Golden Part 2: Hiking, Kayaking and Dining
If you go to Golden BC, you'll be surrounded by six national parks, ensuring you won't miss out on any outdoor adventures or stunning mountain views!
On the Way to Golden
After all of our fun in Revelstoke, we continued past Mount Revelstoke National Park on the way to Golden and, within 35 minutes, arrived at Glacier National Park Canada. We found a short hike, Hemlock Grove Boardwalk, in the rainforest right off the road. The cool and lush forest was a lovely treat on this warm summer day. After our invigorating walk, we continued our drive towards Golden. The views along the highway made it hard to keep my eyes on the road. We continued to enjoy the views and noticed so many places to access trails. We knew we were going to want to come back again!
Brews and a Walk
When we arrived in Golden, we decided to start our visit with a cool refreshing beverage, so we headed over to the tasting room at the Whitetooth Brewing Company. We first checked them out when they opened in 2016; it was great to be back. I liked the Backyard Bivouac Pilsner made with Belgium Pilsner malt. It was crisp and had a good body. I was happy to see this is available year-round. Also available year-round - the Thread The Needle Witbier, which was my next one. It has some light spice notes that I really liked. My wife enjoyed the Blower Pow, a Pacific Northwest-style IPA, and we decided to take some with us. I'm usually not a big fan of IPAs, but this was very enjoyable, not too hoppy, and very refreshing.
We checked into our accommodations at the Rooms at the Riveredge. Our large, bright room was right along the Kicking Horse River. Also, it was an easy walk along the paved River Walk on the bank of the Kicking Horse to the great restaurants in this mountain community. We walked a short distance and crossed the river on the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge. This put us on the south side of the river, and if we wanted, we could walk towards Confluence Park, a little over one mile away on a mostly gravel path. This is all part of the Rotary Trail, which is 4.3 miles. Confluence Park is where the Kicking Horse River merges into the Columbia River.
Golden has a fantastic variety of great dining, all within a short walk from our central location. Ethos Bakery & Café was our first breakfast in town and is a relatively new place. This was a big hit. The hearty and filling Breaky Roll was a great day starter with thick sliced bacon, tomato confit, aged cheddar, smashed potato, and a free-range egg frittata. It was served on a brioche bun and was delicious. Elizabeth ordered the Pear and Fennel Crostini –a bit lighter and equally delicious. The Pear and Fennel Crostini was served on crunchy sourdough with sweet juicy slices of pear and savory fennel and anise flavors. It was topped with honey-whipped goat cheese and garnished with edible flowers. It was as lovely to look at as it was delicious to eat!
Wandering Fern Café was our day-two breakfast and was another great hit. It is a relatively new restaurant. The storefront opened in December 2022; before that, owner Jamie Froats had a mobile service since 2019. She has perfected her trade – as evidenced by the delicious latte and the Salmon Toast with cream cheese that made up my morning breakfast. What made this so good was the light sprinkle of lemon juice, cracked pepper, and dill with some greens. Elizabeth was delighted with her Smashed Avocado Toast. The toast with fresh avocado was topped with microgreens, olive oil, lemon juice, and toasted almond truffle.
We were very active (see below), which is good since we needed to burn some calories, given all the excellent food we enjoyed. For lunch, we went to The Island Restaurant on Gould's Island, which sits in the middle of the Kicking Horse River. A great location for patio sitting on this beautiful summer day!
I was looking for a veggie dish, and the Chickpea Artichoke Cakes with salsa and raspberry poppyseed salad delivered a fresh and healthy lunch. The refreshing salad my wife ordered was a winner! Pan Seared Mango Salsa Prawn Salad with beets and topped off with a miso vinaigrette. She had claimed that she was not hungry. However, she ate the entire salad, and of course, nothing was offered to me. But I was thrilled with my dish.
