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Home to just 4,000 people, you’d be forgiven for not giving the small town of Golden, British Columbia, a second glance!
But you know what they say – “the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.”
What Golden lacks by way of population, it absolutely makes up for with some of the most epic things to do in BC! This small town in the Canadian Rockies is surrounded by a ton of national parks and mountain ranges, there’s a seemingly unending amount of outdoor activities to get stuck into.
To top it off, the town also has some amazing restaurants, shops, bars, and cultural attractions to offer as well. Whether you prefer a chill vacation or something high-energy, you will love Golden.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit Golden many times, both in the summer and winter months. Each time I visit, I try to uncover some new and special activity that just blows me away. The result? This giant blog with 30 epic things to do in Golden, BC. We hope you enjoy the read and come away with some new ideas on things to do here!
- Things to do in Golden, BC
- 1. Walk the Golden Skybridge
- 2. Hit the slopes at Kicking Horse Resort
- 3. Ride the Kicking Horse Gondola
- 4. Enjoy dinner with a view
- 5. Walk the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge
- 6. Go whitewater rafting on Kicking Horse River
- 7. Visit the Wolf Centre
- 8. Explore Glacier National Park
- 9. Shop at the Golden Farmers Market
- 10. Drinks locally brewed beer
- 11. Visit Emerald Lake
- 12. Go mountain biking
- 13. Explore downtown Golden
- 14. Cross-country skiing
- 15. Visit “Boo” the grizzly bear
- 16. Fishing
- 17. Walk to Wapta Falls
- 18. Try Via Ferrata
- 19. Skydiving
- 20. Paragliding or hang-gliding
- 21. Spend a day at Cedar Lake
- 22. Go horseback riding
- 23. Go dog sledding
- 24. Go ziplining
- 25. Go hiking or snowshoeing
- 26. Do the canyon swing *coming soon*
- 27. Day trip to Banff National Park
- 28. Day Trip to Yoho National Park
- 29. Day Trip to Revelstoke
- 30. Day Trip to Kootenay National Park
- Where to Stay in Golden, BC
- Thanks for reading!
- Renting a Car in British Columbia
- Canada Travel Essentials
Things to do in Golden, BC
1. Walk the Golden Skybridge
Let’s start off with Golden’s newest attraction! The Golden Skybridge is Canada’s highest suspension bridge which only recently opened during the summer of 2021. At 130 meters (426 feet) above the canyon, walking over it is an experience like no other, as you take in all the amazing views of the Columbia Valley.
On our most recent visit to Golden, Dan and I were fortunate enough to walk the Golden Skybridge for ourselves. The views from up there were just incredible. We were even able to see a 200-foot (61-meter) waterfall!
It’s important to know that the Golden Skybridge isn’t just one suspension bridge, but it’s actually two. You’ll first cross Canada’s highest suspension bridge before walking along the edge of the canyon, taking in views along the way. Then, you’ll walk back across the canyon via a second bridge to return to where you started.
Each bridge offers its own special view. Altogether, you could complete this entire loop in 30 minutes, however with stops for photos and enjoying the views, I would allow at least an hour.
For the adrenaline junkies out there, there is also a zipline experience, ropes course, and a spectacular canyon swing. The cost to walk to Golden Skybridge is $42 CAD per adult, with the other activities being an additional cost depending on which ones you choose. You can purchase your Golden Skybridge ticket online here!
You’ll find parking for the Golden Skybridge just a two-minute drive outside of Golden, right off of the Trans-Canada Highway on your way toward Revelstoke. It is only open during the warmer months, typically from May to October.
2. Hit the slopes at Kicking Horse Resort
There is no end to epic places to go skiing in Canada, it’s one of the most quintessential Canadian activities!
Golden’s Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is a super popular ski resort in Canada, and for good reason. It’s known for the huge amounts of annual snowfall and expert terrain that will challenge even the most experienced skiers.
This resort is located at the top of the Purcell Mountains, only a short 15-minute drive from downtown Golden. From up there, the views are simply stunning from all around.
With over 100 km (60 miles) of groomed runs, Kicking Horse is an all-level resort with 128-named trails of different lengths and difficulties, so it’s always a great option whether you’re a complete beginner or ultra pro. If you’re an expert, you’ll enjoy the steep vertical drop on the mountains, actually the 4th largest in North America!
One thing to note is that Kicking Horse Ski Resort really does cater to expert skiers and snowboarders with 45% of black runs and 15% double black. That’s not to say beginners won’t enjoy it too though – one of the four chairlifts is dedicated solely to beginners.
