A spectacular alpine destination in British Columbia's southeast corner, this stunning region of lakes, glaciers, jagged peaks, natural hot springs, and offbeat, charming towns might be BC's best-kept secret.
The Kootenay Rockies, lying along the western flanks of the Rocky Mountains, is home to four national parks as well as some of Canada's highest peaks, most scenic golf courses, and coolest ski resorts—which morph into hiking, mountain biking, and rafting playgrounds each summer.
Fernie, for example, an historic mining town of Victorian brick, surrounded by more than 2,500 acres of skiable slopes and bowls, was recently named one of Canada's best ski towns by Ski Canada Magazine.
Seven other Kootenay Rockies alpine resorts, including Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, near Golden, and Panorama Mountain Village, near Invermere, are highly ranked for runs, powder, and facilities, without the crowds. Come summer, the lift-accessed hiking and biking are second to none. Revelstoke Mountain Resort has the highest lift-accessed vertical in North America and is the only resort world-wide to offer lift-, heli and cat-skiing from one village base.
In this region of small towns, each community has its own flavour. Nelson, for example, set idyllically on the western arm of Kootenay Lake, is so rich with heritage buildings and cultural life it's been dubbed Canada's best small arts town.
Also, here is a wealth of natural hot springs. The self-drive Hot Springs Circle Route leads to seven different springs, from rustic to lavish.
The hot springs route follows Highways 93 and 95 along the Columbia River, past distinctive rock formations called hoodoos, and through landscapes rich in wildlife, including black bears, deer, elk, moose, mountain goats, and especially birds.
The Columbia River Wetlands, between Canal Flats and Donald (north of Golden), and the Creston Valley Wildlife Management area (near Creston) are home to more than 250 avian species, including ospreys and blue herons.
The Kootenay Rockies' many parks include Yoho National Park, home to the Burgess Shale, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famed for its Cambrian-aged fossils; Kootenay National Park, with its glacier-clad peaks; Mount Revelstoke National Park, where the Meadows in the Sky Parkway offers drive-in access to high altitude wildflower meadows; and Glacier National Park, where hiking trails climb through old-growth forest to sweeping alpine views.
For tailor made holidays to Canada contact the experts at Bon Voyage.
Where you stay is the heart of your holiday. Location reigns supreme but do you prefer resort facilities or unique and boutique? Historic and old world or modern and shiny?
We aim to present choices across the spectrum but there are many hundreds of places to stay and not room to feature them all. Do speak to your Bon Voyage travel consultant and click the video for our take on this important topic.
We would rate the Bellagio as one of the best hotels we have ever stayed in. Fabulous, glitzy, exciting. We loved having breakfast at the poolside café... one of our best experiences ever. If it hadn't been for you we wouldn't have had the suite or cabana and we loved them. We both agreed that the hotel was the best for us and you had suggested that so well done!Leonore & Mike Rumford