Craggy mountain peaks with sparse trees and patches of ice.

Must-Do Hikes in or Near Golden

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Yoho National Park | Ryan Creary

Golden is a hiker’s dream where alpine hiking can be reached by gondola. The Purcell and Rocky mountains surround this small town in a big valley, with six national parks within a two-hour drive. Even the locals haven’t wandered every trail.

Note: You must purchase a pass to explore national parks.

The Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge and Rotary Trail | Dave Best

Rotary Trail

A trail to tour the town. This gentle path circles the downtown core of Golden and is a great way to get your bearings when you first arrive. Stroll along the banks of the Kicking Horse River, through residential areas, and past Reflection Lake for a glimpse of Golden upside down. Walk across the largest freestanding timber-framed pedestrian bridge in Canada and keep your eyes peeled for two-wheelers; this trail is shared.

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Lift-accessed hiking at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort | Claire Dibble

Terminator Ridge at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Lift-accessed alpine lets hikers sit on top of some of BC’s tallest peaks in record time. At Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, the scenic Eagle Express Gondola takes you to 7,700 feet (2,346 metres), where your hike begins. From the top of the gondola, walk along the south ridge–just below Terminator Peak–and into the Super Bowl saddle before entering a short scramble section. The trail ends at the T2 Summit Lookout for views of the Columbia Wetlands and Canadian Rockies. You may even catch a glimpse of a few mountain climbers tackling the Via Ferrata secured climbing route along your way.

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CPR Ridge at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort | Sarah Windsor

CPR Ridge at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

This trail begins at the top of the Golden Eagle Express Gondola and heads down the ridge parallel to the lift. Several lookout points along the way offer some of the best views of the Canadian Rockies. Guided hikes, led by the local mountain experts, are available on Saturday and Sunday in the summer. Guides offer insight into the flora and fauna, the surrounding mountains, and what it’s like to ski down the rocky peak you are standing on in winter.

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Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park | Dave Best

Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park

An easy hike to a beautiful waterfall. Walk through the thick forest to the base of a 30-m (98-ft) waterfall, one of the largest along the Kicking Horse River. Keep an eye out for waterbirds, beavers, and wolf tracks along the route, and let the mist of the falls cool you down after your trek in. The trailhead can be a bit tricky to find but you’ll be happy you did. Let Google Street View help you find your way.

Twin Falls in Yoho National Park | @_miss.mandy_

Twin Falls Trail in Yoho National Park

Three waterfalls along one trail. Walk into the forest past Takakkaw Falls, Laughing Falls, and end at the double cascade of Twin Falls. Take a rest at the Twin Falls Tea House, a National Historic Site of Canada originally built in the early 1900s. Contact the Alpine Club of Canada to learn about overnight reservations.

The Details:

Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park | Destination BC

Hamilton Falls at Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park

Turquoise Emerald Lake is a must-see while visiting Yoho National Park. Take a short stroll and find a quiet waterfall oasis. If you arrive at calm Hamilton Falls and want to continue your forest stroll, walk another 5.5 km (3.4 mi) to Hamilton Lake.

The Details:

Remember that Golden and the surrounding area is bear country. Be sure to learn about bear safety before heading out on the trials. A good place to start is at the Grizzly Bear Interpretive Centre and Refuge. While you look for Boo, the resident grizzly bear, learn about how to safely coexist in nature with these incredible creatures. Follow Boo on Facebook for tips and advice for being bear aware.

Originally published in July, 2016.

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