When we last visited Kicking Horse the lines to ride the lifts were somewhat of a problem (we did visit on a bluebird Saturday in the peak of winter, so this was somewhat to be expected.) If you want to avoid waiting for the lifts, I recommend going during the week. Also, have your lunch at an odd time to avoid that “after-lunch rush” to get back up the mountain from the main lift.
Expect to pay around $125 CAD during the week and $139 CAD on the weekend for a single-day lift ticket. You can check out the wide variety of ski passes available here.
3. Ride the Kicking Horse Gondola
If you’re not one for downhill sports, you can still see the epic views of the Rocky Mountains from the ski hill. The Kicking Horse Gondola makes for a very scenic ride that takes you up 2350 meters (7,700 feet) to the mountain’s summit. The panoramic views at the top of the Rocky Mountains, Columbia River Wetlands, and the town of Golden are sure to take your breath away!
At the top, we visited the Eagle’s Eye restaurant for a bite to eat (more on that below) and took a moment to sit back and enjoy the mountain vistas. Believe me, the views are unbelievable – some of the best we’ve seen in Canada, to be honest.
One thing to note is that this gondola is located at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, meaning it’s actually the same gondola that skiers and snowboarders use. So, if you’re planning to hit the slopes, you’ll be riding the scenic gondola anyway. The scenic ride is only for people who aren’t already skiing and still want to take in those views.
This Kicking Horse Gondola is open in both the summer and winter, though as the dates can change, we recommend checking out their website for the most up-to-date information. A ticket up the gondola costs $51.95 CAD for adults, $44.95 CAD for youths (13-17), and $25.95 CAD for kids (6-12) – not a bad deal considering those epic views! You can purchase your tickets online here.
4. Enjoy dinner with a view
Eagle’s Eye Restaurant is simply the best place to enjoy those mountain views with a delicious bite to eat! It’s considered the “crown jewel” of resort dining and is a must-do while visiting Golden.
Located at the top of the scenic gondola (mentioned above), the views from this restaurant are unrivaled. It is actually Canada’s highest restaurant (in elevation) at 7,710 ft/2,350 m above sea level – how cool is that?!
They are open year-round; however, the hours vary depending on the season and when they are booked for special events and weddings. Be sure to check the website and make a reservation before you go (reservations are highly recommended, as they often get booked up.)
Their menu includes a wide selection of local Canadian cuisine as well as a wide choice of wine and cocktails, so you can have a few drinks and get the most out of the experience!
Hot tip: If you are able to make a dinner reservation, the cost of the gondola ride to get to the restaurant is included. If you go for lunch, the gondola ticket price is discounted to about $20 CAD per person.
5. Walk the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge
Golden is located in such a beautiful area, you will definitely want to get outside and explore it by foot! While you’re out and about, make a point to walk over the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge. It starts at 8th Avenue North in downtown Golden and spans 46 meters (151 feet) across the Kicking Horse River.
It is actually the longest freestanding timber frame bridge in the country, which really is no small feat. It was raised in 2001 with over 100 members of the Timber Framers Guild from around the world to help out!
Although just a quick visit here is all you need, it’s definitely one of the best places to visit in Golden – getting an iconic photo on this beautiful bridge is a must. We recommend parking at the Spirit Square parking area, and from there, it takes just a minute or two to get to the bridge on foot.
6. Go whitewater rafting on Kicking Horse River
You might be getting the idea that the Kicking Horse River is an important part of Golden…just about everything is named after it around here. But the best way to experience the river in all its wild glory is to go whitewater rafting!
Whitewater rafting on the Kicking Horse River is such an amazing adrenaline rush. With grade 3–4 rapids, it’s one of the best rivers in Canada to go rafting and easily one of the best things to do in Golden. Trust us, people come from all over the world just to raft the Kicking Horse.
For the ultimate day of whitewater thrills, we highly recommend this full-day tour. Fun for older kids and adults alike, you’ll embark on one of three tours (ranging from 3 to 6.5 hours) discovering amazing local hotspots, before tackling the wild rapids.
All equipment is included, along with a buffet lunch if you’ve booked onto the White Water Adventure or Ultimate Discover tours. We really enjoyed getting to know our experienced guide, whose confidence and enthusiasm on the rapids really helped us feel at ease.
With tickets starting from $110 CAD per adult and $99 CAD for youths (12-15), this activity is super popular, so be sure to book well in advance to avoid missing out!
7. Visit the Wolf Centre
Wolves are just one of the majestic animals found in the Canadian Rockies. And while you may not want to run into any in the wild, the Northern Lights Wolf Centre in Golden is the perfect place to learn all about them and even see some for yourself.
