Wow. What an incredible adventure.
I have never been somewhere that holds quite so much beauty, not only in the scenery but also in the people.
Canada has always been up there within the top places I’d love to visit and explore so when the British Columbian Tourism board got in touch with myself and Mollie – we jumped at the opportunity to work with them.
British Columbia is the westernmost province in Canada, it’s defined by its magnificent mountain ranges and Pacific coastlines. With the cities and small towns set on the doorsteps of the wild and the surroundings offering endless possibilities to delve into pure nature, it’s a recipe for an unforgettable adventure.
We were asked to adventure to The Kootenay region which is situated within the southeastern part of British Columbia. Our trip took us on the Hot Springs Circle Route through the Kootenay Mountains and exploring the beautiful towns that British Columbia has to offer.
*This blog post was hosted by Destination Canada and supported by Destination British Columbia. We were sent out to shoot and share this Itinerary with you. All Photographs and opinions are completely my own.
DAY 1: Arriving into the Kootenay Mountains
We set off from London Gatwick, cameras in hand and headed for the Mountains! After a super easy 9 hour flight, we arrived into Calgary airport in the late afternoon and headed for the first destination on our trip: Radium Hot Springs
TIP: For a Sim Card we purchased one at a shopping mall for $52.50 (£30.85) for 5G of LTE internet. It lasted us for the whole trip with some left over!
The mountains shall bring peace to the people…
After a 3 hour drive through Banff National Park, we arrived in the evening to the lovely town of Radium a sign that wrote ‘The Mountains shall bring peace to the people’ welcomed us.
We checked into our accommodation Bighorn Meadow Resort
What a beautiful spot. The resort is great for Golf lovers, but if you’re just like me and Mollie and love anywhere with a mountain view and a comfy bed – this place is perfect. We went to check out the first of the Hot Springs on our route – Radium Hot Springs…
Located in the heart of the Columbia Valley, the mineral water Radium Hot Springs pool is a beautiful spot to take in the surroundings and relax after a day of travelling. It has a large hot pool, a plunge pool and a 25 meter cooler swimming pool!
Day 2: Fairmont Hot Springs and Kimberley
The first mission this morning was coffee! We headed 15 minutes down the road to Kicking Horse Cafe – AMAZING coffee and juices! If you’re a fan of fresh coffee specifically designed to your taste buds then this is your place. Be sure to pick up a Stoke Juice, the best I’ve ever tasted!
After fuelling up and getting some extra energy for a day of adventure, we headed 10 minutes further down the road to Fairmont Hot Springs Resort where we set off for a kayak adventure on the Kayak River Float Tour! The Fairmont Hot Springs Resort has an activity centre attached for guests and non-guests, so it’s a great place to head if you’re looking for a little more thrill to your trip!
We went on the tour with two lovely guides who told us lots about the area. The river was flowing fast so we were able to pick up some speed as we went on a 1.5hour kayak down the river between the Rockies and the Purcell mountain range.
After a morning of adventure, we were ready for some lunch at the resort’s restaurant Bear’s Paw and Grill followed by a soak in the Fairmont Hot Springs.
Next stop was an hours drive to Kimberley – a beautiful town with local shops, boutiques and independently owned restaurants and cafes. After exploring the Platzl (located in Kimberley downtown) we headed for a pre-dinner drink at The Shed followed by a super tasty dinner at Pedal & Tap.
TIP: Head to Kimberley Centex Market if you are looking for a grocery shop, I promise this is the best Gas Station and Grocery Shop you will ever visit. Full of all the healthy foods and Stoke Juices!
Day 3: Marysville Falls, Kootenay Lake and arriving at Nelson
An early start today meant a Coffee at Kimberley City Bakery. This is a super lovely local cafe – the pastries here are amazing! After a 10 minute drive out of Kimberley, you can find yourself at this beautiful waterfall, Marysville Falls.
After taking some photographs at the waterfall, we headed onto Cranbrook where we stopped for a coffee at Soulfood. A perfect spot for some coffee or drink – Soulfood is co-operatively owned farm to table wholefoods restaurant in beautiful and modern wood and brick building. Everything they serve is organic, super fresh and local!
Not far from Cranbrook is another town called Creston where you can stop for lunch at Caseys Community House.
Heading out of Creston you are taken on a beautiful scenic drive along Kootenay Lake towards Nelson. We couldn’t believe the views we were witnessing. Imagine a 400 km² lake, backdropped with the Selkirk and Purcell Mountains and an endless winding road that follows alongside the river edge… that’s Kootenay Lake. We stopped at Lockhart Beach for a swim and headed onto Crawford Bay to explore the Artisans.
