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Kootenay National Park

Most modest Rockies Park but still impressive

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As with Yoho, Kootenay National Park seems little more than a British Columbian extension of Banff National Park. Certainly, it’s the least famous of the Rockies parks, but there are plenty of worthwhile diversions along Hwy-93 between Banff and Radium Hot Springs – not least the hot springs themselves.

It might seem a bit uncharitable to boil the park down to a highway, but that’s exactly where the park’s origins lie. In 1910 a road-building project was started to link the Invermere area to Banff, but midway through BC’s money ran out forcing the province to cede 8km of land either side of the highway in return for national government funding. The land became a national park in 1920 and named after the Kootenai or Ktunaxa peoples who previously roamed here.

All Kootenay National Park’s many easy short hikes start off the highway – among the best are the Marble Canyon and Paint Pots trails.

Options for longer walks are more limited but include the good Stanley Glacier Trail and two day-hikes: the Kindersley Pass Trail and the Floe Lake Trail – which are both among the very best in the Rockies. The latter can be extended to include the Floe Lake Trail to Helmet Falls; a 55km loop that’s one of the very best multi-day hikes in the Rockies.


At A Glance

Price:
Adult day pass $10; annual pass to all Canadian National Parks $68; discounts for kids, seniors, families and groups.

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