The Wolf Centre offers 25-minute interpretive tours where you can learn more about wolves and their habitats. You can also go on a walk with wolves out on a hike through the Rockies. Here, you’ll get close enough to snap a few pictures which we’re sure you’ll treasure.
The wolves are beautiful, and even if you don’t happen to make it for one of the tour times, you can walk around independently and learn all about the wolves on the many information boards around the center. Each wolf has its own personality, like the caring and wise beauty named Flora. You can find a detailed write-up about each of them including where they were adopted from here on their website.
The Wolf Centre in Golden is open year-round and has a $15 CAD admission fee for adults, $12 CAD for seniors (65+) and youths (12-18), and $8 CAD for children (4-11). The photography walks are at an additional cost depending on the group size and require a reservation. Be sure to bring cash, they don’t accept debit or credit (but do have an on-site ATM that’ll charge you a fee).
Related Read: The Wolf Centre is one of the best stops on the drive from Calgary to Golden!
8. Explore Glacier National Park
Surrounded by six Canadian national parks, the town of Golden is truly a nature lover’s dream! Yoho, Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, Mount Revelstoke, and Glacier National Parks all have so many fun things to do, so now’s the time to craft your ultimate itinerary. The last one, Glacier National Park, is right around the corner from Golden and is well worth a stop by while you’re here.
Glacier National Park encompasses Rogers Pass, a famous section of the mountain range, being the last section of the railway that made Canada a nation. Just driving this road is an experience on its own as it’s incredibly beautiful. The pass is open year-round, however many visitor facilities here are closed from October to May – so keep this in mind if you’re traveling in the winter and springtime.
If you love getting out on the trails, then you’re in luck, as there are lots of hikes to do in Glacier National Park. One family-friendly way of exploring Glacier National Park is the Hemlock Grove Boardwalk, which is a series of boardwalks through the beautiful old-growth forests.
For something a bit more physically challenging, the Asulkan Valley trail is 13.4 kilometers (8.3 miles) long and leads you on a beautiful route through rainforests, waterfalls, and glaciers! Don’t forget to check the trail conditions in Glacier National Park before you head out for the most up-to-date conditions.
Looking for more ways to explore this scenic national park? Head over to The Rogers Pass Discovery Centre, which is crammed full of info on the many hikes and attractions you can check out. And while you’re there, be sure to check out the little onsite museum that includes information about the area’s history and wildlife.
Note: You will need a Parks Pass to enter Glacier National Park. More info about the pass can be found below.
Parks Canada Pass Quick Info
If you plan on spending time in Canada’s national parks (including Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, Kootenay, and more) then you’re going to have to pay for a Parks Pass.
Single Daily Admission:
This type of pass is valid for one person for one day. It is ONLY the best value if you are traveling alone and only plan to visit a national park for a couple of days.
- Adult (ages 18-64) is $10.50 CAD
- Senior (65+) is $9.00 CAD
- Youth/Child (17 or younger) is FREE
Group Daily Admission:
If you’re traveling in a group or with family, you can buy a single-day admission for your entire vehicle (up to 7 people in one vehicle.)
- $21.00 CAD gets your entire vehicle entry for one full day
Parks Canada Discovery Pass
The “Discovery Pass” is what Parks Canada calls their year-long (365 days from the purchase date), multi-park entry pass. This pass will give 365 days of access to all participating national parks in Canada. This includes the most popular parks like Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, Glacier, Mount Revelstoke, and so much more.
- Adult (age 18-64) – $72.25 CAD
- Senior (64+) – $61.75 CAD
- Group/Family (up to 7 people in one vehicle) – $145.25 CAD
Hot Tip: Although more expensive up front, if you plan on spending more than 7 days in different parks in Canada within a 12-month period, then the Discovery Pass is actually the better deal!
Parks Canada Passes can be bought online here or at one of the Visitor Centers or booths at the entrance to many national parks.
9. Shop at the Golden Farmers Market
Farmer’s markets are such a fun way to get a real taste of the local community, so it’s only natural that we’d want to check out the Golden Farmers Market! Held in Spirit Square, this market is chock-full of local vendors selling their handicrafts and homemade wares. If you fancy grabbing some groceries for the week or a little snack, there’s also fresh produce, bread, meat, desserts, cheeses and so much more.
The last time we visited the market, you could really feel the sense of community in the air, from the local musicians performing their own music to the farmers selling their crops. We also found plenty of available parking along 8th Avenue North as it loops towards the river – it’s always nice to not have to deal with parking stress!
