Kootenay National Park
The Kootenay National Park is located in the southeast of the Canadian province of British Columbia. Due to its fascinating scenic and climatic contrasts, the Kootenay National Park with an area of 1,406 square kilometers is one of the largest nature reserves in the world and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984. From the subalpine tundra over the densely forested valley of the Kootenay River to the hot lowlands of the southern wilderness park, nature becomes an experience on hiking trails of lighter degrees. A thirty-minute tour through the picturesque gorge of the roaring glacial river Tokumm Creek, washed out by the meltwater, is particularly delightful. From the 94 kilometer long highway, the Kootenay Parkway, you can already observe some representatives of the wild fauna such as ibex, deer, elk and mountain goats. But be careful, these contemporaries also see the street as their home. Especially adventurous visitors shouldn’t find the reclusive black bears, coyotes and wolves themselves, but rather join a special wildlife tour with an experienced guide.
The Kootenay National Park is an insider tip among nature lovers
The Kootenay River is the namesake of the Kootenay National Park. The name origin goes back to a group of seven North American Indian tribes, the Kutenai (in Canada Kootenay).
Many overseas visitors focus on the neighboring well-known Banff National Park. The Kootenay National Park has so far been considered an insider tip among the Canadian national parks. Kootenay has a wide range of climates with a thunderstorm of 28 degrees Celsius in July (the hottest month) and January, when temperatures do not drop below minus 14 degrees Celsius. Behind the Rocky Mountains, in the area around Radium Hot Springs, the visitor will find the slopes of the Columbia Valley overgrown with dry grass and cacti. Here one experiences a summer with desert-like, dry temperatures. In winter, these slopes create a wide, white landscape with wonderful cross-country skiing trails, challenging downhill slopes and fast-paced snowmobile trails. On the snowy, In high mountains you can find enough snow for winter sports right into the summer. Popular travel months are July and August, but Kootenay National Park can be visited all year round.
Calgary, Alberta – Starting point for exploring Kootenay National Park
Travelers from Europe who want to visit the contrasting Kootenay National Park (British Columbia) land at the airport of Calgary in the province of Alberta. Kootenay National Park is 170 kilometers from Calgary. With a rental vehicle or a bus shuttle, visitors can get to Golden in the Kicking Horse Valley in around three hours. The Kicking Horse Valley is located in neighboring Yoho National Park, British Columbia.
Development and protection of the incredibly beautiful nature area
Parallel to the construction of the first road (Kootenay Parkway) through the Rocky Mountains, the insight arose in 1920 that this unique natural landscape had to be protected with the establishment of the Kootenay National Park. An interesting tourist attraction are the paint pots (paint pots of nature). An iron-containing source liquefies a type of earth that contains numerous color pigments due to a natural mineral composition. The indigenous people used this earth for dyeing fabrics and pots, and as a valuable commodity. Even today this earth is considered sacred and must not be taken away by visitors as a souvenir.
Invigorating outdoor activities – hiking, rafting, camping and fishing
A bath in the hot springs of Radium Hot Springs is beneficial for the weary hiker. The largest campground accessible from the east side of Radium Hot Springs is the Redstreak Campground. A particularly beautiful four-hour hiking tour is the Stanley Glacier Trail, which leads through a valley wooded with Douglas firs and Colorado firs to the rugged glacier landscape of Mount Stanley Glacier. The raw charm of the regenerated Kootenay National Park goes back in part to the forest fire in 1969. The remaining, black burned tree trunks still shape the landscape today.
Rafting on the Kootenay River is scenic and less dangerous than some of the rivers in the neighboring regions. The highest, but not the most difficult mountain to climb in this Rocky Mountain area is Deltaform Mountain with its 3,424 meters. It was climbed for the first time in 1903 by two Swiss mountain guides who were on duty in Canada.
Wild orchids grow in the vicinity of the peaceful Mc Leod Campground in the valley of the Kootenay River. There are numerous family-friendly hiking trails through the Kootenay National Park. Some of them are among the most beautiful tours in the Rockies. However, travelers should protect themselves against possible nuisance from mosquitoes with covering clothing and insect repellent.
Did you know that …
- Thousands of years ago, the area of today’s Kootenay National Park, was identified as the original settlement area of the “Ktunaxa” (Kootenay) and Kinbasket (Shuswap) “First Nations”?
- the Kootenay National Park is one of five national parks that represent the “Rocky Mountains National Region of Canada”?
- the Kootenay National Park is the only national park that represents the western part of the Rocky Mountains?
- in the Kootenay National Park the mountain ranges range from 900 m to 3400 m?
- the mountain goat is the symbol of the wild life in Kootenay National Park?
- the Kootenay Parkway, Highway # 93, through the Kootenay National Park offers an excellent backdrop and challenging terrain for cyclists?
- there are over 200 km of hiking trails in Kootenay National Park, from short walks to full-day tours to tours with overnight stays?
- 431 campsites in Kootenay National Park are available during the high season, with a choice of different services?