The arrival of spring in BC’s interior is often characterized by the melting of the snow in the Columbia Valley and the budding of vibrant wildflowers in surrounding meadows. With increasingly warmer weather and more accessible trails, outdoor adventurers are keen to get outside. Whether you’re after an adrenaline-fuelled experience or are a nature lover who craves a more laidback time, there’s one mountain town that caters to all types of outdoor enthusiasts: Golden.
Featuring a plethora of new and upgraded attractions this spring and summer, here are five outdoor experiences you shouldn’t miss on your next adventure in Golden, BC:
River Walk in Downtown Golden
Newly opened in September 2021, the River Walk was born from a need to mitigate the risk of flooding. This project also transformed the downtown core and serves as a public space along the Kicking Horse River. Cycle, jog or meander along the wide path that now connects the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge with the Highway 95 driving bridge. Blending seamlessly into the Rotary Trail system, the new River Walk allows visitors to easily access the homey bakeries, laidback restaurants and artisan studios that line Golden’s downtown.
New Attractions at the Golden Skybridge
Pursuit | Chris Amat
Comprised of the Treetop Village play park, canyon spanning zipline, the Canyon Edge Challenge Course and Canada’s two highest suspension bridges in addition to other attractions, the Golden Skybridge is a family-friendly destination. With an expansion slated to be completed this summer, visitors will have plenty of upgraded and new attractions to look forward to.
The Treetop Village play park features tree forts, slides, mini suspension bridges and swings, and returning little adventurers will be delighted by an even bigger play space. The Canyon Edge challenge course, which welcomes its all-ages visitors to test their strength, will be expanding with new and more challenging courses. Besides an exhilarating canyon swing that sends passengers on a stomach-dropping free fall over the canyon edge, the Golden Skybridge will also be welcoming a yet-to-be-named mountain coaster.
Golden at the Heart of the Parks
Tourism Golden | credit Agathe Bernard
Enveloped by the forested paths, glacial lakes and snow-crusted peaks of six spectacular national parks, adventurers in Golden can also enjoy easy access to Yoho, Glacier, Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Mount Revelstoke National Parks.
As the winter snow melts, visitors can take advantage of Golden’s convenient setting and embark on longer trails that lead into the alpine. In Glacier National Park, approximately 58 kilometres northwest of Golden, the difficult Abbot Ridge trail is a seasonal favourite. Hike 13.6 kilometres while gaining 1,029 metres of elevation past Marion Lake towards a breathtaking panorama of the valley below. To the east, Yoho National Park’s famous Iceline Trail has multiple variations that can take up to two days to complete. With 20.8 kilometres and 710 metres of elevation gain, the trail offers a bit of everything: glacial moraines, thick forests, towering mountains and stunning waterfalls.
Whitewater Rafting the Mighty Kicking Horse River
As a premier rafting destination, riding the rapids of the Kicking Horse River is an unmissable activity for thrill-seekers in Golden. With three distinct sections—the upper, middle and lower canyons—the Kicking Horse River can accommodate both first-time rafters and experienced ones. For the ultimate adrenaline-filled adventure, indulge in the Glacier Raft Company’s Heli Rafting trip, which involves accessing the river’s lower canyon by helicopter. This section is best characterized by its intense stretch of class IV rapids. Rafters will paddle fiercely through the unruly terrain and ride the foamy white waters of all three sections.
Exploring Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
Tourism Golden | Sweeting
Though a vibrant hub for powder hounds in the wintertime, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is also a mecca for outdoor adventurers who crave a variety of active pursuits in the summer season. In addition to its gondola-access mountain top hiking trails, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is home to the Grizzly Bear Interpretive Centre, where guests can observe Boo the orphaned bear in his natural habitat.
Visitors can also enjoy a gondola ride to the 2,347-metre summit for panoramic views of the Columbia Valley and both the Rocky Mountain and Purcell Mountain Ranges. Eat lunch at the Eagle’s Eye Canada's Highest Restaurant with 360-degree mountain views. If you are looking for more adrenalin-filled adventure, climb the side of a cliff on one of their Via Ferrata protected climbing routes or get rolling on the resort’s 31 downhill mountain biking trails.