The market is held every Wednesday from June 14th to September 27th, from 10 am to 3 pm. It’s also held on select weekends throughout the year, so don’t forget to check out the schedule for the latest updates. If you’re lucky enough to be in Golden for Christmas, then it’s the perfect time to visit the Christmas market that’s held here.
10. Drinks locally brewed beer
A visit to a small town would not be complete without checking out the local beer scene! Small craft breweries are so fun to visit because they have a ton of character and unique brews to try out. Whitetooth Brewing Co. is the local brewery of choice, and we highly recommend you visit.
Whitetooth is located right in downtown Golden, and their creatively named Belgian and West Coast-inspired beers taste as good as they sound! With names like Speed Metal Stout, Thread the Needle Witbier, and Icefields Pale Ale, you know you’re in for a fun time here.
You try a few of their award-winning beers by getting a flight in the tasting room, or take some to go from their storefront. They also have a large patio which is absolutely perfect for enjoying a beer on a sunny summer day. Their tasting room is currently open every day, from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
11. Visit Emerald Lake
Emerald Lake is located within Yoho National Park, located close to Golden, just off the Trans-Canada Highway. If you’re in the area on a sunny day, this is one of the best lakes to visit. It is absolutely made for kayaking and canoeing, with its calm and clear waters. And, as the largest lake in the park, there’s a whole bunch to explore!
Around 5.1 km (3.1 miles) long, there is a trail that goes around the entire lake, so you can enjoy some epic views of the turquoise water from all angles. It’s also a super popular snowshoe trail during the winter.
Emerald Lake is just under an hour’s drive from Golden, so you can easily visit it on a day trip. However, if you have more time to spare and want an extra special experience, try and book the Emerald Lake Lodge. This is one of the most sought-after hotels in Yoho National Park since it literally sits on the edge of Emerald Lake. If you’re lucky enough to snag a booking, you’re sure to be impressed!
12. Go mountain biking
Looking for a rush? Mountain biking might just be the activity for you! Golden has some of the best terrain for mountain biking, with over 185 km (115 miles) of incredible trails, ranging from flat, cross-country ones to very challenging downhill routes.
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, a super handy resource that Tourism Golden brings out every year is the Golden Biking Trail Map. It’s free, full of many more incredible trails, and is amazing help for planning a biking day out.
Ranging from easy to difficult, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is our favorite place to go in Golden if we’re heading out for a day on two wheels. You’ll use the lifts at the resort to get to the top of the valley and, once there, you’ll have time to take in the absolutely gorgeous views before beginning your adrenaline-fuelled descent.
For your convenience, it’s best to grab your lift tickets online before heading over to the lift kiosk to get them printed out. As for prices, tickets start from $125 CAD per adult on weekdays and $139 CAD on weekends, as well as $94 CAD for youths (13-17) on weekdays and $104 CAD on weekends. You can also enjoy a sweet discount if you book in advance as well, as much as up to 20% off if you book at least two weeks in advance.
If you haven’t brought your bikes with you, no problem! The resort also offers bike rental too, and you can actually purchase a full-day downhill biking package which includes bike rental, your lift ticket, as well as safety gear like a helmet and pads for your legs and arms. Current prices for this package are $199.95 CAD per adult and $187.95 CAD for youths.
You can also find a whole bunch of amazing trails in Golden over on Trailforks – our personal two favorites are the beginner-friendly Easy Rider route, which has you meandering down a very scenic 2.5 km (1.6 mile) trail, as well as the slightly more tricky Superberm, which is about 2.2 km (1.4 miles), and has plenty of jumps and berms.
If you are in Golden during the winter, you can still hit the trails and go fat biking! For those new to the sport, it’s essentially a bike with bigger tires that are so much fun to ride in the snow. Higher Ground Sports is situated right in the heart of town and rents out these fatbikes when winter rolls around!
13. Explore downtown Golden
You’ll be pretty busy with all the different outdoor recreation activities around Golden, but don’t forget the town itself! Downtown Golden is a quaint, historic-looking town with a bunch of things to do.
A good place to start your exploration is 9th Street, which has loads of shops, cafés, and restaurants to explore. We love to visit the Bluebird Café, which is super charming and serves delicious snacks.
The Golden Visitor Centre is open during the summer and is the place to go if you’re looking for insider tips on the best things to do while you’re in town! The friendly folks over there do a wonderful job of helping you craft your itinerary, and there are a bunch of cute souvenirs available too. It’s open 7 days a week from 9 am to 5 pm.
