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The Kootenay Rockies (Lakes, Hot Springs and Heritage Towns)

South-eastern British Columbia is a spectacular region of glacial lakes, soothing hot springs, powerful waterfalls, mighty rivers and Canada’s highest mountains.  
The wildlife in this region is legendary, with Bighorn Sheep regularly seen grazing along the road, and three hundred bird species and sixty different types of mammals that make the Kokanee River wetlands their home. 

On this tour we’ll enjoy a wide range of experiences, all the while gazing at some of Canada’s most awesome vistas.

Tour Highlights:
   • Explore Heritage and Ghost Towns
   • First Nations history, culture and hospitality
   • River Rafting on the Kicking Horse River
   • Spectacular Rogers Pass
   • Underground Mining Railway train
   • Hot Springs resorts in unique mountain settings, with activities available such as guided hiking and kayak tours, golf, etc.
   • Guided Tour of Yoho National Park
   • Up close with buffalos at a buffalo ranch
   • Japanese Internment Memorial Centre from WW2
   • Nelson, BC - “Queen City of the Kootenays”
   • Discover the wildlife of the Kokanee River wetlands

* This tour is suitable only for the fit and active traveller.

Itinerary / Excursions

We fly to Cranbrook, and transfer to the St. Eugene Resort. This evening is our Welcome Dinner.
We first visit Fort Steele Heritage Town where we’ll go back in time to experience the “wild west” in this restored 1860’s gold rush town. Then we proceed to Kimberley - an old Bavarian town in a spectacular location between the Purcell and the Rocky Mountains. Here we’ll hop on the Underground Mining Railway train which makes its way through Mark Creek Valley to the historic Sullivan Mine, where we will have an informative tour. There will be time to stroll around Kimberley, where we can see the world’s largest standing cuckoo clock, as well as Cominco Gardens - home to more than 100 memorial roses, before returning to Cranbrooke.
We visit the Ktunaxa Interpretive Centre where we will learn from our hosts about the history and culture of the First Nations who inhabited these lands since time immemorial. Then we head to Windermere Lake to explore the charming town of Invermere, with a stop to admire the Hoodoos at Dutch Creek. We will overnight at the iconic Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. Enjoy a relaxing dip in the hot pools before dinner.
Morning at leisure to enjoy the activities offered at the resort. This afternoon we proceed to Radium Hot Springs, which sits in the Rocky Mountain Trench carved over millions of years by the Columbia River. Bighorn sheep roam the streets of the town and even on rooftops (providing great photo ops). A few trailheads are accessible from the town centre for a quick nature walk. The Visitor Information Centre hosts displays of wildlife and First Nations culture. We continue to Golden, where we will walk on the Kicking Horse pedestrian bridge, and enjoy a brewery tour.
Today we’ll have a guided tour of Yoho National Park (Yoho means ‘awe’ in Cree language) - the 2nd oldest National Park in Canada (after Banff). It is home to wonders ranging from powerful waterfalls and pristine lakes, to 500 million-year-old fossil beds.
We begin with an exhilarating rafting trip down the Kicking Horse River, followed by a visit of a buffalo ranch to experience these amazing creatures up close. Then we’ll drive across one of this region’s most spectacular mountain crossings, Rogers Pass, to Three Valley Gap for a 2-night stay.
We begin with a visit to the Revelstoke Railway Museum, which showcases the historic construction and operation of the Canadian Pacific Railway in Western Canada’s mountain region. The railway played a pivotal role in the founding of Canada. In the afternoon we’ll get close to nature along a boardwalk surrounded by a variety of trees (including a giant 800-year-old cedar grove), where we’ll also see a natural display of edible plants, herbs and roots used by First Nations People for nutritional and medicinal purposes The trail also provides a magical setting for a display of over 350 folk art figurines, as well as BC’s tallest, grandest tree house which rises 50-feet into the forest canopy, and a giant cedar stump house. This evening we’ll enjoy a BBQ dinner in a one-of-a-kind dining room in the “Ghost Town” at our resort.
During the 19th-century mining boom, Columbia River sternwheelers connected the town of Revelstoke to the railway. Today we’ll walk through this alpine city to see the many restored heritage buildings, followed by a visit of the Revelstoke Hydro Dam to see how the river’s power is harnessed for electricity. Then we’ll hop on a ferry for a short ride across Upper Arrow Lake. Admire the gorgeous scenery of the Monashee, Valhalla and Selkirk mountains, as well as the deep blue lake water. We proceed to Nakusp for our overnight.
In New Denver we’ll visit the Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre, which pays tribute to the internment of Japanese Canadians during World War 2. In the afternoon we’ll tour the lovingly restored Victorian SS Moyie - the world’s oldest intact passenger sternwheeler, and other attractions from this bygone era. Later we arrive at Ainsworth Hot Springs for a 2-night stay.
We enjoy a morning at leisure to soak in the soothing mineral waters at our resort, with its large lounging pool and a stream-fed cold plunge. These hot springs feature an unusual horseshoe-shaped cave lined with stalagmites and stalactites. This afternoon we’ll venture of on a self-guided walking tour of Nelson - the “Queen City of the Kootenays”, to view the more than 350 Victorian heritage buildings, with a chance to visit the Touchstones Museum housed in a beautiful 1902 building.
We first stop in Salmo, home to a number of distinctive stone murals, then proceed to the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area - a refuge for more than 300 bird species and many kinds of mammals. Here you may either explore the wetlands by naturalist guided voyageur-style canoe, or on foot. The 3-story viewing tower provides a bird’s-eye view of the marshland. Later we return to St. Eugene Resort for our Farewell Dinner and final overnight.
We head to the airport for our flight home.
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