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Mountain Retreat: Cozy Fall Getaways

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Purcell Mountains near Meadow Creek | Kari Medig

Escape to BC for an autumnal adventure, where you can savour local food and drink, snuggle up under the stars, soak in hot springs, or cuddle in a cabin. With safety protocols in place, and plenty of wide-open spaces, fall is the perfect time to reset with the thrill of exploring somewhere new.

The season brings a splash of colour to British Columbia’s mountain scenery, with fall foliage and snow-sprinkled peaks. Cooler temperatures are still mild enough to enjoy the outdoors, while nearby historic attractions, eateries, craft breweries, wineries, and spa experiences can add colour and fun to your stay. So, head for the hills and enjoy a mountain retreat with a twist at one of these cozy fall getaways.

Note: This story (originally published in 2020) was updated specifically for the unique travel circumstances of 2021. Information is accurate at the time of publication; we recommend you contact businesses directly to confirm availability and familiarize yourself with their COVID policies.

Ainsworth Hot Springs with a view of Kootenay Lake | Kari Medig

HEAD FOR A SOAK IN MOUNTAIN HOT SPRINGS

Soak up the views as you soak in the mountain-backed mineral-rich pools at one of BC’s Kootenay Rockies hot springs (all with enhanced safety protocols in place). Visit the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort for a rejuvenating getaway; reserved exclusively for guest access, these natural springs are spectacular in fall as snow starts to blanket distant peaks. Stay in a cabin, cottage, loft, or lodge, or choose a suite to relax in a soaker tub and warm up in front of a gas fireplace. There are four in-resort eateries and a cafe to satisfy your appetite, stocked with BC wines and craft beer from the area.

The village of Radium Hot Springs, about 25 minutes north, is a prime location for a relaxing escape. Stay and spa at the newly renovated Prestige Radium Hot Springs Resort, then head for a soak in the natural pools. While in town, you might see the area’s beloved bighorn sheep out for a graze (or a head-butt) with their brethren. Be sure to visit the Radium Brewing for a pint.

 

At Halcyon Hot Springs, located on the Arrow Lake with views of the Monashee Mountains, hotel and spa guests also have exclusive use of the three naturally heated outdoor pools to soak sore muscles before spending the night in a chalet, cottage, or cabin (there is a two-night stay minimum). The Kingfisher Restaurant offers a classic West Coast menu, regional beer, and a varied Scotch menu. While in Nakusp, sample local craft beverages at Valley of the Springs Winery and Burton City Cider.

Stay and soak in the therapeutic waters of Ainsworth Hot Springs, which has been a source of rejuvenation for the Ktunaxa people since time immemorial. The resort is open Wednesday to Sunday and guests can experience the hot springs, caves, and Indigenous-inspired cuisine at the Ktunaxa Grill (try the bannock appetizer and wild game burger). Since you’re in the Kaslo area, swing by Angry Hen Brewing for a pint.

Tiny Home | Snow Valley Lodging

FIND A SMALL GEM OR MOUNTAIN RETREAT IN FERNIE

Precious things come in small packages and fall is the ideal time to warm up in a tiny house, one of the hottest home trends in recent years that still pack all the amenities needed into a snug space. Stay in one of Snow Valley Lodging’s six Tiny Homes as a base to discover the heritage buildings of downtown, where you can take in the town’s eclectic arts scene and explore plentiful outdoor adventures. Fernie’s mosaic of eateries and craft beverage providers is exciting and innovative (mezcal and tacos meets BC wines and elevated pub fare). Indulge in a seasonal sip at Fernie Brewing Co. or spirit sampling at Fernie Distillers. Back in your Tiny Home, you can warm up at the outdoor fire pit or hide away in the loft space to snuggle in bed under the handmade blankets.

Retreat to Lizard Creek Lodge at Fernie Alpine Resort to soak up the fall scenery and some of the best views in the province from the outdoor pool and hot tubs, which overlook the Lizard Mountain Range, a subrange of the BC Rockies. Spend the day exploring the historic charm of Fernie, then take in the vibrant fall colours with a nature walk or hike through local trails and parks. Back at the lodge, retreat to your room to warm up by the fireplace, cook a comforting meal in the gourmet kitchen, and enjoy the fruits of your labours on the private balcony, wrapped in a blanket as you take in the fresh mountain air. If you prefer, let someone else do the cooking and dine in at Cirque Restaurant and Bar—try the baked brie and the house-made Parisian Gnocchi, paired with a glass of BC’s Cedar Creek Pinot Gris.

Seeing Golden from new heights | @goldenskybridge

KICK IT UP A NOTCH IN GOLDEN

Escape everyday life with an adrenaline-pumping adventure at Golden’s Vagabond Lodge (check their COVID-19 policies), where guests can kayak the nearby Columbia River or take the CBT Mainline mountain bike trail from the lodge. Take a hike and explore the views at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort (open Friday to Monday from Sept. 7 to Sept. 26). No visit is complete without a mountaintop lunch and a glass of Ogopogo Pinot Grigio (or another BC wine) at the Eagle Eye Restaurant, perched at an elevation of 2,350m.

