Kootenay National Park

Kootenay National Park is one of more than 40 national parks found within Canada's vast borders. More specifically located in the southeastern part of British Columbia, this 543-square-mile expanse helps to protect the divine landscapes of the southwestern Canadian Rockies. Three other national parks, including Banff National Park, also serve to protect the region, and they are all linked together. They are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites, due largely in part to their scenic beauty. Mountain peaks rise high into the sky in this part of the country, and should you venture down into the Rocky Mountain Trench, you can explore semi-arid grasslands and check out the cacti. There is a lot to take in on a trip to the Kootenay Rockies, as the landscape is diverse. There's also a lot to do when exploring these highlands, so you shouldn't have trouble keeping busy while you're taking it all in.

The Kootenay Rockies offer some of the best mountain scenery that you will find anywhere in the world. Lofty peaks dominate the skyline in this high altitude region, and should you venture into places such as Kootenay National Park for a closer look, you will encounter waterfalls, caves, canyons, and lakes, among other dazzling sights. The area is also known for its abundance of wildlife, in which case you might bring some binoculars along for the trip. Among the animals that you will find in the Kootenay Rockies are bighorn sheep, mountain goats, deer, elk, and moose. On the more predatory side of things, both black bears and grizzlies also populate the region. Naturalists at regional national parks such as Kootenay National Park are available to give wildlife viewing tips, and guided tours can be arranged for those who are interested.

If you are wondering what to do in Kootenay National Park, there are many options. Hiking along the short trail at picturesque Marble Canyon is among the most popular pursuits, as is catching a glimpse of the currents at Tokumm Creek. If you are up for some backcountry hiking, you might take the trail to Floe Lake to enjoy the stunning vistas. You can also enjoy the trails at Kaufman Lake if you are up for such endeavors. Multiple backpacking trails can be found within the borders of Kootenay National Park, and as you might imagine in a land as rugged as this, some of these trails are a bit strenuous.

When you're not hiking at Kootenay National Park, you can fill your time fishing, do some climbing, go horseback riding, or take a dip in the historic Radium Hot Springs Pools. The hot springs are open year round, and they can be found just outside of the park's southwest entrance in the town of Radium Hot Springs. The temperature in the pools ranges from approximately 95 degrees to 117 degrees Fahrenheit. Not far from the pools is Sinclair Canyon, which you will drive through if you are entering the area on BC Highway 93.

Cycling and mountain biking are just two more activities that you can add to your list of things to do in the Kootenay Rockies, and if you prefer taking things more slowly, you can always unwind over a relaxing picnic. There are many picnic sites along the creeks and rivers of Kootenay National Park. You can also find them at places such as Marble Canyon and Olive Lake. Some of the picnic sites have kitchen shelters, and regardless of which one you choose, the facilities will include tables, water, and outhouse toilets.

In addition to offering a healthy collection of picnic areas, Kootenay National Park provides its visitors with some tempting camping areas. There are four main campgrounds within the park's boundaries, and they include Redstreak, McLeod Meadows, Dolly Varden, and Marble Canyon. Redstreak is the largest and most complete campground between the four. It features fire pits, a garbage dump, flush toilets, and showers. There are 242 total sites at Redstreak, and 50 of them are full hookup sites for RV travelers. If you want to stay close to nature during your visit to Kootenay National Park, you can also consider booking a cabin. The Kootenay National Park cabins are cozy and most have fireplaces and cozy beds, and there are some that are equipped with kitchen facilities if you want to cook.

Kootenay National Park is open year round, though the same can not be said about the majority of the campgrounds. Most campgrounds are only open during the warmer months, though there is one that is available during the winter season. The peak season for the park overall is during the months of July and August. Regardless of when you choose to visit the area, you might start things off with a stop at the Kootenay National Park Visitor Centre. This center at 7556 Main Street East in Radium Hot Springs offers info on everything that the park has to offer. The general hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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