After an unprecedented year of social distancing, a lot of us are gravitating towards a more distanced approach to our summer activities. With the (hopefully) worst of the pandemic behind us, it’s important to make time for activities that feed the soul, while still respecting the boundaries of fellow travellers and private businesses. Here are 5 of the best activities for connection (while still being safe) in Golden, BC
Lucky for us – the mountains offer so many ways for us to connect safely, outside in nature. Because even when things go back to normal, having a bit of extra space to yourself is always a good thing!
There’s nothing quite like a hike in the depths of our incredible mountain ranges to lift the spirits and satisfy your group’s desire for adventure. With an endless array of options at your fingertips, you’re sure to find plenty of space to comfortably roam and enjoy your natural surroundings. We’ve compiled a short list of a few of our favourites in Yoho National Park, just east of Golden, and Glacier National Park, just west of Golden.
Yoho National Park
Emerald Lake Loop (Easy)
Length: 5.2 km | Hiking time: 2 hours | Elevation Gain: minimal
This is a gentle trail around the aptly named, infamous Emerald Lake, surrounded by mountain and glacier views. It includes a level, gravel path from the parking area to the bridge at the back of the lake.
Bonus: rent a kayak and go for a paddle around Emerald Lake and visit the Boathouse Trading Co. Family owned and operated it’s the cutest little shop in the Rockies.
Laughing Falls (Moderate)
Length: 8.8 km | Hiking time: 3 hours | Elevation Gain: 125 m
This trail starts at the wonderful Takakkaw Falls. You’ll definitely want to pause for a quick pic before you set off on the rest of your waterfall hunting adventures. Walk through the Takakkaw Falls Campground and continue up into the valley to a sign guiding you to the rest of the natural features in the area. After a few kms, Laughing Falls itself will meet you with gusto. This 30m waterfall is surrounded by forest and rocks which echo the crashing water into a thunderous applause for your efforts to get there.
Glacier National Park
1885 Rails Trail (Easy)
Length: 3.8 km (one way) | Hiking time: 1 hour (one way) | Elevation Gain: minimal change
History buffs, gather round! The 1885 Rails trail follows the original line of the CPR between Loop Brook Campground and Illecillewaet Campground. Because it is on an old railway grade, the walking is very easy and accessible to all fitness levels. Interpretive signs along the route will relive the exciting history of the railway through Rogers Pass.
Moderate: Balu Pass
Length: 6.4 km (one way) | Hiking time: 2 hours (uphill direction), ~3.5 hours total | Elevation Gain: 780m
This name exudes “bear territory” vibes. The mountains flanking one wall of the valley are Grizzly Mountain, Ursus Major (Ursus is Latin for bear) and Ursus Minor. Savour this gorgeous, meandering hike to an alpine meadow, but be aware you will be in prime bear foraging territory. Stay alert and go with a group, bear spray, and some songs to sing along the way.
The Balu Pass trail starts as a forest walk through hemlock and spruce stands. Within about a half-hour you exit the woods. The trail crosses the lower sections of avalanche paths until you get to the end of the line – a short and steep uphill hike to the summit. Wildflowers in August, and the view of the glaciers, icefields and mountain peaks await you at the top of this scenic trek.
Mountain Biking is another great way to get away from the crowds and into the flowy terrain of our spectacular valley bottoms. Not into mountain biking? Grab your townie and hit the Rotary Trails of Golden and enjoy an amble along the Kicking Horse River. Whether you’re new this summer to biking or a veteran MTB enthusiast, you’re sure to delight in the super fun and varied trails Golden has to offer.
The Mountain Shadows trail network is on the east side of the Columbia Valley at the base of the illustrious Mount 7. Many local riders will tell you that these trails are their favourite to ride in Golden. Expect fast and technical riding with a solid cross-section of rocky terrain and rolling, snakey turns. There are many different ways to ride the Mountain Shadows network, and it’s a popular zone. Stay vigilant and enjoy the turns!
This flowy system has something for all riders to enjoy. The smooth layout of the trails make the Moonrakers a really great option for someone who is new to mountain biking, or leary of too much technical downhill. That being said, seasoned riders will also enjoy quick descents and steeper technical terrain in this area as well.
