Tucked away in the southeast corner of British Columba, the East Kootenays offer all the incredible outdoor adventure opportunities that the province is famous for. Hiking and biking trails wind up towering mountains, old logging roads extend deep into the woods, shimmering creeks hold hidden pools full of trout, game animals such as deer and elk roam in abundance and secluded campsites offer the chance to really get away from it all. And once the snow falls, the area turns into a virtual playground for snowmobilers, downhill skiers and snowboarders, snowshoers and cross-country skiers.
A relaxed, down-to-earth atmosphere and an omnipresent thirst for adventure define this unique part of BC. And the latest edition of our East Kootenay Waterproof Map is your ultimate guide to exploring the region – chock-full of adventure information, featuring our industry-leading cartographic detail and easily foldable to fit right in your front pocket, this durable map will help you have the adventure of a lifetime in the East Kootenays. Here are a few of our favourite things to see and do in the region that you will find on the map.
Hiking in Bugaboo Provincial Park
Spanning 13,647 hectares (33,722 ac), this rugged wilderness park is home to massive glaciers, vast alpine meadows and rugged granite spires that attract hikers and mountain climbers from around the world. Mountain goats and grizzly bears can often be seen in the park, and numerous alpine lakes and backcountry cabins make popular destinations for outdoor explorers. Some people choose to hire the services of a helicopter to access the park, while others hike the challenging trail into the heart of its backcountry. However you choose to access Bugaboo Provincial Park, you are in for an unforgettable experience.
Fishing in the Elk River
The majestic Elk River flows from high up in the Rocky Mountains to the lowlands surrounding Lake Koocanusa, offering some world-class dry fly fishing for Westslope cutthroat trout. In the upper reaches, you can also find monster bull trout that grow up to 5 kg (11 lb), along with whitefish, best caught on a spinner or a fly. Elkford, Sparwood and Fernie are all charming communities that make perfect base camps for your fishing adventure, and there are plenty of guides and outfitters to help you get that local’s advantage. For authentic East Kootenay fishing action, look no further than the Elk River.
Mountain Biking in Golden
Golden is known as a hub for all sorts of outdoor adventure, and that includes mountain biking, with hundreds of kilometres of single track found within an easy pedal of town. The Moonraker, Canyon Creek and CBT trail systems offer over 130 km (80 mi) of interconnected trails to explore, including some that run right along the rim of the canyon – avoid these if you have a fear of heights. If you have a vehicle at your disposal, have a friend shuttle you up the Mount 7 Forest Service Road to take on some hair-raising descents. Or, head to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort to check out the highest elevation mountain bike park in North America.
Snowmobiling in Crowsnest Pass
Located right along the BC/Alberta border, Crowsnest Pass is famous for big dumps of snow and endless riding terrain. From hill climbing to technical tree riding and over 1,200 km (745 mi) if established trails, there is something for every type of snowmobiler here. Popular choices include the cutblocks, pipelines and spur roads in the Windy Mountain area and the 60-70 km Lost Lake Trail, leading you through ravines, past alpine bowls and to a hidden lake tucked into the Continental Divide.
Hunting for Mule Deer
There are estimated to be about 165,000 mule deer in the interior of British Columbia, and the East Kootenays are one of the best places to hunt them. Larger than their white-tail counterparts, these deer stand up to 1 metre tall at the shoulder and weigh an average of 80 kg (175 lb). You can often spot mulies while cruising the region’s logging roads, or even right from the highway, but harvesting that trophy buck will require some serious preparation and leg work.
Relaxing at Lussier Hot Springs
Found within Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park, these picturesque hot pools sit right next to the rushing Lussier River. The natural springs are accessed by a short hike from the Whiteswan Forest Service Road and normally measure around 44° C (111° F). The area has been used by the Kootenai people for at least 5,000 years, and in the 1800s and early 1900s trappers and prospectors would frequent the springs. One visit to the pools will make it clear why they have been so popular for so long.
Skiing and Snowboarding at Panorama Mountain Resort
Tucked deep into the Purcell Mountains, Panorama offers 1,225 metres (4,020 ft) of vertical serviced by 10 lifts, with over 120 runs spread across 12 square km (4.6 square mi) of rideable terrain. Whether you are sticking to the groomers, charging through the trees, working on your jibs and spins in the terrain park or tapping that untracked powder line, Panorama offers some of the best downhill skiing and snowboarding in the province.
Canoeing and Kayaking the Columbia River Valley
The 4 to 6 day paddling trip from Columbia Lake to Donald Station takes you along a braided, meandering section of the Columbia River with no named rapids or portages, offering a unique wilderness adventure with frequent exit points along the highway or at towns such as Invermere and Parson. Along the way you can enjoy the stunning Rocky Mountain scenery, keep an eye out for over 260 species of resident and migratory birds and fish for the abundant bull and rainbow trout.
Stepping Back in Time at Fort Steele
Once a booming gold rush town, Fort Steele was abandoned when it was bypassed by the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The town has since been restored and is now an open-air museum with over 60 reconstructed buildings, horse-drawn wagon rides, a steam train, historical re-enactments and more, offering an authentic look into life in the East Kootenays in the late 1800s.
Taking in the Sights at Takakkaw Falls
Found east of Field along the Yoho Valley Road, this is one of BC’s highest waterfalls. The falls tumble 254 metres (833 ft) in one stretch, or 384 metres (1,260 ft) in total. There are excellent views from the base of the falls, or you can camp just downstream at one of the most scenic campsites you will be able to find in BC. Access to the falls is from mid-June to mid-October, but be wary of the steep, switchbacking access road.
You can find your way to these and countless more incredible adventures with the help of our latest edition East Kootenay Waterproof Map! More than just a map, this all-in-one outdoor adventure guide is your ultimate key to the East Kootenays, from Saskatchewan River Crossing to Elko and beyond. Designed for the rugged outdoor explorer, this durable, water-resistant, foldable, easy-to-read map features our state-of-the-art topographic relief and shading and a wealth of adventure information from fishing hot spots to hiking trails, campsites, ghost towns and much more!
Did we miss your favourite spot in the East Kootenays? Let us know in the comments below or share your best adventure photos with us on Instagram using #brmblife for a chance to be featured on our feed and win prizes.