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The Kootenay Rockies Lakes, Hot Springs and Heritage Towns

Canada
Southeastern 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, caving, 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 recommended for the fit and active traveller.

Itinerary / Excursions

We arrive in Cranbrook. Upon arrival we transfer to St. Eugene Resort for a 2-night stay. This evening is our Welcome Dinner.
We first visit Fort Steele Heritage Town where we will go back in time and 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 will hop on the Underground Mining Railway train which makes its way through the 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.
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 en route. We will overnight at the iconic Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, where we will have time for 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 stroll on the Kicking Horse pedestrian bridge, and enjoy a brewery tour - a chance to quench our thirst!
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, where we’ll have a tour of this “Ghost Town” and a BBQ dinner in a one-of-a-kind dining room.
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 mountain ranges, as well as the deep blue lake water.
We proceed to Nakusp and stroll along its waterfront promenade, visiting the Japanese Garden and the Spicer Garden. The Nakusp Museum features an interesting collection of antiques and artifacts, including photos of the now submerged towns that dotted the Arrow Lakes before the flooding of the 1960s. Pictures dating back to 1904 show scenes of the grand time when paddlewheelers were the only way to travel the Arrow Lakes. In New Denver we’ll visit the Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre, which pays tribute to the internment of Japanese Canadians during World War II. Later we arrive at Ainsworth Hot Springs for our overnight.
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. This unusual hot springs features a horseshoe-shaped cave lined with stalagmites and stalactites. Alternatively, you may take a guided tour of the nearby Cody Caves. This afternoon we’ll tour the lovingly restored Victorian S.S. Moyie - the world’s oldest intact passenger sternwheeler, and other attractions from this bygone era. We continue on to Nelson for a 2-night stay.
Our self-guided Heritage Walking Tour of the “Queen City of the Kootenays” will take in the more than 350 Victorian heritage buildings, as well as the Touchstones Museum, housed in a beautiful 1902 building. Later we’ll enjoy the breezes and spectacular sights on Lake Kootenay as we ferry to Crawford Bay for some unique artisan shopping.
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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