As summer approaches, travelers are hitting the highways and planning the ultimate road trip. More than just a way to get from point A to point B, road trips let you get up-close and personal with the landscape, proving that the joy truly is in the journey. Undoubtedly, our favorite excursions are scenic treks through National Parks and world heritage sites like Canada’s Kootenay National Park.
As one of the world’s most unforgettable drives, Highway 93 cuts straight through the heart of the park. Entering through a narrow gorge and continuing on past canyons and jaw-dropping mountain scenery, this bucket list drive is part of the famed Powder Highway and a must for any visit to British Columbia. Here are a few things to enjoy on your epic road trip and some tips for your journey through Kootenay National Park:
Wildlife Abounds -- From grizzly bears to black bears, elk to bighorn sheep, the park brims with an abundance of wildlife. As with all the Canadian Rockies parks, animals roam freely and are frequently seen along the roadside. Keep your eyes peeled and a camera close by to capture a close encounter of your own.
Take a Hike -- Highway 93 has several stops along the route that provide easy access to short nature hikes. The Marble Canyon hike takes you to a 100-foot-deep, narrow slot canyon of white dolomite limestone alongside the thundering Tokumm Creek. The half-mile trek features a series of natural bridges crossing the gorge. Two miles to the south, the Paint Pots are a series of crayon-colored mud puddles that feature various hues of red and yellow created by the oxidizing minerals in the area’s natural springs.
High Point -- For a panoramic view of the landscape, head to the lookout point at Sinclair Pass.
Pass it Up? -- There is never a charge to drive through Kootenay. However, if you plan to stop and hike, you will need a park pass, available at the entrance stations.
Travel Midweek -- To avoid the crowds, consider visiting the park during the week rather than on the weekends, especially during the busy summer season.
Board the Bus -- One of the best ways to experience Kootenay is on a group travel tour, like YMT Vacations. Not only does a bus driver-guide give you the chance to gaze without the concern of steering the car off the mountain, but you’ll also enjoy the context these professionals can give to the wonders you are seeing.
Pack a Snack -- Kootenay Park Lodge is the only restaurant and general store. Feel free to stop for a mid-drive snack, or bring along portable snacks and drinks for the ride.
Some Like it Hot -- After a leisurely drive through Kootenay, you’ll encounter the famous Radium Hot Springs, odorless pools surrounded by natural rock walls that sit along the Continental Divide. Pull over for a relaxing way to end the day.
You can explore Kootenay National Park and a number of other travel highlights on YMT Vacations’ Canadian Rockies Tour. This 14-day itinerary takes you from Glacier National Park to Waterton National Park, across the Continental Divide to the Icefields Parkway. You’ll tour a glacier, stroll through beautiful Vancouver and see the Olympic Village of Whistler. To make your plans to join the journey, call your Travel Consultant or YMT Vacations at 1-888-756-9072.