Kootenay National Park
This park (1-250-347-9505) is 1,406-sq km/ 543-sq mi of startling contrasts. It’s packed with towering summits, hanging glaciers, narrow chasms, forested valleys, arid grasslands and mineral pools. Rockwall is the favourite multi-day backpacking route. Travel the 106-km Banff-Windermere Highway (Hwy 93 S), from Hwy 1 in Banff to Radium Hot Springs. Every turn reveals interesting sights; wildlife is abundant.
- New driving tour app called Kootenay Explora, available on iTunes and Google Play. Augmented reality and stories from Parks Canada staff allow visitors to hear from fire specialists, and park wardens and biologists.
- Red Adirondack Chairs are at viewpoints including Marble Canyon Trail near the fourth bridge (details below) and Juniper Trail.
- Burgess Shale fossils in the Stanley Glacier area can be viewed on a guided Parks Canada hike; reserve at 1-877-737-3783.
- Kootenay Valley Viewpoint at the height-of-land south of Settler Rd has impressive vistas.
- Fireweed Loop (.8 km/.5 mi) explores a 1968 fire and regenerating forest.
- Marble Canyon 1.6-km/1-mi (return) trail includes seven footbridges over 40-m/131-ft deep polished rock Tokumm Creek gorge. Take poles; watch for ice climbers at 7th Bridge.
- Paint Pots (1.5 km/.9 mi) trail leads to colourful springs and ochre beds used by First Nations.
- Redstreak Campground offers oTENTik tent-cabins to Oct 12. Each oTENTik sleeps six and provides a getaway with comforts like a real bed. Reserve here.
- Historic 1923 Kootenay Park Lodge (1-250-434-9648). Stop for cozy cabin accommodation, rustic dining, interesting gifts from their shop, or simply an ice cream to break up the drive.