Kootenay National Park – from glaciers to orchids
In the southeast of the Canadian province of British Columbia is the Kootenay National Park. Due to its fascinating landscape and climatic contrasts, the Kootenay National Park with its area of 1,406 square kilometers is one of the largest nature reserves in the world and since 1984 a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the subalpine tundra to the densely forested valley of the Kootenay River to the hot valleys of the southern wilderness park, nature becomes easier with hiking trails of lesser degrees. A 30-minute tour through the melt-washed, picturesque gorge of the thundering Tokumm Creek Glacier River is particularly appealing. From the 94-kilometer-long highway, the Kootenay Parkway, you can already see some representatives of the wild wildlife such as ibex, deer, moose and mountain goats. But beware, these contemporaries also see the street as their home. Especially adventurous visitors, better not find the black bears, coyotes, and wolves living alone, but rather join a special wildlife tour with an experienced guide.
The Kootenay National Park an insider tip among nature lovers
The river Kootenay is the namesake of the Kootenay National Park. The name originates from a group of seven North American Indian tribes, the Kutenai (in Canada Kootenay).
Many overseas visitors focus on neighboring Banff National Park. The Kootenay National Park is still considered an insider tip among the Canadian National Parks. Kootenay shows a broad climate spectrum with a thunderstorm 28 degrees Celsius in July (hottest month) and a January, whose temperatures do not fall below minus 14 degrees Celsius. Behind the Rocky Mountains, in the Radium Hot Springs area, visitors will find dry grass and cactus overgrown slopes of the Columbia Valley. Here you can experience a summer with desert-like, dry temperatures. In winter, these slopes provide a wide, white landscape with beautiful cross-country trails, challenging downhill ski runs and fast-paced snowmobile trails. On the snowy, High mountains can be found in the snow in winter for winter sports. Popular months of travel are July and August, but you can visit the Kootenay National Park all year round.
Calgary (Alberta) – Starting point for exploring the Kootenay National Park
Travelers from Europe who want to visit the high-contrast Kootenay National Park (British Columbia) land at Calgary Airport in Alberta. Kootenay National Park is 170 kilometers from Calgary. With a rental car or bus shuttle, visitors can reach Golden in the Kicking Horse Valley in about three hours. Kicking Horse Valley is located in neighboring Yoho National Park, British Columbia.
Development and protection of the incredibly beautiful nature area
Parallel to the construction of the first road (Kootenay Parkway) through the Rocky Mountains in 1920, the insight came to protect this unique natural landscape with the founding of the Kootenay National Park. An interesting tourist attraction is the Paint Pots (nature pots). An iron-containing source liquefies a type of earth that contains numerous color pigments due to a natural mineral composition. The indigenous people have used this soil for dyeing fabrics and pots, as well as a valuable commodity. Even today, this earth is considered sacred and must not be taken as a souvenir by visitors.
Invigorating outdoor activities – hiking, rafting, camping, and fishing
Beneficial for the weary hiker is a dip in the hot springs of Radium Hot Springs. The largest campsite to be reached from the east side of Radium Hot Springs is the Redstreak Campground. A particularly beautiful four-hour hike is the Stanley Glacier Trail, which leads through a Douglas Fir and Colorado Fir tree valley to the jagged glacier landscape of Mount Stanley Glacier. The rough charm of the rebuilt Kootenay National Park is partly due to the forest fire in 1969. The remaining, black-burned tree trunks still characterize the landscape today.
Rafting on the Kootenay River is breathtaking and less dangerous than on some of the neighboring rivers. The highest but not the hardest climb to climb in this Rocky Mountain area is the Deltaform Mountain with its 3,424 meters. It was first climbed in 1903 by two Swiss mountain guides working in Canada.
Wild orchids grow around the tranquil Mc Leod Campground in the valley of the Kootenay River. Through the Kootenay National Park numerous, even family-friendly hiking trails lead. Some of them are among the most beautiful tours in the Rockies. However, travelers should protect themselves against possible mosquito nuisance by covering clothing and insect repellent.
Did you know that …
- Thousands of years ago, the area of today’s Kootenay National Park was identified as the original settlement area of “Ktunaxa” (Kootenay) and Kinbasket (Shuswap) “First Nations”?
- Kootenay National Park is one of five national parks that represents the Rocky Mountains National Region of Canada?
- the Kootenay National Park is the only national park that represents the western area of the Rocky Mountains?
- in the Kootenay National Park, the ridges range from 900 m up to 3400 m?
- the mountain goat is the symbol of wildlife in Kootenay National Park?
- Kootenay Parkway, Highway # 93, through which Kootenay National Park provides an excellent scenery and challenging terrain for cyclists?
- There is over 200 km of trails in Kootenay National Park, from short walks to full-day tours to overnight tours?
- 431 campsites in Kootenay National Park are available during the high season, with a selection of different services?