Right near the Banff/ Kootenay border is where the Continental divide sits, the boundary line for where water runs east into the Carribean/ Atlantic and West into the Pacific ocean. A large roadside marker marks the spot. This is also the dividing line between Alberta and British Columbia.
After departing Invermere, we followed Highway 95 to the small village of Radium Hot springs. The village is named this, and there are popular thermal springs here to!
Radium Hot Springs are odourless as much of the gas has dissipated before it emerges at the outlet at the Springs. The water is 44deg C at the source, then is chlorinated and enters the hot pool at 39deg C.
At 39deg C, the soaking pool is meant to ease sore muscles and relax the mind, body and spirit, however, much too hot for me!
The cooler pool, at 29deg C was much better!
There are hot pools and cool pools.
The Radium Hot Springs are open year-round, with last admission being a 1/2 hour before closing.
The actual Springs are located 3 km from the village of Radium Hot Springs.
Locker rooms, showers, bathing suits, towels and massages and a cafeteria are available.
HOT POOL .....
May 21, 2010 - October 11, 2011... Daily....9:00 am - 11:00 pm
October 12, 2010 - May 19, 2011
Sunday - Thursday.... Noon - 9:00 pm
Friday & Saturday.... Noon - 10:00 pm
National Park Entry fees do not have to be paid while visiting Radium Hot Spring.
The Kootenay National Park Information Centre: 3 km from Radium at the Radium Hot Springs Pools, has park information, maps, brochures, passes, permits and a gift shop.
Numa Falls, and another wow! when we saw the amount of water rushing down and over the falls, sure was impressive!
The falls, formed by the Vermilion River, are a short walk from the parking lot, where there are picnic tables. It is a lovely place to stop for a tea break.
The old bridge gives the best view of the falls and Vermilion Canyon below.
These are only a very short walk from the roadside, so make sure you stop for a look.
WOW! Sinclair Canyon, this was impressive!
The actual highway were were travelling on, passed through a narrow opening between extremely high cliffs, this is called Sinclair canyon.
Once through this area, we could pull off the road, DO THIS as it is a chance to get out and have a look, plus get some pretty amazing photo's!
The Chasm is about 10kms long, and very narrow.
Located 1.5kms from Radium Hot springs.
Kootenay Valley Viewpoint, located 16 km from Radium, Hot springs is another place you "Must stop."
The views are wonderful, lots of fir trees, which would be beautiful in Autumn, and the snow capped Mountain Peaks of the Mitchell and Vermilion mountain ranges.............
Only a short distance further on from Sinclair Canyon was another stop, this was at the Iron Gates parking area to take a photo of the stunning Red cliffs. The Cliffs have been stained by Iron oxides contained in the mineral waters that have bubbled to the surface here over millions of years. The cliffs lie in the fracture which is known as the "Redwall fault."
Around this area, Bighorn sheep are often seen, so keep the eyes peeled, although often, they are on the roads edge.
This trail is less than 1 kilometre each way. The trail goes over a deep (up to 40 metre) deep narrow gorge.
Every time we drive down Highway 93, we do hike the Marble Canyon trail. It is very scenic, and not a difficult hike and well worth trying out.
If we have more time, we also hike the Paint Pots a little further down the highway.
Sorry that I have no pictures. Last time we were there, it was 35mm film, and I have not located my pictures yet.
We followed the trail only a short way to stretch our legs after a long day in the car. If you follow the trail long enough you will reach Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park which is unusual because the park can only be accessed by foot or by helicopter.
A great overlook taking in the Kootenay Valley and several massifs. The large mountain across the gorge is a well-known mountain goat haunt. We were advised to train our binoculars on the area just above the tree line and searcg for moving white dots. Not an easy trick. At this distance any boulder looks like a moving white dot due to the undteady hands holdng the binoculars. My advice is to be patient and eventually a mounatin goat will reach the lower elevations and cross your path. (See my Jasper page which will be built shortly).
This is it. The big falls at the top of the canyon. Roaring water deafens the area and a fine mist slickens the the rocky trails. I almost took a mighty spill and succeeded in wrenching my back catching my footing, but no lasting damage.
I love how the camera was able to freeze an instant of time from this continually gushing wall of water.
The road from Vermillion crossing to the village of Radium Hot Springs is 95 kilometers (about 60 miles) one way. And Vermilion Crossing is a good 60 or so kilometers from Banff. If you want to do Kootenay in one day, I strongly suggest an early start because stopping to see all these worthwhile places will easily be a ten to twelve hour day. But well worth it, don't you agree. I felt our day in Kootenay was one of the best that we spent in the Canadian Rockies.
Since Kootenay just has the one road, you must retrace your route or face an extra hundred miles by taking Highway 95 up to Yoho. That would be a fine option, but we had already seen Yoho a few days previous. So we went back the way we came, which isn't all that bad. By the time we reached Vermilion Crossing and were heading back to Banff the sky had once again clouded over, giving a totally new look to the peaks of Kootenay.
It is an interesting walk through a recently burned forest. There were fires in Mount Shanks area in 1991, 1994 and 2002. Flames can flare fifty meters into the sky during a burn. But new life returns to the area immediately. These woods just brimmed with wildflowers.
A ubiquitous alpine lake. Nice enough, but nothing too special as compared to some of the real beauties in Banff, Jasper and Yoho. The most interesting aspect of Olive Lake was the dire bear warnings that stated that black bears had been enjoying this picnic spot with the same regularity as people in the past few weeks. Unfortunately, the bears did not show as we took a brief stroll to the opposite bank of the lake.
The most redeeming thing about the Hot Springs area was this hillside resplendent with bright happy daisies. Maybe I'm a grouch, but for the life of me I cannot fathom laying out ten bucks for a chance to rent a swimsuit (ick) and frolick in the cool pool with eight year old screaming ragamuffins or soak in the hot pool with eighty year old ninnies. Not that I'm against young people or old people, I just don't like 'em much.