Life is about more than getting from A to B as quickly as possible. Should you find yourself travelling across Canada or from Banff to Vancouver, you’ll likely be travelling through Golden. There are so many fun, outdoorsy and family friendly things to do in Golden BC, it’s worth the stop.
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Things to do in Golden BC
If you’re on a road trip along the Trans-Canada Highway, you’ve likely seen signs encouraging you to pull over and experience all that Golden has to offer. Follow these signs! Here, you’ll find awesome outdoor adventure, warm lakes for swimming and a wildlife refuge. Here’s a road map for all the fun things to do in Golden BC.
This highly anticipated attraction lives up to its hype or should I say height? Golden Skybridge refers to two impressive bridges which are the highest in suspension bridges Canada.
Yes, they do gently sway as you make your way across, but you’ll be so focused on the panoramic mountain views that you’ll forget you’re slightly freaked out. Just don’t look down. Or rather DO look down so you can take in sweeping views of the canyon and a 200 ft waterfall.
It’s reason enough to visit Golden, but if you’re traveling along the Trans-Canada Highway, know it’s a worthy stop that can take as little as 30-minutes out of your schedule. (Though you’ll probably end up staying longer because you want to.)
And if you have kids, budget extra time for the Treetop Play Park. There’s mini treehouses to explore, lots of slides, swings and even a ropes course.
If you need lunch or a snack, Village Grill is on site and there’s plenty of outdoor picnic tables.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
We based ourselves at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and I’m glad we did because there was just so much to do without having to drive anywhere.
Grizzly Bear Refuge
If you’ve never come face to face with a grizzly, you’ll want to visit Boo. His mama bear was shot by a hunter in 2002 when Boo was a babe, just a few months out of the den.
Bear cubs have a 50% chance of survival and that drops down 5% without their mothers. Remarkably Boo and his brother survived and Kicking Horse built the world’s largest bear enclosure for them. (Sadly Boo’s brother died of natural causes.)
It’s such a rare experience to watch a grizzly roam around their habitat, and you’ll learn a lot about bears from guides, too. Boo has 20-acres that he calls home, but he frequents particular spots at certain times of day. You’ll want to head to the Grizzly Bear Interpretive Centre first thing in the morning for your best chance of a sighting.
*Check out this AWESOME video of Boo scratching his back. You’ll be amazed at just how long his claws are. I had no idea…
Essentially Via Feratta is an assisted mountaineering course. You scale the side of a mountain, grabbing hold of metal rungs drilled into the rock face. The exposure is real, but the risk is eliminated because the entire time you’re clipped into a cable wire via your harness and carabiners.
There are many courses you take, but we opted for the Discovery Route that has a fun, one plank suspension bridge along it. Why you’d want to do a Via Feratta at Kicking Horse vs other mountains is the views.
Where else in the world can you see the peaks from 5 different national parks from one spot? Taking in the Rocky Mountain Trench from high above is also a highlight. This trench separates the Rocky Mountains from the Columbia and Purcell Mountain ranges and can also be seen from space! Also cool is peering at Wapta Icefields, which feeds Takakkaw Falls, the second tallest waterfall in Canada.
Dine in the clouds
Cap off your visit to Kicking Horse by dining at Canada’s most elevated restaurant – Eagle’s Eye. My daughter quickly polished off a loaded burger, while I felt quite virtuous and satisfied with my quinoa salad.
Situated at the summit, near the gondola, you can commune with nature on the patio or head indoors to peer at the peaks through massive windows.
The beauty of Golden is that its lakes aren’t hella freezing like they tend to be in Banff National Park. It can get plenty hot in the Kootenays and when it does, you’ll want to cool off. Fast.
You’ll find Cedar Lake on the way to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. It’s a magical little spot with a dock to plunge off of and not too cold water. Find more lake suggestions here.
Where to eat in Golden
Try to get to Eleven22 from 5-6pm for their 3 course dinner special. Arriving early also gives you a better shot at snagging a coveted seat on the patio. I find myself frequently complaining about wait staff in resort towns, but not here!
Upstairs amid the 2nd hand books, you can munch on sandwiches, muffins, cookies, soup, coffee and teas and one excellent glory bowl. We return to this spot each time we’re in Golden.
Despite being short staffed when we visited (thanks, CERB!) we received excellent service and had even better food. A duck leg may have been quickly devoured. We may have regretted not adding a second duck leg as a side (which you can do!).
No matter, my steelhead trout was perfectly cooked (so many places overcook fish, but not here) and the sauce (kicking myself for forgetting what it was) was mopped off the plate. I sincerely hope the same kitchen staff is working the next time I visit.
Where to stay in Golden
I wasn’t sure what to expect when booking into Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, but a friend reassured me guest rooms on mountain were really nice. She was right.
We adored our multi-room suite at Glacier Mountaineer Lodge that was kitted out with lots of hardwood and cozy areas to curl up in – check out that breakfast nook below. Each bedroom had splendid mountain views, but we spent most of our time gazing at the Purcell range from our living rom balcony.
Despite visiting during a heat wave, we stayed totally cool thanks to the refreshing mountain air.
As much as you make like to fly across the Trans-Canada Highway, try to remember that the journey is just as important as the destination. Golden is lovely mountain town in its own right and well worth the stop.