We headed towards the ferry terminal – you can grab a warm drink in The Cabin whilst you wait! We then boarded the free 35 minute ferry across the lake. A short drive from the ferry port and you arrive in the beautiful town of Nelson. It’s full of character, adventure and situated on West Arm of Kootenay Lake amongst the Selkirk Mountains. We checked into the wonderful Hume Hotel and had a shower before heading out to experience some of the local breweries and have some dinner!
The first stop was the Nelson Brewing company for a brewery tour and tasting experience – we had a flight of four so we could taste the difference between them all.
Other Brewery options in Nelson: Backroads Brewing Company and Torchlight Brewing Company
We had dinner at Cantina Del Centro – super tasty Tacos and cocktails!
Day 4: Zipline, Ainsworth Hot Springs, Fletcher Falls and arriving in Kaslo
We spent the morning exploring Nelson and heading for a coffee at Oso Negro – insane coffee and a lovely shop to have a look around in. Make sure you head down to the waterfront for some lovely views of Nelson Bridge and Kootenay Lake.
If you’re up for some adrenaline, head 30 mins to Kokanee Mountain Zipline. Oh my, what a morning. 1. 5 hours of pure fun with 6 zip lines which situate high up within the forest canopy and Kokanee Creek Provincial Park Canyon. One of the zip lines you can even go upside down!
After feeling super awake from a morning of Ziplining, we headed for Ainsworth Hot Springs and soaked in the beautiful warm waters. These Hot Springs are accompanied with mountain views, a view that I wish I could experience every day. They also have a dark cave which you can swim/walkthrough. Before setting off for Fletcher Falls we indulged in a super delicious salad for lunch!
Fletcher Falls was one of the nicest waterfalls I’ve seen – situated 10 minutes walk from where you can park, it’s within a beautiful forest on the water’s edge. If you head down to the waterfront, there’s a lovely place to have a picnic and even camp! The waterfall itself you can view from above or head along the boardwalk along the bottom where you can walk to the foot of the waterfall.
After shooting at the Falls and exploring around the lake we headed for Kaslo. Our accommodation for this evening was The Sentinel – a lakeside retreat and wellness centre and the most peaceful place I have ever stayed. It has lake view rooms, sauna, jacuzzi, Maloca, meditation huts, living area, communal kitchen, all of which are situated amongst the huge cedar trees.
We checked into our room and had a moment to just take in our surroundings and the beautiful location we were in. All we could hear from our room was the sound of the water, and that really was it. Pure magic.
After soaking in the hot tub (in the rain – which was actually amazing!) We headed out to explore the town of Kaslo and have dinner at Blue Bells. The town is pretty small but absolutely beautiful! In the summer they host the famous Jazz Festival which I imagine is absolutely amazing – apparently, it’s a floating stage and you watch the artists whilst you swim, lay within boats or admire from the shoreline!
Other food option: there are two other really popular restaurants: Taqueria El Corazon and Angry Hen Brewing co.
Day 5: Nakusp, Halcyon Hot Springs and arriving in Revelstoke
The lovely host at The Sentinel made us a beautiful Homemade breakfast with local food, including peanut butter and homemade jams. After being fuelled up we drove 1 hour through magical treelined roads to arrive at New Denver. After exploring the town we headed to Nakusp where we stopped for a coffee and a walk along the Nakusp Waterfront Walkway.
After stretching our legs we headed on towards Halfway Hot Springs. These Hot Springs are more of a natural Hot Springs compared to the Resort ones. Well worth a visit if you have time! They are situated 30 minutes drive on a newly re-built gravel road followed by a 15 min downhill walk into a forest.
There are 4 Hot Springs to chose from, all with different temperatures. One of the Hot Springs is actually in the river and is considered the ‘natural one’ as there isn’t a built-up section around it so you get cool flowing river water and then warm flowing Hot Spring water!
We then headed onto Halcyon Hot Springs and indulged in some food from their restaurant The Kingfisher. Well worth a visit to either stay or enjoy the facilities for the day as a guest. The restaurant and the Hot Springs are wonderful and would be enjoyed by any age!
The last part of todays drive was to Galena Bay Ferry where we took another free ferry across the lake and onto Revelstoke. Revelstoke was one of my favourite towns, it was one of the larger ones we visited, the views were something else and the town was amazing to walk around day and night.
