Town of Golden
Golden (Tourism Golden, 1-800-622-4653) embodies the best of this pocket of the west with its unaffected charm and scenery. Remnants of early 1900s architecture and Swiss mountain guide settlement harmonize with the town’s shops and restaurants. Downtown is the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge, North America’s longest free standing timber frame bridge, and Spirit Square, a venue for free concerts and farmers’ markets. Adventure activities are a Golden specialty. The BC Visitor Centre, 111 Golden Donald Upper Rd, north of Hwy 1, is open 9 am-4 pm.
Highlights – Summer
- Naturalists converge at Golden for wildlife viewing and bird watching. The Columbia Wetlands connects Golden with Invermere; at 15,070 hectares this is one of North America’s longest and most biologically rich wetlands. Take an eco-tour or rent a boat (1-888-244-7117).
- Anglers fish Golden’s rivers and lakes for trophies. Get fishing licenses at Service BC (1-250-344-7550), and guided trips through The Golden Gillie (1-250-344-1217).
- Road cyclists ride the Golden Triangle (Golden-Radium-Lake Louise-Golden). Mountain bikers take Rotary Trails from town to connect with over 100 km of routes at Mountain Shadows, Moonraker and CBT. Bike shops offer rentals.
- Mount 7 summit is accessible by road. This acclaimed paragliding destination is a premiere choice for sightseeing and downhill mountain biking.
- At Kicking Horse Mountain Resort (1-250-439-5425) there’s lift-assisted downhill biking and interpretive tours of the Grizzly Bear Refuge where ‘Boo’ resides. The sightseeing gondola rises to Eagle Eye restaurant (Canada’s highest) and summit hiking trails. Thrill seekers can try guided via ferrata climbing along a route with fixed cables, ladders and a suspension bridge. Rocky Mountain Riders (1-877-950-7533) rents ATVs and side-by-sides for trail riding near the resort.
- Each section of the Kicking Horse River has its rewards. Guided raft trips range from mild to wild; the Middle and Lower Canyons are whitewater enthusiast favourites. Raft companies are listed at tourismgolden.com/rafting. Local operators also offer guided SUP and inflatable kayak tours.
- Beside the Columbia River, Golden Golf Club (1-866-727-7222) offers 18 holes and mountain scenery.
- Golden is close to six of Canada’s most stunning national parks. In fact, the town is in the middle of the highest concentration of national parks in the world. Hire an ACMG-certified local guide for mountaineering at Rogers Pass or Bugaboo National Park; you can start with a learn-to-climb course at Dogtooth indoor climbing gym (1-250-344-6444).
- The town is a gateway to vast wilderness and dozens of backcountry accommodations. Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH, 1-800-661-0252) operates wilderness lodges with modern amenities that are accessible only by helicopter. Guests are treated to guided heli-hiking, zipline treks and North America’s longest via ferrata guided climbing route with a suspension bridge 600 m/2,000 ft over the valley floor.
Highlights – Winter
- At Kicking Horse Mountain Resort (1-866-754-5425), 13 km/8 mi from town, Golden Eagle Express Gondola rises to an upper ridge and allows an exhilarating 1,260-m/4,133-ft run down. Four other lifts include Stairway to Heaven quad that accesses Feuz Bowl, former heli-ski terrain. Adult lift tickets and the Banff/Lake Louise Powder Express Ski Bus (1-877-565-9372) that includes a lift pass are both $90. New this year is a Pony family ski zone expansion, a Learning Centre for lessons and camps, and a childcare facility renovation. Eagle’s Eye Restaurant, with timber decor and great views, is Canada’s highest restaurant; ride the gondola to daily lunch (11 am-4 pm) and dinner Friday and Saturday (reserve). The resort boasts The Tube Zone and on-site lodging.
- Cross-country ski Dawn Mountain Nordic Centre’s 35 km/22 mi of groomed classic and skate trails; there’s a chalet. Golden Golf & Country Club has 6 km/4 mi of classic groomed trails. At Moonraker Trails, ski or snowshoe by Cedar Lake.
