Go to the mountains, they say, to get lost and find your soul. Scramble the shoulders of giants here among the ancient crags of the Purcells and their younger sisters, the Rocky Mountains.
Surrounded by six of the most stunning national parks in Canada (Banff, Glacier, Jasper, Kootenay, Mount Revelstoke, and Yoho), Golden is an ideal place to strike out on the trail. With glaciers, forest glades, and expansive rocky vistas, here are 5-day hike ideas for your itinerary:
Perley Rock in Glacier National Park
Credit Andrew Chad
Stick close to town with Mount 7, featuring one of the most scenic views you can find of the Columbia Valley. You can drive up to the Mount 7 launch site (used by paragliders & mountain bikers) and then hike further to the summit. This 3.7 km hike has 400m of elevation gain and ends in a spectacular view of Golden and the Columbia Valley.
Pearly Rock is in Glacier National Park, famous for its exceptional alpine scenery, deep valleys, and ancient forests. Perley Rock Trail is a grueling 5.4 km hike with 1143 meters of elevation gain, but don't let that deter you! There are spectacular views nearly all the way up and, once you reach the summit, you are rewarded with an up close and personal view of the Illecillewaet glacier.
Glacier Crest Trail
Also in Glacier National Park is the Glacier Crest trail. The trail follows the valley bottom until it crosses Asulkan Creek on a raised bridge at 1.2 km. Just past the bridge, the Glacier Crest trail splits off to the left and starts climbing through the forest. Although only 5.5km in total length there is 950 meters in elevation gain. On a clear day, the view is hard to beat, and you’ll want to save time for just sitting and soaking it in. Below you to the east is the Illecillewaet Glacier, and above that the Neve. But what really gets your attention here is the looming presence of Sir Donald Mountain.
The Iceline trail is a must-do Canadian classic that is on numerous hiking lists including Explore Magazines' top 25 hikes in BC. Find this trail east of Golden in Yoho National Park, known for staggering peaks and breathtaking water features. Starting in the Yoho Valley, this trail quickly climbs to a plateau where you hike past numerous glaciers with breathtaking views of Takakkaw Falls.
Credit Jeff Bartlett
Also located in Yoho National Park, Wapta Falls is an easy stroll along a level path for 1.9 kilometers to the top of the falls. Wapta is the falls of the Kicking Horse River and is the largest on the river at about 18 meters high and 107 meters wide. From the top of the falls, a trail heads back into the forest for a bit before heading to the river and the bottom of the falls. You lose about 60 meters in elevation on the way down and regain it coming back up.
Put one (or all) of these hikes on your list to do when you visit Golden. And after a big day on the mountain come back to town and kick back at one of the local restaurants, many of which have outdoor patios so you never really have to say goodbye to the mountain views.