The Kootenays are world famous for its winters but if you venture beyond the powder-filled ski hills, you’ll find a host of stunning, remote and adventure-filled provincial parks.
Below is a selection of the best provincials parks, in the Kootenays of British Columbia, you need to visit to celebrate Canada 150.
Bugaboo Provincial Park
The excellently named Bugaboo Provincial Park is the first park on our list. Encompassing the Bugaboo mountain range, the provincial park is a haven for mountaineers and climbers. It is also the location of the Conrad Kain (managed by the Alpine Club of Canada). Conrad Kain was a renowned Austrian guide who pioneered climbs in the Purcell Mountains, including Bugaboo Spire in 1916.
Valhalla Provincial Park
Valhalla is not only the Nordic heaven, it is only the name of a kick-ass provincial park in the West Kootenays.
Established in 1983, Valhalla Provincial Park is found on the Western shore of Slocan Lake and included the Valhalla Range of the Selkirk Mountains.
The park is remote and not easily accessible. Making it popular with backcountry enthusiasts and climbers. Valhalla was featured in the excellent Sweetgrass Productions ski movie of the same name.
Top of the World Provincial Park
The name of this beautiful provincial park is very apt, for most of the park is 1,800 metres (5,940ft) and higher. I first heard of Top of the World Provincial Park while visiting nearby Whiteswan Provincial Park and the Lussier Hot Springs. Top of the World is a rough and remote park with access either Whiteswan or Ram Creek.
Elk Lakes Provincial Park
Found within the deepest western range of the Southern Rocky Mountains, Elk Lakes Provincial Park is a wild and unforgiving place. Distinguishable by a sub-alpine landscape, old glaciers, rugged peaks and glistening lakes. Elk Lakes is easily accessible but seldom visited.
Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park
This is the most inaccessible provincial park on our list. Nestled between the tourist staple of Banff National Park and equally the beautiful Kootenay National Park is Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park. This small (39sq km) provincial park is part of the Rockies’ Unesco World Heritage Site.
The Towering peak of Mt Assiniboine (3618m) is often called Canada’s Matterhorn. The area is a calling point for climbers, backcountry hikers and ski tourers. The park has no road access and the quickest route is via Alberta’s Sunshine Village in Banff National Park.