Alberta & BC Rockies Nearby - Kootenay National Park Attractions
Yoho National Park was created in 1920 and covers 1,403 square kilometres (543 sq miles) and follows the Kootenay River down from the Continental Divide. This highway was the first gravel road through the Rockies, and was an early trekking route for "Tin Lizzies."
This park straddles 105 kilometres of highway 93 from the Castle Junction (formerly Eisenhower Junction) (between Banff & Lake Louise) and heads southwest to Radium Hot Springs. The highway climbs over Vermillion Pass (coming east, you get great views of the heights around Castle Mountain as the highway descends inside Alberta), which at 1637 metres crosses the continental divide. As you drop into BC, the river at the side is the Vermillion River, which later flows into the Kootenay River. The park has several herds of bighorn sheep as well as numbers of bear, moose, elk and mountain goat. They tend to migrate from their summer range in the north (east) part of the park, and head to the lower and drier areas in the south during the winter.
After the highway bends to head southeast, you are presented views of Mount Assiniboine, nestled in its own provincial park on the BC-Alberta border between Yoho National Park and Banff National Park. The highway climbs once more and descends into the Kootenay River valley and the Vermillion Crossin. The 780 kilometre-long Kootenay River starts near Field, and flows south across the Idaho border, and then recrosses the Canada-US border 100 km to the west, flowing into Kootenay Lake at Castlegar. The name comes from the Blackfoot pronunciation of the Kootenai linguistic group, whose name means "water people". The River was originally named McGillivray's River by geographer and explorer David Thompson in 1808, after the North West Company's fur tradering brothers Duncan and William McGillivray.
Afer following the Kootenay River wouth for a while, the highway takes a bend west, heading up a rise over the Sinclair Pass (elevation 1486m) before rapidly descending down to Radium, passing several truck runouts. You pass through Sinclair Canyon and are presented vast open views of the Columbia River Valley and the Purcell Mountains to the west, famed for their world-class helicopter skiing. The highway zips past the Radium Hot Springs, on the left side, before you arrive in Radium.
Kootenay AttractionsMarble Canyon
89 km from Radium
North of McLeod Meadows, along the Vermillion River
This canyon, a short 90 metres from the road has grey limestone and quartzite, mixed with some white & grey dolomite. Tokumm Creek has cut a narrow channel into the canyon to depth of 40 metres (130 feet). Follow a self-guided trail to the edge of the canyon and a waterfall.
85 km from Radium
These cold springs are named for their exit holes. The iron-laden water caused the colourful deposits, used by local Indians to stain their bodies, and paint their tepees.
1.5 km from Radium (just inside park gates)
Sinclair canyon offers hot springs and the iron stains along the Redwall Fault. Lots of bighorn sheep, too. The fossil remains in the cliff show that this high elevation area was once at the bottom of a shallow sea.
250-347-9485 or 250-347-9615
The Olympic-sized pool is open 365 days a year. The water flows from the rock at 300 gallons per minute at 114 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). The pool is wheelchair accessible.
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