- Heli- and cat-ski companies, and backcountry lodges, offer wilderness powder bowl skiing, boarding and touring.
- Snowmobilers delight in 240 km/150 mi of groomed trails. Family-friendly West Bench Trail connects to Quartz Creek and Gorman Lake where advanced sledders tackle steep terrain. Rocky Mountain Riders (1-877-950-7533) offers backcountry tours (with a moonlight option), snowcat tours, snowmobile rentals and free transport from Lake Louise, Banff and Canmore. All gear and lunch/snacks are provided.
- Travel snow covered trails by dog sled on a tour with Golden Dogsled Adventures (1-250-272-6874).
- Ice fishers snag trout at backcountry lakes.
- Skate or play shinny at Golden Arena and play basketball, badminton and volleyball at Mount 7 Rec Plex (both 1-250-344-2271 ext 225); curl at Golden Curling Club (1-250-344-7457); climb and boulder at Dogtooth Climbing Gym (1-250-344-6444).
Highlights – Year-Round
- Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge, downtown, is North America’s longest freestanding timber-frame river crossing. Watch for free summer concerts and the farmers’ market Wednesdays and Saturdays at adjacent Spirit Square.
- Golden Museum & Archives (1-250-344-5169) interprets early days through exhibits on Swiss Guides, the first Sikh people, geographer David Thompson and Columbia River riverboats.
- Northern Lights Wildlife Wolf Centre promotes awareness and conservation. See (and photograph) nine resident wolves. Tours are offered year-round; the Walk with the Wolves photo tour is a favourite.
- The World’s Largest Paddle (1-888-244-7117), 26 km south of town, is proportionally correct, scaled up 13 times and stands over 60 feet.
Winter 2015/16 Events
Banff Mountain Film Festival screenings (Dec 11); Golden Farmers’ Market (Dec 19); Film Kicks: A Brilliant Young Mind (Jan 14), Timbuktu (Feb 4), Brooklyn (Mar 3); At Licking Horse Resort: Wrangle the Chute Freeride (Mar 25-27), Sun Splash Funk Fest (Apr 2-3).
- Alpine Rafting Kicking Horse River trips.
- Apostoles Greek Restaurant Authentic, award winning restaurant.
- Art Gallery of Golden Fine art and home-grown gifts.
- Auberge Kicking Horse Bed & Breakfast 3 comfy rooms with ensuites, outdoor Jacuzzi and free Wi-Fi.
- Big Bend Café Local history and flavours of Golden like pancakes, chorizo eggs Benedict and huevos rancheros.
- Cedar House Restaurant & Chalets Luxurious chalets with kitchens and hot tubs; 3-Diamond rated restaurant with scenic patio.
- Columbia Wetland Adventures Wildlife watching float tours.
- Eleven22 Restaurant Fresh Canadian and Asian cuisine with European flair.
- Glacier Raft Company Rafting on the Kicking Horse River.
- Go to Golden 222 things to do in Golden.
- Golden Golf Club 18-hole course beside the Columbia River with mountain backdrop, pro shop, lessons, driving range, practice bunker/green and RV park.
- Hydra River Guides Raft trips on the Kicking Horse River.
- Island Restaurant Asian and European twists on local favourites for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Peoples Drug Mart Prescriptions, travel products, post office, photo kiosk, cosmetics and giftware.
- Rockwater Bar & Grill Live music, pool tables and riverfront patio.
- The Taps Restaurant & Pub Great beer, food and live music, pool table and patios.
- Tourism Golden Information: Lodging, activities, restaurants, shops and more; vacation packages and itineraries.
- Travelodge Golden Kitchenette, family and Jacuzzi suites; indoor pool with waterslide, hot tub and sauna; free Wi-Fi and Continental breakfast.
- Wet N’ Wild Adventures Guided raft trips on Kicking Horse River; McLaren Lodge B&B; raft and stay packages.
- Whitetooth Bistro Award winning local fusion cuisine.
- The Wolf’s Den Rustic Mountain Restaurant Fresh, prepared-from-scratch dishes; unique burgers and Certified Angus steaks.