We stayed in the magical Revelstoke Mountain Resort – one of the comfiest beds I have ever stayed in. From the balcony, you get an epic view of the mountains. After checking in we headed to Mr Jones Distrillery. If you know me, you know that my favourite alcoholic drink is Gin. I love Gin. This distillery is fairly new and it was super interesting to talk to the lady who was the main distiller there. There’s a tour you can do for $118 which allows you to create your own gin from different botanicals! At the end of the tour, you take home your own gin away in a bottle!
We headed to Chubby Funsters for dinner and watched the basketball match whilst having Poutine (a local delicacy made up of chips, gravy and cheese!)
Day 6: Exploring Revelstoke and heading to Golden
From the resort, there is a Gondola that you can take up to have a breakfast buffet at Revelation Lodge with mountain views and a walk along the top. After having some breakfast we decided to take the Pipe Mountain Coaster back down! It was SO much faster than I thought it would be but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
We spent the morning exploring the Saturday market at Grizzly Plaza – a lovely market of homemade crafts and food – definitely worth checking out if you happen to be in Revelstoke on a Saturday. We grabbed a coffee from the amazing Dose Coffee.
After checking out and starting the drive towards Golden. We stopped off at Giant Cedar Boardwalk for a short but beautiful stroll through the National Park. It’s beautiful on both a sunny and rainy day.
The drive to Golden is magical – you drive through the Glacier National Park where there are loads of places to stop, explore or have a picnic! We decided to wait until Golden to eat where we had an amazing lunch at Island Restaurant. We then drove part way up the mountain to our last accommodation of the trip. One of my favourite!
Introducing the wonderful Lush Accommodations at the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.
For an evening in Golden, we headed to Whitetooth Brewing Company to taste some local beers – I prefer the lighter Ales so we got a flight of four and did our own little tasting session.
We then headed for dinner at Eleven22 – it’s a converted house that has been made into a restaurant. I had a super tasty Moroccan Vegetable Stew whilst Mols had a Fish Platter.
We drove up the mountain for sunset at the Mount 7 launch site – a popular place for Hanggliders and Paragliders! We didn’t have a 4×4 and would usually recommend a 4×4 for this drive as the conditions can get quite rough at the top! Totally depends what time of year. It was June for us so there was only a little bit of snow at the top! There are usually other people heading up there so you could always hitch a ride with a local!
As we were heading up we saw the most beautiful natural thing I think I’ve ever witnessed – A black bear and her two baby cubs! We stopped far enough away not to disturb them but managed to get some images! Truely magical.
At the top of the mountain there’s a really cool view of the RedBull Mountain Bike trail and the paragliding and hang gliding launch pad. If you look up to the left you can see the peak of Mount 7, which we got told you can actually hike too from where we were standing!
Day 7: Boo the Grizzly Bear and Emerald Lake
This morning we took the Gondola up the mountain from the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort to go and see Boo the Grizzly Bear. Boo was born in the wild, not in captivity but tragically his mother was shot and killed by poachers in 2002. At 5 months of age, Boo was left orphaned and defenceless, he was going to be euthanized but instead was given a second lease of life and a new home at the built Refuge, just for him. Because of Boo, the refuge has been able to learn so much more about Grizzly Bears and what we can do to help keep them from becoming extinct.
After visiting Boo, we headed back down the Gondola and had a coffee at Double Black Cafe before heading onto Emerald Lake.
If you have the option and time to drive to Emerald Lake, it is a must. It’s a little more touristy than the other spots we had visited as it’s more well known. But wow, it is absolutely beautiful. Emerald Lake was on our route back to Calgary Airport so we made the time to stop off and enjoy the last bit of the mountains before heading back to London.
If you are lucky enough to be heading to British Columbia, Canada, you will have the most INSANE time, if it’s on your list of places to visit or you are thinking about it – Get yourself there.
It’s by far one of my favourite places I have ever visited and it has been an absolute trip to remember. I will definitely be back to explore more of this amazing and beautiful country and I cannot wait.
Until next time, Canada <3
Bullet point of places to see in order:
Radium Hot Springs
Fairmont Hot Springs
Kayak River Float Tour at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort
Kokanee Mountain Zipline
Ainsworth Hot Springs
Halfway Hot Springs
Halcyon Hot Springs
Pipe Mountain Coaster
Giant Cedar Boardwalk
Mount 7 mountain (launch site)
Boo the Grizzly