Last Updated on January 11, 2024
Located in British Columbia, there is an adventure town that serves as an exceptional hub for exploring not one, not two, but a total of SIX Canadian National Parks! Among these, five are within a convenient two-hour drive, while the remaining one requires just a bit over two hours of travel time to the park entrance.
The adventure town of Golden, BC is at the heart of the Canadian Rockies, with plenty of adventure opportunities year-round. It’s bordered by the Columbia River and the Rocky Mountains, making it a prime location for outdoor enthusiasts, and is sometimes referred to as “the valley of a thousand peaks”.
Golden offers endless opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, skiing, snowmobiling, whitewater rafting, the famous Golden Skybridge, and more. With six national parks within close proximity, visitors can easily explore and experience different ecosystems and landscapes.
Golden is “at the heart” of these SIX National Parks:
Yoho National Park
(25 minute drive from Golden)
Yoho National Park, the closest park to Golden, offers stunning views of rocky mountain peaks, turquoise lakes and powerful waterfalls. It is a park that many drive by, without knowing the gems it holds. Emerald Lake is a perfect spot for photography with its vibrant emerald coloring, while the Burgess Shale Fossil Beds are a must-visit for any paleontology enthusiasts. Takakkaw Falls is the largest waterfall in the Canadian Rockies, and so easily accessible! It offers a myriad of opportunities for sightseeing and hiking, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts.
The park encompasses a portion of the majestic Rocky Mountains, bordering both Banff and Kootenay National Parks. Two key attractions within the park are the captivating Yoho Valley and the picturesque Kicking Horse River area. Conveniently, the Trans-Canada Highway traverses through the park, ensuring easy accessibility for visitors.
Banff National Park
(1 hour and 45 minute drive from Golden)
Don’t write off Banff National Park because of the crowds. It may be the most popular Canadian National Park, but it’s popular for a reason.
The park is home to the famous Moraine Lake, Lake Louise and iconic Banff Townsite. Take a soak in the famous hot springs, or hop on the gondola for amazing views, among numerous other attractions. The park boasts soaring mountains, crystal-clear lakes and abundant wildlife. Start your day early to avoid some of the crowds if you’re visiting during the summer months.
Kootenay National Park
(1 hour and 15 minute drive from Golden)
Experience the beauty of Kootenay National Park, home to rugged mountains and unique hot springs. Here you can relax in Radium Hot Springs or have the freedom to explore wide open, beautiful spaces with a mountain backdrop.
Discover the enchanting allure of the park with its vibrant mineral pools, including a captivating orange one! Embark on a journey through more than 200 kilometres (125 miles) of breathtaking hiking trails, majestic cliffs, picturesque canyons, lush forests, and awe-inspiring valleys.
Immerse yourself in the park’s wonders by driving through its scenic routes, making delightful stops along the way, and creating unforgettable memories. Marble Canyon, Stanley Glacier Trail, and the Paint Pots are all must-see locations in Kootenay National Park.
Jasper National Park
(2 hours 15 minute drive from Golden)
As Canada’s largest national park, Jasper is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. From hiking and camping in the summer to skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, there’s always something to do. Jasper also has the world’s second largest dark sky preserve.
When you visit Jasper, you also do not want to miss one of the most beautiful drives in the world, the Icefield’s Parkway, that connects the town of Lake Louise in Banff to Jasper National Park. Don’t miss a chance to see the stunning Athabasca Falls, one of the most photographed waterfalls in Canada. You can also go sightseeing in a vintage automobile, and take a boat tour of Maligne Lake.
Glacier National Park
(40 minute drive from Golden)
Glacier National Park serves as a sanctuary for the majestic Selkirk and Purcell Mountains, the towering peaks within the Columbia Mountain system of southeastern British Columbia. Nestled within the park lies Rogers Pass, a historic site marking the pivotal connection of the Trans-Canada Highway. Not far from this significant landmark is The Last Spike, where the completion of the railway in 1885 united Canada’s dispersed settlements.
Glacier is renowned for its pioneering spirit. Not only was it the first national park in British Columbia (and the second in all of Canada – following Banff), but it also served as the birthplace of recreational mountain climbing in North America in 1888, introduced by two British mountaineers. Today, mountaineering enthusiasts and back country hikers continue to traverse the paths blazed by legendary Swiss guides over a century ago, cementing its legacy of innovation and adventure.
Bear Creek Falls is not only one of the easiest hikes in Glacier National Park, but it’s also one of our favourites. However, be mindful that the pull-off can be easily overlooked, so stay alert and keep your eyes peeled!
Mount Revelstoke National Park
(2 hour drive from Golden)
Experience the beauty of Mount Revelstoke National Park, home to towering peaks and stunning wildflower meadows. Take a 26km drive on the Meadows in the Sky Parkway for incredible views at their world-renowned wildflower meadows, unique lookouts and roadside attraction hikes (like the Nels Nelsen ski jump or historic fire lookout), or hike up to Miller Lake or Eva Lake or for a little more quiet.
Don’t forget to make a special stop to ride the pipe mountain coaster too – in operation during the summer months. Also, the Enchanted Forest and Three Valley Gap nearby are great stops for the kids, or kids at heart.
Don’t Forget Your Parks Canada Pass
Don’t forget to grab a Parks Canada Pass! Whether you’re planning a quick visit or an extended stay, these passes are a must-have. Daily passes start at just $10.50 CAD per adult, but if you’re looking for more bang for your buck, consider the Discovery Pass. For around $72.25 CAD (adult) or $145.25 (family/group up to seven), you’ll enjoy unlimited access to all national parks for an entire year. Free admission for youth 17 and under. Plus, you can conveniently purchase it online and have it mailed directly to you. This is especially convenient if you’re interested in exploring all six of these National Parks. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the beauty of these incredible parks!
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