British Columbia.
Music in Spirit Square
Summer in Golden doesn’t officially start until the first notes of the Summer Kicks Concert Series are played in Spirit Square. Held in the picturesque town square, home to the local farmers market, kicking horse pedestrian bridge and blooming with colourful flowers, these weekly concerts showcase a variety of local and international artists spanning a multitude of musical genres. With children often found dancing and hula hooping to the beat it’s a summer experience for the entire family.
To check out this summer’s lineup: kickinghorseculture.ca
Take it all in from the skies above
Considered one of the Top 5 in the world and Canada’s premier launch pad for paragliding and hang gliding, Mount 7 is a world-class destination to take in the beauty of Golden from above. Mountain ranges, roaring rivers and a big, open valley make this town one incredible view from the sky. It also happens to be the only place where you can skydive between two mountain ranges. Whether skydiving, paragliding or hang gliding, nothing beats the bird’s eye view when it comes to taking in the great beauty of this place.
Golden, British Columbia is located just 20 minutes North of the CMH Bobbie Burns helipad.