Nothing beats a cold shower, sipping a well-earned beer in a hot tub and then crawling into a cloud like bed with the smell of fresh mountain air after a day of hiking. While not to under play the epiceness of the mountains, there’s something to be said about being able to retreat to comfort and maybe even luxury after a day on the trail. Staging your summer hiking adventures from the base of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort will not disappoint, the variety of adventures will keep you busy for days on end! From winding valley bottom hikes to alpine traverses this list should keep you going for a while, especially with a refreshing nightly reset.
KICKING HORSE MOUNTAIN RESORT HIKES
Taking the gondola up is a great way to gain quick alpine access and will make for a rewarding hike in any direction. Not to mention the option to end with a decadent bite at the tallest restaurant in Canada, Eagles Eye Restaurant. Here are few hikes available from the top of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.
Terminator RIDGE + PEAK
Head towards the marked CPR Ridge trail, which we also recommend doing as a separate hike, more info below. Follow the signs south for Terminator. You’ll cross under the gondola and pop out on the wide ridge walk. The summer reveals the shear ruggedness of the Purcell Mountains, hard to believe most ski this with ease in winter! Keep walking until you see a sign to the east for Terminator Peak. Prepare for ropes, boulders and careful footing as you push up to this iconic Kicking Horse Mountain Resort Peak. Take in the elevated views of the resort, base, town of Golden and surrounding valley, it’s a breath taker!
Alternatively you could experience Terminator Peak by signing up for the Via Ferrata course, definitely the more adrenaline-pumping route!
Recommended to add on after completing Terminator Peak for the full experience but can be accessed with out first visiting the peak. From the gondola head towards CPR ridge and cut right onto the labeled Terminator Ridge trail, continue on the ridgeline past the Terminator Peak trail. As you pass behind the bulk of Terminator peak you’ll be exposed to terrific views off the back of Kicking Horse Mountain, take it all in before you head up, up and away. Stay left on the winding trail complete with rock staircases to the top of T2 Peak. Arriving at the tranquil alpine meadow summit you’ll be greeted by the seemingly endless views of the Columbia Wetlands and beneath your feet the town of Golden BC.
CPR RIDGE / BOWL OVER / IT’S A TEN
Centrally located this astonishing ridgeline lets you see it all. From the top of the gondola wander down CPR Ridge as far as comfortable, but we recommend a loop instead of a there and back for a change of scenery.
Bowl Over CPR Loop: At the end of CPR Ridge cross under the gondola at tower 15 and begin the hike up Bowl Over. You’ll get glimpses of a seasonal tarn and surely enjoy the elevation gain through the wild flowers and scattered trees. The final steep will have you in perfect shape for a beer on the patio of Eagles Eye.
It’s A Ten CPR Loop: A the end of CPR Ridge head towards Crystal Bowl on It’s A Ten. Be cautious of bikers as they also share this route and have the right of way. Enjoy the smooth wide trail and admire the meadows below and peaks above from the wild open basin trail.
Note that these can be linked in any direction, as all trails are two-way. You can also do It’s a Ten to Bowl Over and skip CPR Ridge, but trust us, you don’t want to miss it, it’s stunning.
DOGTOOTH RIDGE + TRAVERSE
From the top of the gondola head towards Crystal Bowl on It’s A Ten road. After a short 200m you’ll veer left at the Y intersection. Here you’ll gain a familiar winter peak opening views to the west side of the resort and beyond. A view only accessed from this hike, it’s unique and often one of the quieter hikes.
For those craving a multi day or one really, really, really big day, you can extend your hike from here and cover the entire Dog Tooth Range. You’ll need a car waiting for you at the opposite end, maps, backcountry communication and your own beta to conquer this not so well worn route. No doubt here that your preparation will be rewarded with pure mountain bliss as you walk in the wild side of ridges and peaks before descending back into the valley.
HIKES NEAR KICKING HORSE MOUNTAIN RESORT
So you’ve checked all the resort hikes and are craving more? These recommendations will have you covered.
A relatively easy hike with unbelievable views! High clearance vehicles are advised to reach the trailhead off of the Dogtooth Forest Service Road. From the end of the road it is 3.3km and 290 meters of elevation again through a mature forest and boulder field before you’ll find the pristine Gorman Lake! An outhouse, picnic tables and a canoe await your arrival and provide a perfect place for lunch and an afternoon of peak scrambling. Extend your hike my walking the circumference of the Lake or by hiking up and over to Holt Lakes. Please be respectful of the canoe so it remains a treat for all to enjoy for years to come.
DAWN MOUNTAIN SKI TRAILS
Over 25km of trails wind the base of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort offering endless loops, connections and valley strolls. Choose the length of your wander by studying the map outside the closed lodge. The bears love these berry filled trails too, so be sure to pack the bear spray, bring some pals and make some noise.
Connect all 4 Cedar Lakes by following a series of trails. Maps are available at the visitor center in Golden. The daring will enjoy the rope swing and all will welcome a dip in the lakes on a hot day. A sign on the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort access road will show you the entrance to the Cedar Lakes trails. 500 meters form the junction is a parking lot. Please note these trails are multi purpose and bikers use them frequently.
There’s no shame in down days. When your body begs for shoes other than hikers explore the list of possibilities!
- Frisbee Golf is the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors with out spending all day on your feet.
- Meet Boo the Grizzly Bear.
- Adrenaline junkies will love taking a whirl on the bike trails.
- Swim at Cedar Lake.
- Check out the Tourism Golden event calendar for live music or other town happenings.
Words & Photos by Abby Cooper
Did you know, the best opportunity to see a bear is actually outside of Banff National Park? Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is the best place to see a Bear, in fact, it’s guaranteed! Not only can you visit Boo, the resident bear at Kicking Horse there are a variety of other activities that will make you wondering why you didn’t plan your whole trip to Kicking Horse and plan a day trip to Banff instead of vice versa! But don’t worry, if you already have your trip planned to Banff this summer, Golden is just a hop, skip and a short car ride away!
Peek at Boo
See a Bear up close, living his best life at the largest enclosed Grizzly Bear habitat in the world at Kicking Horse. Boo was rescued as a cub after his mother was killed by a poacher, through growing up at Kicking Horse we’ve had the unique opportunity to observe a Grizzly Bears life and learn a whole lot about them. When you visit Boo you’re likely to see him following one of his rangers (who serve as tour guide) as they pace besides his enclosure and lead you along with them or you might catch him lazily lying around his very own pond on a warmer day. Boo has been known to desire a rendezvous with the ladies and one time even managed to get out of his enclosure to find himself a girlfriend. Alas, Bears are solitary creatures and only interact with others typically during mating season, so Boo came back on his own to live his life of luxury at his forever home on the Kicking Horse slopes.
Mountain Top Dining
There’s almost nothing that comes close to comparing the experience of dining at Eagle’s Eye Restaurant at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. It’s the highest elevated restaurant in Canada, located at the top of our Gondola at 7,700 ft! Not only can you see the view of 6 National parks, you can enjoy amazing Canadian dishes and drinks with a fancy flair (you don’t want to miss the poutine or the Caesar’s here, promise).
Not only is Eagle’s Eye open for lunch during the summer, it’s also open for a special night of stargazing during the Perseid Meteor shower, can be booked for weddings and special events and even has exclusive suites you can stay at with a 24-hour butler on hand.
If you’re looking for a real adventure in the mountains, the Via Ferrata is for you! You don’t have to be an experienced rock climber to complete this incredible expedition, in fact, you don’t have to have any experience at all! To conquer the Via Ferrata you just need to have desire for a fun challenge (mixed in with a bit of bravery as well). Don’t be intimidated by the pictures or even when you’re on the way up the Gondola and can see the course, literally on the side of the rock face looming in the distance. The Via Ferrata is perfectly manageable, using fixed iron rungs to guide you along. Not only will you feel an amazing sense of accomplishment when you finish this trek you’ll also have some serious bragging rights when you tell your friends and family you’ve hung off the side of a rock (plus photo proof if you dare take out your phone at those heights). If I can do it, you can do it!
This still isn’t all there is to take in at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and Golden, B.C. this summer, there’s also breathtaking ridgewalk hikes and sightseeing (see main photo), an award winning mountain bike park (downhill and cross country trails available), pop up farmers markets, fly fishing, horseback riding or kayaking (to name just a few).
Boo | Kyle Edworthy
Drink | Emile Lavoie
Via Ferrata | Lisa Roddick
Something I’ve learned about myself is that I rarely turn down an opportunity for adventure. When Kicking Horse Mountain called and wanted me to climb ‘Terminator Peak’ and cross a swaying suspension bridge, I answered.
I have never done much climbing. I mean, I have climbed mountains and bagged a couple summits; but this was no ordinary climb. This type of climb is called “Via Ferrata” which means “iron path” in Italian. I have done this type of climb only before but our route for this trip is positioned as “The Most Exhilarating Via Ferrata in Western Canada” and we were heading to the summit of Kicking Horse Mountain.
Before we began climbing everyone goes through a short but informative training session on how to use the climbing gear. Via Ferrata climbing is a little different than normal rock climbing in that you are always harnessed in but have to be responsible for your own technique up the mountain. It is simple stuff, you just have to be conscious and aware – which isn’t tough because when you’re up there, you are 100% involved in what you’re doing. No distractions; my mind was fully focused on the task. It didn’t take long for all of us to get comfortable with the provided gear so we started out by trekking the ridgeline high above Kicking Horse and the town of Golden, BC. After a short hike you arrive at the swaying suspension bridge… No matter how many times I’ve been on these types of bridges I still get swept by a wave of excitement. Step by step I crossed the wooden planks as the bridge swung from side to side. One thing to keep in mind is you are literally safe all the time, and you are harnessed into cables that are bolted into the mountain.
*Learn more about Kicking Horse Mountain’s Via Ferrata climb here.*
As we climbed onward and upward we were able to take short breaks to chat with one another, watch others and their technique, take photos of each other (obviously selfies) and get to know one another. Honestly, I thought more people would be freaked out but our entire group was comfortable, laughing and we all became friends within the first hour. There were even kids with us and they were doing great! One thing I noticed from the youth with us was they were HAPPY. Like, genuinely. It was pure adventure to them and it was wonderful to hang out with some young people who enjoyed the outdoors.
Speaking of people who enjoy (or live for) the outdoors – our guide Jackie wasn’t just a guide, she became our friends. Jackie O is as fun as they come. Jackie (or any Guides) can be instrumental in any activity or trip in the mountains, and she never let us go forward with doubt. She was super supportive, skilled, had a fun-cheeky attitude and ultimately had a positive outlook on life and adventure.
This route up the mountain was called the Ascension route and takes 4.0 hours to complete. After the morning of climbing we all peaked the summit and had some time to give high-fives and at this stage we were all hugging each other in joy. I won’t ever forget it.
For me, this activity is high on my list for exhilarating mountain fun that just about anyone can do. My sense of excitement was non-stop all the way up to the summit. I can’t wait to climb it again – see you up on the suspension bridge this season!
From KH website: “465 meters of pure bliss! Starting off the ridge-line dividing the Rocky Mountain trench from the Purcell range, and exiting at the top of Terminator Peak, the ASCENSION Route is a truly unique beast. From the climbers’ mouth, this course is one of the most technical & scenic in North America. Discover our signature “Guts Bridge” and stand on top of the world, feeling that you summited a giant!”
Learn more about Kicking Horse Mountain’s Via Ferrata climb here.
Make our playground your office!
Ever looked up at the mountains and thought you should drop everything and live there? Well, stop waiting and jump into a new adventure with us! Make the beautiful scenery of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort your office full time office. The Eagle’s Eye Restaurant, located at the summit of the resort, is the highest restaurant in Canada. We are currently hiring for both Kitchen & Front of House staff.
Your morning commute is a 15 minute Gondola ride, that will elevate you to 7’700ft, with 360 degree views of some of the most stunning landscapes that Canada has to offer. Work with a likeminded, high energy, passionate team of people that came here to live the dream.
Working at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort comes with great advantages including free access to our lifts for hiking, biking, and visiting the grizzly bear, discounts in local restaurants & shops, reciprocal discounts to other mountains in BC, and more! Visit our employment page (find link below) to view details & positions available. Fire us your resume and we’ll get back to you shortly.
Stop waiting and start living your dream now! Meanwhile, catch us on the trails… if you can!
-KHMR Employment Team
KHMR Celebrates Canada 150: 4 sports, 1 bowl, 1 cinematic shot
Canada’s turning 150 this year, and here at Kicking Horse we wanted to create a visual piece as a tribute to our country. Create a meaningful visual piece that could illustrate what we live for. Why we live here. Why we all think Canada is a beautiful place to live.
There’s a strong outdoor community here in Golden BC, with tons of highly motivated, extremely rad and borderline super-humans that live and breathe for extreme outdoor sports & to get that adrenaline rush. They live for it and don’t feel the need to yell it out loud from a roof top. There is no game, no BS, just some genuine, authentic folks that just want to get out & do it to fulfill their passion, not to get likes on Instagram.
To celebrate Canada’s 150 birthday properely, our Via Ferrata Manager, Nick Comstock pitched the idea of doing a video that will include all the sports you can do at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in 1 single shot, at the same time in the same alpine bowl. So we rounded up our rowdiest folks from Mountain Safety, Trail Crew & Summer Guides to throw down a sweet video dedicated to our beautiful country, to this off the grid little town that has it all.
Make sure to turn your volume up and to hit that HD button!
-KHMR Media Team
Golden, B.C is a gorgeous mountain town, well known for being an adventure capital with a variety of outdoor activities just outside your doorstep in both winter and summer. One of Golden’s (only slightly) lesser known facts is that it’s also ‘at the heart’ of 6 National Parks. This year, with everyone being able to visit all our parks in Canada for free in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday there’s never been a better time to plan a road trip to Golden and it’s surrounding parks!
So exactly which National Parks can you get to easily from Golden?
- Mt. Revelstoke National Park
Approximately 1.5 hour drive from Golden
What to do: Travel on the Meadows in the Sky Parkway, only open for the few months in the summer without any snow, its a gorgeous drive with lots of photo opportunities along the way. Take a shuttle bus to the summit for hiking and to see the historic firetower at the top.
What to see: Lots of wildlife including bears, moose, wolverines, mountain goats and even bats.
Fun Fact: home to one of the few inland temperate rainforests in the world
- Glacier National Park
Approximately 40 minute drive from Golden
What to do: Walk or hike along one of the many trails in the area, a large variety of levels offers something for the veteran hikers as well as shorter ones for people seeking a more casual adventure
What to see: Really old trees – take a stroll through the Hemlock Grove Boardwalk built in between ancient hemlock trees
Fun Fact: home to one of Canada’s largest cave systems
- Banff National Park
Approximately 1 hour drive from Golden
What to do: Walk through/around the historic Banff Spring Hotel, built in the 19th century or visit Chateau Lake Louise, one of the most photographed spots in Canada
What to see: Amazing mountain views, abundance of wildlife and a quaint town
Fun Fact: Canada’s first National Park
- Jasper National Park
Approximately 2.5 hour drive from Golden
What to do: The Glacier Skywalk. One of the newest attractions in the 6 parks, the Glacier Skywalk is an amazing glass floor lookout jutting out from the cliff edge
What to see: The highest mountain in Alberta – Mount Columbia
Fun Fact: one of Canada’s largest national parks
- Kootenay National Park
Approximately a 1 hour drive from Golden
What to do: Relax in the Radium Hot Springs or camp in oTENTiks (tent/cabin combos)
What to see: With an abundance of waterfalls, rivers, grasslands and glaciers there’s something to see around every corner in Kootenay National Park whether you’re walking or driving.
Fun Fact: is a UNESCO World Heritage site in part because of the fossils found in the area
- Yoho National Park
Approximately 20 minute drive from Golden
What to do: See Takakkaw Falls, 384 m high the Takakkaw falls are some of the highest in Canada, accessible from June – October hike right to the base of the falls for an amazing experience. It’s no wonder Yoho is a Cree word meaning ‘of awe and wonder’
What to see: Emerald Lake – names for it’s unique turquoise colour cause by powdered limestone
Fun fact: the park was created after Canada’s first Prime Minister John. A Macdonald and his wife toured through on the new Railway, he created the park along with Glacier National Park upon returning home.
We woke up, peeled back the blinds to a foggy interior BC morning. I loved it. The beauty of the fog rolling through the ancient trees and over the Canadian Rockies was breath taking. We packed up the truck and headed for Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, well… first a coffee, and then headed for Kicking Horse. As we drove up the winding road to the resort I got a little nervous. There were a few butterflies hammering around in my stomach, but nothing out of the usual. I get so stoked every time we pull up to rad resorts like Kicking Horse Mountain Resort – you know good things are to come.
We had roped ourselves into the ‘Via Ferrata’. This all started when we saw pictures online of people climbing epic routes up monster faces, and apparently anyone can do it… so we got on the horn and lined it up. Tell you the truth, we had to google what that the name even meant. Via Ferrata is Italian for “iron road”, often associated with helping move troops in the First World War through the Dolomite mountain range of Italy. It was designed to help those who had no climbing experience to be able to navigate those rocky climbs. Climbers secure themselves to a cable, limiting any fall. Along with the cable, additional climbing aids are provided, such as iron rungs (stemples), pegs, carved steps and even ladders and bridges are provided. This sounded unreal, we couldn’t wait.
Making our way to the Via Ferrata we walked along this amazing ridge at the top of Kicking Horse. Clouds parted and the sun came out, revealing an absolutely epic view of a thousand surrounding mountains came into view. We all stopped, it was entrancing. After a few photos and necessary selfies we carried on.
At the entrance to the Via Ferrata we slide our carabiners onto the cable. Game time. First was the suspension bridge, ‘Hanging Glory’. With merely two 2×6’s underneath you and two cables to steady yourself we made our way from one ridge to another… the ground was a long way down. It was thrilling. Our team moved on to climb the route starting small but soon making our way to the mammoth 465 meter rock face. The steel rungs definitely make this route accessible for everyone, it was incredible how easy this made climbing. This style of climbing allowed us to access a spot we never thought we could get to, and we did it safely. Halfway up we were already making plans to come back and do this again. As we we neared the middle of the climb we paused, it felt like we were in a movie. We were halfway up this wild, iconic route I never thought of tackling, sitting on the face of this massive peak. We felt pretty badass.
As we reached the top we were all exhilarated – sweating, catching our breath, high fiving and hugging. Our team had pushed through pre-conceived notions of fear and physical ability to prove to themselves they were capable of more. The feeling of accomplishment as we summited the peak was incredible. We all stood there in awe taking in our triumph as we enjoyed the view from the top.
This summer step out of your comfort zone and experience first-hand exposure in a safe environment, while soaking in the majestic views of the Rockies and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. The experienced and friendly guides will cater to your level, whether you are a lead climber or a never-ever in search of an adrenaline fix.
I highly recommend that adventurers of all ages try your hand at the Via Ferrata.
Check out the video to see more of the experience;
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, widely known as the ‘Champagne Powder Capital of Canada’, is now gaining recognition for being a leader in real estate and mountain architecture as well. The Cedars is Kicking Horse’s premiere ongoing real estate development, with construction of the first home starting in the fall of 2014, lots are still available to purchase. The purchase of a mountain lot, managed through RCR Realty, offers ownership of a high energy efficient state of the art mountain modern, semi detached home (breathtaking views and easy access to the slopes included).
Recently featured in several highly regarded design publications, The Cedars as well as other private homes in Kicking Horse are receiving worldwide acknowledgment as a high end, luxurious mountain development.
Articles featuring the home designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson who designs all the Apple stores as well as residences for many well known clients such as Bill Gates;
Other features this property and Kicking Horse have been included in;
- 10 of the best cabin in the Canadian woods on dezeen.com
- The Most Fabulous Houses of 2014 on fastcodesign.com
- The 10 Best Houses of 2014 on metropolis.com
Publications featuring other properties at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort;
- dwell.com – Mountain Home
- mountainliving.com – A British Columbia Home They Call the Wolves’ Den
- westernliving.ca – Inside a luxe, Hygge-Inspired Alpine Getaway
It’s snack time for Boo the Bear. Ross Prather approaches with a bucket of fish carcasses and kitchen compost. It’s a hot summer’s day and Boo has found a shady spot among the fir trees to laze away the afternoon. However the scent of a snack gets his attention; a grizzly’s sense of smell is so acute it can detect an animal carcass more than 30 kms away upwind. Under normal circumstances such proximity would be perilous – man with bucket of food, hungry 275 kg grizzly bear steps away – if it wasn’t for the electric fence separating the two.
Boo the Bear has made his home at Kicking Horse Grizzly Bear Interpretive Centre since first arriving in 2003, when he was orphaned after his mother was shot by a poacher. Over the years Prather, refuge manager, has gotten to know this wise old bear well. The specially built, 10-hectare fenced enclosure, found on the Eagle Express Gondola lift line and accessed in summer via the Catamount chairlift, provides a natural habitat for Boo, with forest, meadows and a running stream.
Ursus arctos horribilis – the grizzly’s Latin name is enough to strike fear into the hearts of even the most seasoned wilderness traveler. However the opportunity to observe this animal up close is a thrilling experience, enabling visitors like my family and I to better understand grizzly behavior and ecology with the help of Prather and his staff. At times Boo stays deep within the confines of his enclosure, perhaps eating dandelions and digging for springtime bulbs in a meadow, or hunting for squirrel or marmots. However when curiosity gets the best of him, or the dinner bell rings, he approaches the fence. We’re lucky today. Boo lumbers out of the forest, snout pointing upward, his powerful shoulders rippling, lustrous silver-brown fir gleaming in the sun. It’ hard to overcome the urge to retreat as Boo comes close, but the fence keeps us safe.
A male grizzly typically ranges a territory of between 350 and 800 square kms, but Boo seems content with his home at Kicking Horse Resort – for the most part. Occasionally his urge has gotten the best of him.
“Boo gets a little randy in springtime,” Prather says, adding that he has left his enclosure a few times in the past in search of a mate.
However he always comes back.
Meal time is over. A horsefly buzzes courageously nearby and Boo shakes his massive head. Oblivious to my family and I observing from a few metres away, he strides the fence line before angling back into the forest and finding a nice muddy pool in which to cool himself. He lowers into the brown water, rolls from side to side, then emerges again, fir dripping with water, then disappears into the cool of the forest. Life is good for Boo and we’re thrilled to share a few moments with him.
Disclaimer – Andrew visited Kicking Horse Mountain Resort to see Boo in 2016, Ross has since left his position with Nicole Gangnon taking over as Grizzly Bear Ranger Manager. Visit Kicking Horse this winter to see Nicole and her team caring for Boo.