Combining your ride in the Moonrakers with the CBT Mainline offers a top quality British Columbian biking experience. The Moonraker trails also offer plenty of majestic mountain views. You’ll have the Purcell’s Dogtooth range to the west, the Rocky Mountains to the east, and if you make it to Canyon Creek, a spectacular cliff zone dropping over 200 m to the creek below.
Note: All the trail networks in Golden are also frequented by dog walkers and trail runners. Share the trails respectfully and enjoy your epic rides.
3. DISC GOLF
Hit the frisbee links for a few hours of revelry and wrist-testing strength at one of our new disc golf courses in town. Disc golf is just as it sounds; similar to regular golf, but with a disc or frisbee instead of a set of clubs. If you know, you know.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
The course overlooks the Columbia River Valley and Rocky Mountains and is now open for play. To access the course you need to purchase a Grizzly Bear Refuge ticket, Adventure Pass ticket or use your Summer Seasons pass. From there you ride the Catamount Chair to mid-station. The course features holes ranging from 47m (154ft) to 92m (302ft) and provides a fun introduction to the sport as well as a challenge for experienced players.
Disc Golf Golden
Located next to the Keith King Sports Fields near the Mountain Shadows trail network, this woodland course is year round fun. It’s a great reason to get out in nature while staying close to town. Accessible to beginners and featuring some challenges for intermediate players, enjoy a few hours outside with your friends while sneaking in some gorgeous valley views on the way there.
4. BEACH HANGS
As the temperatures heat up, sometimes the most satisfying thing to do is to take a refreshing dip in one of our glacier fed rivers. There’s plenty of room to spread out at our favourite watering holes, just make sure to pack plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen on those extra hot days.
At the trailhead of the Moonrakers lays a petite, scenic forested lake where you can enjoy swimming, picnicking and floating. It has a smooth sandy beach and a large dock for sunbathing or lake jumping. There are actually four lakes in the Cedar Lakes group. It is the perfect apres spot for mountain biking or trail running on the Moonraker trails. Recent upgrades include an enlarged day use area, a new dock, and 10 improved campsites. It’s $12/night for overnight camping. Camping is not permitted in the day use area.
Located at the confluence of the Columbia and Kicking Horse Rivers, the Confluence trail runs along the eastern edge of the Columbia River. The trailhead is located just past the road bend at the north end of the Golden airport runway. There’s an outhouse and a few picnic tables at the roadside. The short trail meanders along the wetlands at the edge of the Columbia River.
Throughout the park, depending on the water level, you will find numerous spots to lay a beach blanket and bask at the river’s edge. Cool off with a dip in either the Kicking Horse or the Columbia, or relax and enjoy the valley views. This spot is popular with locals after work and on the weekends.
Note: During extreme high water on the Columbia River, parts of this trail will be underwater.
An invigorating day out on the Kicking Horse River is an incredibly fun way to reconnect with friends or family on one of the most exciting rivers in British Columbia. At Alpine Rafting, we have trips for all levels of adventurers, from total beginners to whitewater enthusiasts.
With our entire day being spent outside, you’ll have lots of room to space out and breathe in the fresh mountain air.
Gentle River Trip
For those who like to take things slow, there are still safe ways to enjoy the river at a more mellow pace. Our gentle family rafting trip is for those with younger children or a higher hesitation to whitewater. It’ll have you gliding down the river at a more chilled out pace. This relaxing trip floats you through the wild and beautiful backcountry of the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia. You may even spot elk, deer, bald eagles or other wildlife along the banks of the river.
Full Day Rafting
Let’s paint you a picture: The sun is shining. The foamy whitewater surges under the raft. Your stomach drops as you grip the paddle and are sprayed by the fresh, cool water. You’re barreling down one of Canada’s wildest rivers; and not even the glacial temperatures can wash the smile off your face.
Traverse through the water rollercoaster of the upper & middle canyons and enjoy a BBQ lunch by the riverside after working up a serious appetite. The rafts pull over at a couple of beautiful waterfalls throughout the trip, allowing you to take a short walk and glacial drink. Our full day trip on the Kicking Horse River is the type of thrill that will leave you buzzing for days afterwards.
If you have any questions please reach out and we’ll be happy to help. If you need other suggestions we’re here for that too. Our email is email@example.com
Everything you need to know about Hiking in Glacier National Park
Everything you need to know about Hiking in Yoho National Park