Fall is the perfect time to visit Canada’s highest suspension bridge, the Golden Skybridge (open until Oct. 11). Warm up in the sauna or outdoor hot tub at the lodge, then enjoy a drink from the bar (made from a hand-cut split log) and get cozy in front of the hand-made local stone fireplace. Venture into Golden to procure a pint; Whitetooth Brewing and Golden Taps Pub will do the trick. Dine at Wolf’s Den Restaurant and Indigenous-owned Bear & Bone Burger Co. for hearty cooking with locally sourced ingredients.

Nipika Mountain Resort

STAY IN ECO-FRIENDLY CABINS IN THE KOOTENAYS

Feel at one with nature at Nipika Mountain Resort, an off-the-grid eco-resort near Radium Hot Springs, which borders Kootenay National Park and boasts 50km of hiking and biking trails right outside your front door. Nine luxurious log cabins are surrounded by an extensive trail system to explore and guests can take guided canoeing tours and hikes or play disc golf. The resort, which is powered by solar energy and heated with deadwood, is the ideal place to go offline and curl up with a hot chocolate and a good book in front of a wood-burning stove. Despite the nip in the air, you can brave an autumn barbecue on the deck with sweeping views of the Kootenay River Valley. On the way in or out of the resort, pop into Radium Hot Springs (a 35-minute drive away) for a soak. Continue exploring with a beer tasting or hearty Austrian alpine fare and aperitifs at Helna’s Stube.

 

Slip away to the west side of the region, where you’ll discover the secluded luxury hideaway of eco-friendly Logden Lodge, a 20-minute drive south of Nelson. Four mountain cabins are tucked away in the forest, spaced out to give each one solitude in the foothills of the Selkirk Mountains. Although the lodge is only 20km from Nelson, the walk to the cabins gives a beautiful backcountry feel (without the hike). Rustic timbers, wooden flooring, and cozy lofts offer an authentic cabin ambience, with custom-built furniture, antiques, and world art adding a luxury touch.

Sleep soundly in luxury down bedding after bathing in the deep soaker tub and wrapping up in a soft robe. Awaken to the gentle crackle of the wood-burning stove to enjoy a coffee on the veranda, taking in the forest views and the fresh air as you keep an eye out for wildlife-watching opportunities. If you’re longing for a taste of mountain town life, venture into Nelson to explore heritage buildings, funky boutiques, and a burgeoning food and drink scene. Add Nelson Brewing Company and Oso Negro to your list of craft beverage stops; and dine at Cantina Del Centro, a modern Mexican restaurant on historic Baker Street.

Cozy yurt | @radiusretreat

SNUGGLE UP NEAR RADIUM HOT SPRINGS

Retreat to the wilderness to experience the Nordic cultural concept of friluftsliv (open-air life) in East Kootenay. Radius Retreat is home to a collection of rustic yurts that overlook the Columbia Wetlands and are surrounded by 400 hectares of wilderness and 12km of trails for self-propelled mountain adventures. Yurts are hike-in only (although a few are close to the parking lot for a mini adventure) and each one is a cozy space to sleep, with outside camping stoves, fire-pits, and compost washrooms to bring glamping to life. Bring your own bedding to snuggle up in the warm solar-powered yurt after a day exploring the great outdoors. This is fully self-catered, so stop at Radium Hot Springs for provisions on the way.

 

If you plan to venture out for an outdoor activity, remember that weather can change quickly in the mountains at this time of year. Be AdventureSmart and remember to practice the Three T’s: Trip Planning, Training, and Taking the Essentials.

WRITTEN BY: Amy Watkins

From: Vancouver
Amy Watkins, a British-born travel and food writer, fell in love with Vancouver at the age of 18. She has travelled the world, but her steadfast love of the West Coast led her to move here in 2012. In the UK she worked as a features editor and freelance writer for 10 years, writing about travel for magazines and newspapers. She now writes about travel, food, and West Coast life for a variety of publications. When she’s not on her laptop, she can be found exploring Stanley Park or hiking in the rainforest with her bulldog, Rick James; tackling waves and tacos in Tofino; or eating her way around the province on a food-focused road trip. Amy has even been persuaded to eat kale chips and practise yoga—making her an honorary Vancouverite.

MENTIONED IN THIS STORY

Hot Springs, Skiing & Snowboarding, Golf, Campgrounds & RV Parks, Resorts & Wilderness Lodges, Accessibility

Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, home to Canada's largest natural mineral hot springs, is a year-round destination nestled in the heart of the the...

