Golden, BC is located in one of the most beautiful spots on the planet. Truly. In terms of views, natural landscapes, wildlife, playgrounds and hidden gems - it has it all.
Golden is located at the heart of 6 National Parks. It sits in the mighty Columbia Valley and is sandwiched between the Rocky and Purcell Mountain Ranges. How can it get better than that?
It's hard to believe everything aligned so well to create the magical spot Golden is.
If you’re travelling through the Canadian Rockies it needs to be on your list as a ‘Must See’ destination.
We meet people all the time who tell us how blown away they are by Golden. It doesn’t get the same press as Banff and Lake Louise (which is actually a blessing in disguise - read 5 Benefits of Staying in Golden, BC - Instead of Banff or Lake Louise) but it sure does deserve it.
We don’t get the same crowds here as the busier towns, so there’s a good chance you’ll have these view spots all to yourself. They’re spectacular. We’re in awe every time we visit them and we’re sure you will be too.
1. Mount 7 Launchpad
Taking a drive up to Mount 7 will give you views of EVERYTHING. You’ll be looking down on the Columbia Valley and across at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and the Purcell Mountain Range. You’ll see the Columbia River meandering through the Wetlands, which often glows in the summer sun.
The Columbia Wetlands have been recognized as one of the world’s living natural treasures. Being able to look up the valley to both the north and the south is something that will stay etched in your mind for a very long time.
We prefer heading up Mount 7 in the evening. The soft summer sun makes the valley glow, and we’ve seen black bears the last few times we’ve taken the drive up. Black bears come out of the forest to munch along the edge of the road, and it’s common to see mama bears with their cubs.
If you do see bears it’s important not to disturb them. Give them a wide berth, slowly drive by and DO NOT feed them or get out of your car.
2. Top of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
Riding the gondola to the top of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is one of the easiest ways to access the alpine. It's an enjoyable trip and you'll be rewarded with out of this world views.
Think 365 degrees of mountains. Mountains as far as the eye can see in all directions. It really is that spectacular. We’ve been to the top of KHMR hundreds of times and we still love taking the time to soak it all in.
If you want big alpine views, this is one of the easiest ways to do it. From the base of the resort you’ll hop on the gondola and be whisked to the top. It’s roughly a 20 minute ride up and new views will unfold as you climb in elevation.
Once at the top you can enjoy the views from where you are. You can head into Eagle’s Eye (Canada’s most elevated dining experience at 7700 feet) for a coffee or some lunch.
You also have the option to walk out along the ridge line in either direction. This gives you the opportunity to get even higher (without much effort). It’ll bring you to a number of other impressive viewpoints and if you pack a picnic they're good places to relax.
3. Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge
The Kicking Horse Pedestrian bridge is the longest freestanding timber frame bridge in Canada. It spans the Kicking Horse River in downtown Golden and it provides beautiful views of the river and surrounding mountains. It intersects the Rotary Walking Trails and Spirit Square - two nice places to go for a walk or sit and enjoy the summer sun.
Looking north from the Pedestrian Bridge you’ll see the Dogtooth Range of the Purcell Mountains. To the south you’ll be looking at Mount 7. The Kicking Horse River flows beneath, towards the confluence of the Columbia River.
The gardens of Spirit Square are in full bloom in the summer. There are fountains and patios and it’s a beautiful spot to relax.
4. From the Kicking Horse River
To have it all you’re going to want to take a rafting trip down the Kicking Horse River. For big mountain views, the bright green conifer forests BC is known for and a crystal clear, glacial fed river, the Kicking Horse is where you want to be.
The Kicking Horse is a world renowned rafting river and it was the first river in British Columbia to be designated a Canadian Heritage River. It is special and impressive in so many ways.
Not only will you be rewarded with the stunning views, you’ll get to have a lot of fun too.
The Kicking Horse is a class 1 - class 4 river. Class 4 is the highest ranking of whitewater we can commercially raft in BC. The river starts out calm and builds into the bigger rapids as you head downstream. Because of this variation, there are trip options for everyone.
There are scenic trips for families with young kids or for those who are feeling a bit nervous.
If you only want excitement and big whitewater that’s a possibility too. With 6 trips to choose from, it’s possible to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Some of the most popular options include:
White Water Discovery - a full day adventure that starts with a beautiful float and ends with the big rapids
White Water Express - a half day trip that gets you right into the big stuff
Family Adventure - a fast paced floats for kids and nervous rafters
Ultimate Heli Adventure - the most complete experience on the Kicking Horse. Raft all 3 canyons and fly in a helicopter to access the famous lower canyon
To take a look at all trip options, head to our Trip Selector.
5. Mummery Glacier
The Mummery Glacier is one of the most beautiful spots we’ve ever been to. This one is a hike so if you brought your boots and were planning to hit the trails, we recommend you consider this one.
We try to make it to the Mummery every summer. It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve been there - it blows us away every time.
You’ll want to give yourself a full day. The hike isn’t overly difficult but you’ll want to stop a bunch to take it all in. The hike in is roughly 2.55 km and it’s ranked as moderate difficulty.
As you start climbing you’ll be looking back down on the Blaeberry Valley. The Blaeberry is one of the most stunning areas in Golden. The river you see in the valley bottom is the Blaeberry River. It’s a tributary of the mighty Columbia River which flows through downtown Golden.
We have our favourite rock to stop for a snack - it’s the photo you see below.
Depending how ambitious you are you have the option to scramble right up to the toe of the Mummery Glacier. Be sure you know what you’re doing and exercise good judgement. Ice can shift and seracs can break off at any time without warning.
Until 2018 the road was washed away so getting to this hike was a full on mission. It was still possible, but it was much more challenging. With new logging activity going on past the Mummery, the road has been re-established and you can drive right to the trailhead.
For driving directions and hiking tips we recommend you take a look at goldenhikes.ca
We love Golden. We love the people and the activities and the beautiful spaces we get to visit. The views are spectacular pretty much anywhere you go, and we hope you’ll come see them for yourself.
If you have any questions please get in touch, or if you think we missed a good one please let us know.
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a note in the comments below.
Cheers from all of us here at Glacier Raft Company