Eleven 22 was our last meal in Golden, and just like our visit during a previous trip, we had another outstanding dinner. Our last visit was in 2016, and we were impressed with the menu and food quality. Well, they delivered again! The Dragon Boat was an outstanding seafood platter swimming with mussels, scallops, and prawns topped with their famous paprika sauce. Since my last several meals were veggie-based, I was ready to switch gears and went with their AAA NY Steak. The steak was so tender and was topped with their famous paprika butter sauce. It was wonderful—the epitome of excellence and consistency.
Glacier Raft Company was our ticket for a ride through class 4 rapids. The three-hour guided raft trip on the Kicking Horse River was a highlight of our trip. After an extensive safety talk, we were ready to ride the waves. And there were a lot of waves! I have never had such an exhilarating and scenic experience on the water. You can check out this video by Glacier Raft Company. Truly beyond words, and when we return to Golden, this will be the first thing I sign up for again.
Want a tamer boating experience? There are many options. The stunning Emerald Lake is in Yoho National Park, about an hour outside Golden. We didn't get a chance to launch our kayak this time, but we will next time. We also found that there are boat rentals available at The Boathouse.
How about kayaking or SUP on the Columbia River? Then the Columbia Wetlands Outpost is for you. There is a self-guided tour, and they rent kayaks, SUP, and canoes and give you the route and lots of guidance. We enjoyed this paddle through these peaceful waters several years ago.
The Columbia Wetlands is the only free-flowing stretch of the Columbia not affected by dams. This includes areas north and south of Golden. (The Columbia actually flows quite a distance north before it turns around a bend and flows south to Washington and Oregon in the States.) So, our goal was to go south of Golden to launch our kayak at the headwaters of the Columbia River. Columbia Lake Provincial Park is on the northernmost part of the park, and we launched onto the river north of the lake. We found the calm waters and lush green carpets along the banks very scenic. It's best for experienced kayakers; you'll need to bring your own kayak or SUP and the right gear.
Golden Skybridge was my last outdoor adventure on this trip. My wife took a pass on this walk across the vast canyon on Canada's highest suspension bridge. (She actually didn't even want to watch the video I made as I crossed the narrow bridge, swaying above the canyon floor!) Very impressive! I walked the one-mile path around the park, which included two suspension bridges. There were so many activities – and lots of kids having tons of fun. What looked to me like the most fun was the Railrider Mountain Coaster, an adrenaline-charged ride through the forest.
End of Our Road Trip
The end of our week-long road trip was certainly a memorable one. On the way home, we stopped at another pretty little mountain town - Kimberly, Canada, home to Kimberly Ski Resort. We had dinner at Pedal & Tap and remembered our previous visit some seven years ago.
This time, for starters, we went with these "light" fries, Tour De Fries. Skinny-cut chickpea fries with an excellent curry mayo dipping sauce. I had the Vermicelli Salad with generous portions of BBQ pork shoulder, roasted peanuts, cucumbers, and chili sauce for the main dish. The dish's highlight was the fresh house-made spring rolls, which were crispy bites of deliciousness. My wife equally enjoyed her vegan dish, the Glorious Bowl. It was a bountiful serving of crisped tofu, roasted beets, carrots, and greens, all mixed in with delicious grains like quinoa and millet. Toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds gave it a great crunch.
We talked about the last seven days of our trip to Revelstoke and Golden and considered returning either in the spring or the fall. Hemlock Hike would likely be snow-free later in May and through September, and we saw that the guided rafting trips start later in May. Columbia Wetlands would be good to kayak in May or June. Finally, the Skybridge is open from mid-May to mid-October. These shoulder seasons generally provide good pricing options for food and lodging.
Let us not forget that we need to return to check out Kimberly. There is the North Star Rails to Trails paved trail, which goes about 26 km from Kimberly to Cranbrook, so that is a must for me to take my bike. Another fun spot would be St Mary Lake - an excellent spot for us to kayak. For a short hike, there is also Marysville Waterfalls.
One more place to visit next time? We were told that if one wanted to focus on food and kayaking, one must check out the Nelson and Kootenay Lake Area.
We cannot wait to return for more exploration!
Editorial disclosure: food, beverages, and lodging were generously provided.