Are you coming to Golden, BC and hoping to do some dog-friendly hiking or mountain biking? Our furry, four legged friend likes to get out and explore, as well, so we know the options in this area very well.
There are some short walks within Golden itself, and you don’t have to drive very far at all to get off the beaten track.
Here are 5 of the best trails and hikes to do with your dog in, and around, Golden, British Columbia.
1. Golden Rotary Trail
Relax and take your dog for a leisurely stroll or pedal along our Rotary Trail which runs through town and along the Kicking Horse River.
This peaceful walk is perfect for those who have limited time or want to stretch their legs without doing anything too strenuous.
The complete trail is 7 km. It’s flowy and gradual and takes about 2.5 hours to complete the loop (on foot).
The trail can be accessed from various points, so you can make the walk as long or as short as you’d like.
Because parts of this trail run right through town, you’ll want to keep your dog on a leash, but it’s not uncommon to see people letting their dog get a drink or cool off in the Kicking Horse River.
An added bonus: at some point during your walk (depending if you start clockwise or counter clockwise) you will stumble across The River House Tavern. Dogs are welcome on the patio, so put your feet up and enjoy a cold one.
2. Thompson Falls
Want a side of history with your hike? Choose Thompson Falls.
The Blaeberry River and Howse Pass were used by First Nations as a trade route, and renowned explorer and surveyor, David Thompson, used it in 1807 to reach the Columbia River.
A short walk through the forest and along the Blaeberry River will bring you to Thompson Falls. One of the most beautiful and least visited waterfalls in the area, we love this excursion when we want a peaceful day away from the crowds.
When you get down to the falls you’re able to walk right out and overlook the cascade, but be careful as there are no fences or guardrails.
Most people stop there, but we recommend you keep walking a few minutes down the left side of the river to get to this lookout.
You’re able to look back up at Thompson Falls and downstream through the canyon. The rocks form a perfect little nook making it a comfortable spot to spend an afternoon.
Finding Thompson Falls isn’t the easiest, but we have a detailed handout here at our base with exact driving markers.
3. Moonraker Trail Network
The Moonrakers are comprised of more than 50 km of trails. A popular spot for walkers, runners and mountain bikers, this is a good spot to let your dog off leash to run to their little hearts content.
Given the number of trails, you really can make a circuit that’s as long or as short as you’d like. There’s a map at the parking area if you want to plan a loop, and the Tourism Golden Bike Trail map that’s available all around town is an excellent resource as it shows the whole network.
There are a number of lakes and creeks so water options for your dog isn’t a concern.
This area is known for black bears, so make lots of noise as you’re exploring the trails. Bears will usually take off first if they know you’re coming, but keep your dogs close and make sure they’re good with recall.
To access the Moonraker Trails, head up Kicking Horse Drive towards Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, and take the Forest Service Road on the left hand side towards Cedar Lake.
4. Take it Easy
Much like Golden’s Rotary Trail, Take it Easy is great for stretching your legs and getting a breath of fresh air, without doing anything too strenuous.
The hike winds along the of edge of the bank, overlooking the Columbia River. The views are pretty and it works its way through the forest making it a nice little escape. It often has a nice breeze, even on the hottest days.
The trail is 3.5 km and takes roughly 1 hour each way. It's an out and back so you could make it shorter if you wanted to.
This trail is also used by cyclists, so go for a pedal if that's your thing, and keep your ears open and doggies close by.
Note: About 200 m down the trail you'll come to a fork. Going to the left takes you along the river on Take it Easy, and going right takes you up a trail called CBT. CBT is a continuous climb up to Cedar Lake, which continues on right up to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. If you want to tackle some hills this is a great choice, and if you're biking it's an awesome trail. It's well worn in and you'll have multiple options for different down trails. Consult a Golden Bike Map, but Mighty Quinn and Gold Rush are two fun down options.
If you're coming to Golden with your bike, check out our recommendations for the 5 Best Mountain Bike Trails in Golden, B.C.
To access this little gem, follow signs for Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. After crossing the Columbia River (over the one lane car bridge) and going up a slight hill, you’ll see a parking lot on the right hand side. Park here and you’ll see the trail head on the opposite side of the road.
5. Gorman Lake
Stepping it up a bit, Gorman Lake is superb if you want to get up into the alpine and don’t mind a bit more uphill.
A well worn in trail will bring you to the impressive alpine lake. The trek is roughly one hour each way, and you'lll gain approximately 290 metres of elevation.
The views at Gorman Lake are beautiful, and it’s a great spot to enjoy a home-packed lunch and the beauty of Mother Nature.
There’s a canoe that lives at the lake, so you can also hop in and go for a paddle. There’s lots of water on this hike, so no need to pack water for your dog and they can swim as much as they want to.
Finding Gorman Lake isn’t the easiest, as you have to navigate a few forestry roads, but we have a detailed handout here at our base with exact driving markers. The road as you near the lake is also in pretty rough shape, so a higher clearance vehicle is recommended.
6. Bonus Activity - Rent a Kayak and Paddle with Your Doggie
We offer 2 person inflatable kayak rentals that are another fun option for you and your dog, if your dog is comfortable on the water.
There are a number of lakes around Golden where you could head for a paddle, and we can help direct you to the right spot.
Half day, full day or multi day kayak rentals are all available, and it’s a fun and unique opportunity while you’re visiting the Canadian Rockies.
To read more about kayak rentals and the options available, click here.
And there you have it. If you’re visiting Golden and the Kootenay Rockies with your best, furry friend, we hope this helps get you outside adventuring together.
Golden is surrounded by 6 National Parks, as well, with an unlimited number of hiking opportunities. Dogs are allowed on some of these hikes, but they MUST be kept on a leash at all times. Check out the website for each park to make sure you have the most updated information on hiking options.
If you have any ideas we forgot, let us know in the comments below.
We hope to see you and your fur baby this summer!
Cheers from all of us here at Glacier