Continuing with the Canadian hiking vacation recaps! Kootenay National Park is another lesser known national park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains that is worth a visit if you’re ever in the area. It’s a short and very beautiful 30-ish minute drive from Banff National Park, so after our morning of hiking Johnson Canyon and Ink Pots, we decided to spend the afternoon hiking Kootenay National Park! If you’re just joining me and want to see our full trip itinerary, you can see it here: Western Canada Hiking Trip Itinerary. Previous recaps: a weekend in Vancouver + hiking Lake Louise in Banff National Park + Hiking Johnson Canyon and Ink Pots.
Driving through the parks was gorgeous – we saw so much wildlife! Hello, Mr. Bear, just chillin’ on the side of the road.
Our friend Moritz did some research on Kootenay and suggested we check out a hike called Marble Canyon, with an add-on called Paint Pots. Sounded good to us!
The Marble Canyon trail is a beautiful and relatively easy hike along Tokumm Creek. The weather cleared up nicely for us and it turned into a beautiful afternoon!
I couldn’t get enough of the water + trees + mountains combo. So stunning, especially when the sun was shinning!
Areas of the trail take you through burned trees with new trees growing bright green below them.
The photo below was one of my favorite views – absolutely stunning!
When you reach the end of Marble Canyon, you have the option to carry on another 3 km to an area called Paint Pots, where you’ll find big orange ochre (a natural earth pigment) beds. Aboriginal people used to use the ochre as face paint for ceremonies. Cool!
After exploring the paint pots, we headed back. I believe we went a slightly different route – a sort of loop that brought us back to part of the marble canyon.
For our last adventure of the afternoon in Kootenay National Park, we drove farther from Banff to a hike called Dog Lake, which is near (about 30km) the town of Radium Hot Springs – about 2 hours from Banff.
This was one of my favorite hikes of the trip – it was so beautiful and peaceful – we had the whole place to ourselves!
The trail to Dog Lake is roughly 6 km round trip and crosses the Kootenay River twice. The first time is on this gorgeous suspension bridge, which I loved.
Dog Lake itself was lovely – so, so peaceful. We all sat quietly by the lake for awhile just listening to the wilderness around us. We even heard some dogs (wolves?!) howling across the way – I guess the lake lived up to its name!
We took an offshoot trail that looped us back to the main trail – are you sensing a theme here with us trying to get off the beaten path? 🙂
The photo below is one of my favorite from the trip. 🙂
Between hiking Johnson Canyon and Ink Pots in the morning and Marble Canyon, Paint Pots, and Dog Lake in the afternoon, we were wiped but happy by the end of the day. Definitely my kind of vacation – fresh air and adventures galore!
Matt and I visited the hot springs in Radium hot springs (they were basically a hot swimming pool – nothing to write home about but felt amazing on our tired legs), grabbed dinner at a fun German restaurant in the town of Radium hot springs, then made the drive back to Banff later that evening. Being there in early June meant it didn’t get dark out until about 10:30 – amazing! And made the long evening drive easier, too. We even saw this bear on the side of the road on our way!
A couple more recaps to come (one more this week and one next) – stay tuned!
Have you ever seen a bear in the wild?