Calgary in the spring can be a bit of a slog – the excitement of winter holidays is over, snow has turned to rain, and all that’s left to do is dream about summer.
But you don’t need to escape to Mexico or Cuba to recharge this season. As it turns out, there’s plenty to see next door in BC.
For eager travellers, the Columbia Valley is one of BC’s lesser-known gems that offers plenty to eat, see, and do during a weekend (or a week) away.
Dining at mountainside restaurants, carving at Panorama Resort, soaking in the natural waters of Radium Hot Springs – no matter what relaxation means to you, you’ll find it in the Columbia Valley.
Invermere on the Lake is a beautiful town in the East Kootenays with attractions for visitors in all seasons. And all year long, you’ll find the unique tastes of Western Canada at Birchwood Restaurant. The restaurant offers an intimate, casual dining experience with a variety of seasonal menu options such as organic king salmon and citrus braised lamb shank. Birchwood Restaurant prides itself on its wine list, which features a selection from wineries across the province. Seat yourself in their cozy lounge and grab a glass of the good stuff.
Located right in front of Kicking Horse Coffee HQ, this café has the freshest roasts in the interior. It’s a coffee fiend’s paradise, with a wide assortment of coffees both mild and bold, exotic and local. Try the sweet and smoky Kick Ass dark blend and pair it with a fresh-baked butter tart. It’s the best way to wake up and get energized for your Rocky Mountain adventures.
Guests at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort don’t have to choose between visiting a ski resort, relaxing at a golf retreat, or soaking away their stress in a natural hot spring. This spot offers all of the above. For the ultimate in relaxation, the mineral-rich hot springs located at the resort are open to the public for most of the day, and guests enjoy exclusive access from 7 to 8 am and 9 to 11 pm.
Nipika Mountain Resort is the perfect cozy retreat to explore the Canadian Rockies from. Instead of staying in a room at a hotel, guests can rent rustic log cabins fully equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and fireplace. The resort can connect guests with a ton of activities – both guided and self-directed – such as cross country ski lessons, wetlands paddling, mountain biking, and alpine day hikes.
There are dozens of hotels and resorts in the Columbia Valley, ranging from campgrounds to luxury resorts. Most can be found within a 30 minute drive to the recreation areas at Panorama and the hot springs at Radium and Fairmont.
Ever dreamed of skiing BC’s famous “Powder Highway”? Panorama Mountain Resort provides downhillers with over 4,000 acres of accessible terrain in addition to some of the season’s best Nordic skiing, show-shoeing, heli-skiing, and snowmobiling. In the summer, skiers and boarders are replaced with downhill mountain bikers and hikers who are ready to explore everything the mountain has to offer. As they say in Panorama, the living is really easy here.
Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the relaxed mountain village of Radium Hot Springs is an escape from the stresses of urban life. Like its name suggests, the town is centred around hot springs that come in two varieties: the first, which is slightly warmer at 39°C, promises to soothe mental and physical tensions; in the second, a 27°C plunge pool, visitors can reenergize and emerge from the therapeutic waters feeling like a new person. More than just the hot springs, the village is home to quaint dining options, live entertainment, and an abundance of outdoor activities.
Although there are many places to visit throughout BC and Alberta, Columbia Valley in the East Kootenays offers more than just a place to relax and unwind – it promises memorable adventures, too.
Mountains tower over small towns, people spend hours on the edges of warm lakes and rushing rivers. There are mountain biking trails and hiking trails, ski slopes, fishing spots, golf courses, and waterfalls.
Your journey to a more peaceful state of mind starts here.