Canoeing on Emerald Lake - Kamil Bialous

Great Circle Route

3 to 7 days, 1317.69 km (818.77 mi)

This loop encompasses the entire Kootenay Rockies region. Explore UNESCO Rocky Mountain World Heritage Sites, learn about mining and railway history.

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Trans Canada Highway (Hwy #1), east of Golden, will have extended, 24-hour closures starting June 1, 2022. Please see the up-to-date schedule of closures and be prepared to take detours, which may add up to 2 hours to your journey.

Part 1

Calgary to Golden

Travel west from Calgary, Alberta, on the Trans-Canada Highway 1 through Banff and Yoho national parks to Golden, British Columbia.

Highway #1, east of Golden, will have extended, 24-hour closures starting September 21, 2021. Please see the up-to-date schedule of closures and be prepared to take detours via Highway 93 & Highway 95, which may add up to 1.5 hours to your journey.

Part 2

Glacier and Mount Revelstoke National Parks

From Golden, continue on Highway 1 to Glacier National Park, with over 400 glaciers covering one-tenth of its area. The Rogers Pass Centre is filled with memorabilia and photographs from the area’s mountaineering past. Nearby Glacier National Park is Canyon Hot Springs, which features mineral pools and several forms of accommodation. Further west, the rare old-growth rainforest of Mount Revelstoke National Park is accessible, with interpretive boardwalk trails.

Part 3

Revelstoke to Castlegar

Revelstoke is situated at the junction of highways 1 and 23 along the Columbia River. Visit the Revelstoke Railway Museum, or tour the Revelstoke Dam.

Approximately 19km/12mi west of Revelstoke is 3 Valley Gap Heritage Ghost Town, a modern resort and restored pioneer ghost town. Further west is Crazy Creek Waterfalls and Suspension Bridge, and Craigellachie, where the “last spike” of the western Canadian Pacific Railway was driven.

From Revelstoke, south on Highway 23 along Upper Arrow Lake leads to the communities of Nakusp, New Denver, Sandon, Silverton, and Slocan. Take Highway 3A to Castlegar.

Part 4

Castlegar to Rossland

While in Castlegar, visit Zuckerberg Island Heritage Park, the Doukhobor Discovery Centre, and the Station Museum. Take Hwy 3/3B or 22 to Rossland, one of Canada’s top mountain biking spots and a former gold rush boomtown.

Part 5

Creston Valley

Creston is south on Highway 6/3. Creston is known for its plentiful orchards and locally grown fruits and vegetables. Birdwatchers and nature lovers should stop by the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area. This wildlife sanctuary is home for thousands of migratory birds, and features an interpretive centre, guided canoe tours and self-guided walking tours.

Part 6


Traveling Highway 3/95 leads to the town of Cranbrook and the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel, which houses 28 restored rail cars from various stages of Canada’s rail history. Cranbrook is the commercial centre of the Kootenay Rockies region, and offers a multitude of services.

Part 7


From Cranbrook, journey on Highway 95A to the city of Kimberley. Kimberley’s mining heritage is a prominent feature of the community, as evident at Kimberley’s Underground Mining Railway.

Part 8

Fairmont Hot Springs

North of Kimberley on Highway 95 to Highway 93/95 is Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, a world-class relaxation and recreational resort. Fairmont features some of the largest natural hot springs pools in Canada, and offer visitors access to numerous outdoor seasonal activities.

Part 9


Further north is Invermere, where Lake Windermere offers great recreational water activities. West from Invermere, on a winding road, is Panorama Mountain Village, nestled in the Purcell Mountains.

Part 10

Kootenay National Park to Alberta

Take scenic Highway 93 through Kootenay National Park back to Trans-Canada Highway 1 and Calgary, Alberta.

Last updated: May 20, 2020

Driving Directions

Part 1 - Vancouver
  • 6.25 km
  • 12 min
Show Map & Driving Directions

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