Last year, towards the end of August, my family and I took a trip to the interior of beautiful British Columbia. We stayed at a cabin just outside of Golden for about a week and explored many more areas such as Banff, Invermere and Yoho National Park. Here's a look at what we did.
After staying in Kamloops overnight, my mom, dad, brother, three aunts, uncle, grandma, family dog and I (we took multiple cars) woke up and did some quick shopping at Costco to make sure we had the food that we’d need for our trip (“quick” actually ended up being almost three hours, which honestly didn’t surprise me because—well, it’s Costco). I don’t have a photo of the back of our cars after the Costco trip, but trust me when I say we were barely able to fit everything—and everyone—inside.
We drove straight for about two-thirds of the trek from Kamloops to Golden, around 210 kilometres, briefly stopping in Revelstoke to grab Subway for lunch. After that, we made a detour into Glacier National Park to visit the Meeting of the Waters. It was a quick walk, easy enough for kids or seniors to do, and provided us with some great views of the crystalline water and the snow-capped mountains.
After spending around an hour at Glacier National Park, we drove the rest of the way into Golden. Since we got in around dinner time, we decided to spend the rest of the day preparing dinner (chicken and rice, simple stuff since we were all pretty tired), and checking out the cabin. The view from the cabin was unlike anything you could get in the city. We had an undisturbed view of the mountains, which we could enjoy from the comfort of a hammock. The air was crisp and clean, though the nights were slightly chilly.
Our plan for this day was to head into Yoho National Park and do a brief “scan” of the surrounding areas to see what we wanted to explore further. Even with the amount of time we spent in Yoho, there were so many other things that we didn’t have the chance to check out—so if you end up planning a trip to Golden, be sure to plan ahead and dedicate a good chunk of time towards exploring the national park.
Our first stop in Yoho was the Natural Bridge. This landmark was constructed naturally: the grooves in the bridge were formed by the powerful forces of Kicking Horse River. Arriving at the usual viewpoints for this spectacle took very little walking, as you can pretty much park right by the spot where the bridge is. This is definitely a spot to check out if you’re not into intense hikes!
The next destination was Emerald Lake. When we got there, around mid-afternoon, parking was pretty much all taken up, whether by hikers, sightseers or people who wanted to take a canoe out on the water. We ended up having to split up, with my mom, three aunts, uncle, and grandma walking around the lake and my dad and brother finding somewhere to park. After a bit of circling, like vultures in the sky, we nabbed a parking spot right near the boat rentals.
We walked the entire Emerald Lake loop, which was around five kilometres, stopping occasionally to take photos. My aunt’s dog, Mochi, enjoyed playing in the refreshing water —well, judging by this picture, I assume he did—while us humans got to take in the impressive views.
We ended up heading back to Emerald Lake, deciding that we would take a canoe out for a morning paddle. When I say that being out on that lake so early in the morning may have been the most calming and tranquil experience I’ve lived, I mean it! The sound of the paddles drifting in and out of the water was something that, had I not been helping paddle, would have probably put me to sleep. Even though it started off chilly, being out on the lake (and getting all that paddling in) warmed us up quickly.
There were only a couple of other people out while we were, so we were able to enjoy the stillness of the lake while surrounded by the majestic mountains. This was probably my favourite activity from this trip.
I also ended up getting to take my aunt’s paddleboard out for a little spin!
After our time out on the water, we headed over to Takakkaw Falls, which is also located within Yoho National Park. Getting to the falls only took a quick walk (around 1.5 kilometres), which was great for my grandma. We ate lunch with the soundtrack of the water falling in front of us.
On the fourth day, we passed over the provincial border and wandered into Alberta. After a later start than planned, as well as a few parking debacles, we made it up to the ever famous Lake Louise. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to do any walks, as we had planned on going to Banff right after—but we got to see the lake for the first time alongside with my grandma.
Another hour or two of driving brought us to Banff. We stopped for lunch (Beavertails, of course—my favourite is the cinnamon-sugar one) and did some souvenir shopping.
We headed to the Fairmont Hot Springs, where we discovered the secret pools supplied by a warm waterfall. Getting to these natural pools required a little bit of traversal over rocky terrain but was easy enough for young children to get past. We went past the parking lot and down a trail that led us to a thin layer of running water. Using some bigger rocks, we hopped over to the other side, then climbed up a couple of gentle inclines to get to the hot springs.
There were a few other people around the time we went, but there were enough pools for each of the groups there to be able to enjoy some privacy. One thing to keep in mind if you decide to visit the natural pools—the spots you’ll walk over to get to the pools from the dry spots will be slippery, so bring any kind of footwear that you think will help you properly navigate them. We did it in bare feet, but it wasn’t the most comfortable.
We went in the same direction as the previous day but headed to Invermere instead of towards the hot springs. While we did do a couple of short walks, my highlight from this day was trying a hydrobike.
Kinsmen Beach in Invermere is the only place I’ve seen (so far) that does hydrobike rentals, so when I initially saw the sign advertising them, I couldn’t help but indulge. While it was a little hard to get used to, it was a blast once I found my footing.
This was the first trip that my extended family took together since the Covid-19 pandemic, and I’m happy to say that it went so well! We ended up being able to do fun activities for everyone to enjoy, regardless of age or species (Mochi loved playing in the lakes and chasing birds around the cabin’s backyard). This trip helped strengthen my bonds with my family, as well as introduced me to the beauty of British Columbia.