Phone: (250) 345-6070

View Listing

Hot Springs, Campgrounds & RV Parks, Cabins & Cottages, Resorts & Wilderness Lodges, Accessibility

Halcyon Hot Springs Resort

Lake, mountains, natural hot springs, wilderness, comfort, fun and serenity... there is so much to explore at Halcyon Hot Springs Village and Spa....

Phone: (250) 265-3554

View Listing

Hotels, Campgrounds & RV Parks

Snow Valley Lodging

Snow Valley Lodging is the ultimate basecamp for your mountain escapades. Located in beautiful downtown Fernie, B.C., Snow Valley offers...

Phone: (250) 423-4421

View Listing

Hotels, Accessibility

Lizard Creek Lodge

Lizard Creek Lodge is in the perfect ski-in/ski-out position at Fernie Alpine Resort. The outdoor pool and hot tubs overlook the mountains. There...

Phone: (800) 258-7669

View Listing

Breweries, Distilleries & Cideries

Fernie Brewing Co.

Our Tasting Room is currently offering glasses + Growler fills + Cheers to Charity flights + packaged product + patio service. We are also...

View Listing

Hotels

Vagabond Lodge

Vagabond Lodge is a 10 Room Boutique Lodge Located at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort Golden BC. All rooms are located on the upper level of this 3...

Phone: (250) 344-2622

View Listing

Cross-Country Skiing, Paddling, Horseback Riding & Ranches, Hiking, Cabins & Cottages

Nipika Mountain Resort

Nipika Mountain Resort is an eco and adventure resort in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. It borders Kootenay National Park between Radium Hot...

Phone: (250) 342-6516

View Listing

Hiking, Cabins & Cottages

Logden Lodge

Logden Lodge is a small boutique mountain lodge at the foot of the Selkirk Mountains 20 km South of Nelson, BC, Canada. Tucked away on 42 acres of...

Phone: (250) 357-9290

View Listing

Hotels

Vagabond Lodge

Vagabond Lodge is a 10 Room Boutique Lodge Located at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort Golden BC. All rooms are located on the upper level of this 3...

Phone: (250) 344-2622

View Listing

Campgrounds & RV Parks, Cabins & Cottages

Radius Retreat

Radius is a forested mountainside retreat offering walk in and hike in Yurt rentals. We are situated on 1000 acres which are open to explore in...

View Listing

Hot Springs, Skiing & Snowboarding, Golf, Campgrounds & RV Parks, Resorts & Wilderness Lodges, Accessibility

Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, home to Canada's largest natural mineral hot springs, is a year-round destination nestled in the heart of the the...

Phone: (250) 345-6070

View Listing

Hot Springs, Campgrounds & RV Parks, Cabins & Cottages, Resorts & Wilderness Lodges, Accessibility

Halcyon Hot Springs Resort

Lake, mountains, natural hot springs, wilderness, comfort, fun and serenity... there is so much to explore at Halcyon Hot Springs Village and Spa....

Phone: (250) 265-3554

View Listing

Hotels, Campgrounds & RV Parks

Snow Valley Lodging

Snow Valley Lodging is the ultimate basecamp for your mountain escapades. Located in beautiful downtown Fernie, B.C., Snow Valley offers...

Phone: (250) 423-4421

View Listing

Hotels, Accessibility

Lizard Creek Lodge

Lizard Creek Lodge is in the perfect ski-in/ski-out position at Fernie Alpine Resort. The outdoor pool and hot tubs overlook the mountains. There...

Phone: (800) 258-7669

View Listing

Breweries, Distilleries & Cideries

Fernie Brewing Co.

Our Tasting Room is currently offering glasses + Growler fills + Cheers to Charity flights + packaged product + patio service. We are also...

View Listing

Hotels

Vagabond Lodge

Vagabond Lodge is a 10 Room Boutique Lodge Located at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort Golden BC. All rooms are located on the upper level of this 3...

Phone: (250) 344-2622

View Listing

Cross-Country Skiing, Paddling, Horseback Riding & Ranches, Hiking, Cabins & Cottages

Nipika Mountain Resort

Nipika Mountain Resort is an eco and adventure resort in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. It borders Kootenay National Park between Radium Hot...

Phone: (250) 342-6516

View Listing

Hiking, Cabins & Cottages

Logden Lodge

Logden Lodge is a small boutique mountain lodge at the foot of the Selkirk Mountains 20 km South of Nelson, BC, Canada. Tucked away on 42 acres of...

Phone: (250) 357-9290

View Listing

Hotels

Vagabond Lodge

Vagabond Lodge is a 10 Room Boutique Lodge Located at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort Golden BC. All rooms are located on the upper level of this 3...

Phone: (250) 344-2622

View Listing

Campgrounds & RV Parks, Cabins & Cottages

Radius Retreat

Radius is a forested mountainside retreat offering walk in and hike in Yurt rentals. We are situated on 1000 acres which are open to explore in...

View Listing

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