Exploring the Kootenay Rockies by RV – our tips and favorite activies!
We’re over HALFWAY through our summer trip! Unsurprisingly, the trip has totally FLOWN by, and we are in awe that the summer is halfway over.
This week, we had the privilege of exploring the East Kootenays – most notably, the towns/cities/villages of Fernie, Cranbrook, Kimberley, Windermere, Invermere, Radium, and Golden. While the options for this are are truly endless, we found some true gems and we want to share them with you! We will mention the cities in the order we visited them, but if you’re only hitting one or two, no worries – skip to those cities for our suggestions!
- Fernie: This small town mountain paradise is a HAVEN for mountain biking, and they have tracks for every level! If you’ve ever wanted to try out this sometimes impenetrably hard-core sport, Fernie would be the place. Head over to Gearhub Sports and grab your rental gear, and hit the trails! If you’re looking for a more “ahhhh” then “AHHHHHHH!” experience, head up to the Island Lake Lodge. In the winter, this is an all-inclusive cat skiing resort. In the summer, it is a peaceful, rustic, elegant mountain retreat with full-service spa. I tried the Cedar Retreat package, and OH MY GOSH – it was incredible. Any spa service includes use of their outdoor hot tub with spectacular views. To overnight, Fernie RV Resort has a great location and excellent amenities!
- Cranbrook: The Cranbrook community forest is a great place to burn off a bit of energy – lots of pines, wildflowers, and well-marked trails make this an easy place to head out for a relaxing stroll, or a quick jaunt up to one of the local hills! Cranbrook has everything and anything you could possibly need – so while you’re here, stock up on necessities. For the nighttime, we will always prefer a Provincial Park, so try out Jimsmith Lake! If you’re just looking for a place to park for the night, try out the Home Hardware – they welcome RVs overnight for free!
- Kimberley: Kimberley is a gorgeous, quirky little town with a truly Bavarian feel. Hit up any of their local businesses – there are many in the downtown Platzl– and chat with the locals – they LOVE their town, and it shows! We had dinner in Kimberley at The Old Bauernhaus Restaurant – a Bavarian restaurant operating out of a 400 year old barnhouse imported from Germany! The Bavarian feast, a 4 course meal, comes with local and internationally inspired dishes, all with amazing presentation and attention to detail. This is truly an occasion – dress up, and make a night of it!
- Radium Hot Springs: These hot springs are LARGE, and their cool pool features a slide and diving board – Norman and I spent a truly awesome evening here. Surrounded by the mountains, it would be hard to be disappointed by a relaxing soak! The hot springs lay at the gateway to Kootenay National Park – even if you’re not traveling that direction, we’d recommend journeying in for 10-15 minutes, to one of the many lookouts. The red rock, blue sky, turquoise river, and green forests really are a Technicolor feast for the eyes!
- Golden: Golden itself is a great small town, with a cool downtown core. While here, we booked a tour called the “Paddle and Paw” with Banff Adventures – the package includes a half-day whitewater rafting trip on the Kicking Horse River, a BBQ lunch, and a gondola pass to the top of the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. The top of the Gondola offers 360 degree views of the picturesque mountains, as well as hiking trails, and a lodge-style restaurant with spectacular views. We were lucky enough to be in the restaurant when a thunderstorm arrived, so while the gondola wasn’t operating (for safety reasons), we watched the crazy mountain weather through the panoramic windows, all with a fireplace at our backs. To camp, try out Whispering Spruce Campground, or head up to Cedar Lake Campground – for $12 a night, it’s hard to beat the price!
This area truly has EVERYTHING you could want – great shopping, excellent views, adrenaline tours, relaxing and pampering packages… it’s not hard to see why the people who are lucky enough to live here are proud to