7 Hikes in or Near Golden

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Golden is a hiker’s dream. The Purcell and Rocky mountains surround this small town in a big valley. Five national parks are no more than a two-hour drive away, and alpine hiking can be reached by gondola. The locals who live here still haven’t wandered every trail.

Here is a list of eight places to hike in this outdoor community, submitted to us by the BC Visitors Centre @ Golden.

1. Rotary Trails

A lush mountain range looks over a small body of water and a green pedestrian bridge.

The Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge and Rotary Trails. Photo: Dave Best

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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2. Terminator Ridge Hike at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Hikers traverse a rocky terrain on a sunny day.

Lift-Accessed Alpine Hiking at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Photo: Claire Dibble

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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3. CPR Ridge Walk at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Snow-capped mountain ranges look out over a rocky terrain.

CPR Ridge Walk at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Photo: Sarah Windsor

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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4. Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park

Wapta Falls wind through a dense forest, towards a rocky mountain range.

Looking at Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park. Photo: Dave Best.

An easy hike to a beautiful waterfall. Walk through the thick forest the 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.

5. Twin Falls Trail in Yoho National Park

Twin waterfalls cascade down a rocky cliff face.

Twin Falls in Yoho National Park. Photo: @_miss.mandy_ via Instagram

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. Now operating as the Twin Falls Chalet, this two-story lodge offers rooms and meals for hikers visiting the area. Write or phone Fran Drummond, who has been operating the chalet since 1960, to make reservations at this iconic lodge.

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6. Hamilton Falls at Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park

Turquoise Emerald Lake is a must-see site while visiting Yoho National Park. Take a short stroll from here and you will 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.

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7. Hemlock Grove Boardwalk Trail in Glacier National Park

An accessible trail through an old-growth cedar and hemlock forest. This interpretive boardwalk path is barrier-free, offering people with varying abilities – mobile or visual – a chance to enjoy the natural wonders of Glacier National Park.

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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.