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4-131279571_20-Kicking-Horse-River
Group whitewater rafting the Kicking Horse River
(Darryl Leniuk/Masterfile photo)

Golden

Geography

At the base of the intriguingly named Mount Seven, the town of Golden sits in the Upper Columbia Valley at the confluence of two distinctively different heritage rivers.

The Columbia meanders slowly into town from the south through tranquil wetlands that support a multitude of birds and animals, while the glacially-fed Kicking Horse charges down into the valley through tight, rock-walled canyons, thrilling 20,000 plus river rafting enthusiasts every year.

Golden's Location

With the Canadian Rockies to the east and the Dogtooth Range of the Purcell Mountains dominating the skyline to the west, the townsite occupies the peninsula formed by the confluence of the two rivers. Downstream, the now enhanced Columbia River flows in a north-westerly direction, before turning north into the vast geographical feature known as the "Big Bend."

National Parks near Golden

Both the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Trans-Canada Highway pass through town.

To the east, these essential pieces of Canadian infrastructure climb steadily through Yoho National Park to the summit of Kicking Horse Pass and the Alberta border. This rugged landscape is characterized by jagged snowcapped peaks, rushing mountain streams and turquoise lakes. Westbound from Golden, road and rail share a corridor that follows the Columbia Valley, before climbing into the avalanche country of the Selkirk Range and Glacier National Park.

South of town, the Columbia Wetlands, one of the largest intact wetlands in North America, reaches back up the valley towards the headwaters of the Columbia River. The mosquitoes love it so pack plenty of insect repellant.

Climate & Weather

This is a mountain climate with average temperatures ranging from a high of 25°C/77°F to a low of 9°C/48°F in summer. Annual rainfall adds up to 306mm/12in.

Winter temperatures average between a high of -6°C/21°F and a low of -14°C/7°F. The town of Golden's average annual snowfall is 184cm/72in, compared with 650cm/256in at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort