“Do you know you can get to six of Canada’s national parks in no more than two hours from Golden?”
I give Hubby my ‘that absolutely cannot be true’ look. I throw in an eyeball roll for good measure. Known for his relentless collection of trivia I am certain this time he is wrong.
“That’s impossible! Are you saying you can drive to six Canadian national parks from Golden or you can fly a helicopter to six of Canada’s national parks from Golden?”
After more than three decades of marriage I am on to his clever ways.
Google maps steps up as Hubby’s assistant. “See right here! From Golden you can drive to Glacier, Mt. Revelstoke, Yoho, Kootenay, Jasper and wait for it…. Banff National Park!”
He smiles with satisfaction. He and buddy Google illustrate the driving routes in minutes right before my eyes. Such a brilliant pair they are.
I have a confession to make. For decades I scoffed at the naming of the town Golden, British Columbia. A gas station stop on family holidays from Calgary to Canada’s west coast, the highway collection of businesses seemed to have a serious case of overstating itself.
With a squirming toddler tucked under an arm or years later a ‘when-will-we-get-there-shoulder-slumping-teenager, the strong java and convenient snacks were the best things this harried parent could ask for.
The fact that six of the best of Canada’s national parks surrounded Golden was no where to be found on my busy Mom radar.
Perhaps in one of the largest examples of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ humble learnings, the true Golden recently revealed itself. Tucked in a sweeping valley, the town of Golden quietly hides leaving it’s highway businesses to welcome tourists passing through.
However once within the town visitors are greeted quaint and colourful restaurants and boutique shops, large art murals, pretty park spaces, turquoise rivers and a world class ski resort. Notably absent is the rush and noise of tour buses.
Apparently they, like I, have no idea about the quiet mountain gem.
How did Golden get its name?
David Thompson, a jack of all trades map maker, explorer and fur trader arrived first in 1807. In an epic effort threading his way through the Canadian Rockies in search of a route to the Pacific Ocean, he came to the junction of the Kicking Horse and Columbia rivers.
In 1881 surveyor A.B. Rogers was hired by the Canadian Pacific Railway. If you think your job is tough, Rogers was handed the task of finding a way to get a train through the Rocky and Selkirk mountain ranges.
He established a camp for his crew in the area Thompson had been some 70 plus years earlier naming it ‘The Cache’. When a nearby lumber camp took on the title Silver City, not to be outdone, the residents of the Cache renamed their town Golden. Take that Silver City!
Six Mountain Marvels – Canada’s National Parks Near Golden
In 2017 admission to Canada’s National Parks will be free. In celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, fees to the national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas are waived.
Glacier National Park
The birthplace of North American mountaineering, Glacier National Park is also home to some of Canada’s most fascinating transportation stories. Roger’s Pass, a world renowned ski touring destination, is most famous for its history in the country’s first railway route through the once thought impenetrable mountain peaks.
Yoho National Park
In Golden’s backyard, Yoho National Park boasts 28 mountain peaks higher than 3000 m (9842 ft) and hiking trails totally 400km ( 249 mi). A World Heritage Site, the Burgess Shale is one of the world’s most important fossil fields with soft body preservation of marine ecosystems dating back 508 million years.
Mt. Revelstoke National Park
With snow deeper than 5 metres (16 feet) each winter, Mt. Revelstoke National Park is a winter activity paradise. In summer walk in the old-growth interior rain forest of the Giant Cedars and the mountain top explosion of wildflowers in mid August.
Kootenay National Park
Glaciers to hot springs, canyons to waterfalls Kootenay National Park is big on diversity. Walk with cacti in the sweeping valleys and stand awestruck at viewpoints of snow capped mountains.
Banff National Park
The birthplace and most famous of Canada’s national parks is Banff. Spanning 6641 square kms (2,564 square mi), this Canadian jewel sprawls with mountains, glaciers, rivers, valleys, forests and meadows.
Jasper National Park
One of the largest and oldest, Jasper National Park provides a laid back mountain experience. With one of the largest Dark Sky Preserves on earth and over 1000 kms of hiking trails, Jasper carries the nickname the Gentle Giant.
So it turns out Hubby was right and I was wrong. Don’t tell him I said so.
Come take a walk with us below to see Golden. Just click on the video and we will meet you there!
“Did I tell you Golden also is near three provincial parks?”
I tell you it is like being married to an encyclopedia.