If you fancy learning more about the town itself, then why not check out the Golden Museum? Cast your eyes back in time as you learn all about the native peoples of the area and the diverse history of the town. Open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4:30 pm, a trip here is great fun for all the family.
14. Cross-country skiing
While downhill skiing might be the obvious winter sport, cross-country skiing is also pretty fun! Golden has a large number of groomed trails for both classic cross-country and skate-skiing. It is generally an easier sport with less specialized skills, so it’s suitable for anyone who wants to try.
Dawn Mountain is a popular spot to try cross-country skiing in Golden, with 33 km (20 miles) of trails maintained by the Golden Nordic Ski Club. Rentals are available on-site and are just $25 CAD for skis, boots, and poles. The trail fee is an additional $12 CAD.
15. Visit “Boo” the grizzly bear
Catching a glimpse of a grizzly bear is a little nerve-wracking… and yet, who doesn’t want to see a bear? The Grizzly Bear Interpretive Center at the Kicking Horse Resort is home to Boo, the resident grizzly. Boo was a rescue and now lives within the mountainside habitat.
If you’re interested in grabbing tickets for the Kicking Horse Gondola, then for an extra $3 CAD per adult we recommend getting an Adventure Pass ($52 CAD in total!) This pass includes a ticket on the Gondola as well as entry to the grizzly refuge – a great deal if you ask us.
A ticket to visit the center on its own costs $34 CAD, and if you don’t see Boo, you can go back for free! You can also bundle the experience with other activities at Kicking Horse such as enjoying some well-deserved lunch at the Eagle’s Eye Restaurant.
Please note that seeing Boo here is a summer-only activity, as Boo heads back into hibernation during the winter!
While there are plenty of great restaurants in Golden like Cedar House Restaurant & Chalets to check out, you can also try your hand at catching some dinner yourself! Or, just go fishing for the fun of it.
Golden is located on the Columbia River, so there are multiple areas that offer amazing fishing spots, both in the winter (ice fishing) and the summer. Common fish in the area are rainbow trout, bull trout, and giant ling. Fly-fishing and spin casting are also really common around Golden.
If you want, you can also book a guided fishing tour – this is the best way to increase your chances of catching something! The tour is great for beginners all the way through to seasoned pros, and you’ll get plenty of tips from local experts along the way. Prices range from $400 CAD to $600 CAD for half and full-day tours, and you can learn more about them here.
17. Walk to Wapta Falls
The hike to Wapta Falls is located within Yoho National Park and is full of absolutely incredible scenery. It’s also an easy hike, at around 4.8 km (3 miles) with only 83 meters (272 feet) of elevation gain.
When you arrive at the thundering falls, you’ll be rewarded with a pretty epic view, so don’t forget to take some photos! We recommend grabbing a snack or picnic lunch beforehand and spending some time soaking in the gorgeous view.
The trailhead is located at the Wapta Falls trail turnoff from the Trans Canada Highway, about 40 minutes away from Golden.
Related Read: A visit to Wapta Falls is one of our things to do when driving from Calgary to Revelstoke!
18. Try Via Ferrata
Via Ferrata means “iron road” in Italian and is a climbing route made with a steel cable. It’s fixed in the rock along the route, so climbers can secure themselves to the cable while they climb. It’s a great way to “rock climb” without needing any experience, skills, or upper body strength.
The Via Ferrata at Kicking Horse Resort is a challenging and fun way to get some exercise and enjoy being up in the mountains. Climbing it is like climbing a set of ladders, so it is generally accessible for most fitness and experience levels. There are a few routes to follow and there is a guide that will help you along the way.
Rates start at $85 CAD and increase for longer routes. The ticket also includes the sightseeing gondola and the Grizzly Bear Refuge as well!
Skydiving is the ultimate bucket list activity, and Golden is the perfect place to check it off of your list. It really doesn’t get better than skydiving over the Canadian Rockies.
In Golden, Extreme Yeti will take you up over 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) above the Rockies and Kicking Horse River – the view from up this high is so awesome! You will then free fall at 120 mp/h (193.12 km/h) before opening up that parachute and gracefully gliding back to earth.
The price for a tandem skydive is $329 CAD and while it’s on the pricey side, there’s no way you’ll regret this awesome adventure! It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Golden for any adrenaline junkie. You can book your epic skydiving adventure here.
20. Paragliding or hang-gliding
Yet another adrenaline-pumping activity in Golden is paragliding and hang-gliding. While we all know humans can’t actually fly, this is about as close as you’ll get! Just imagine soaring over the Rocky Mountains, hearing nothing but the sound of the wind blowing – what an unforgettable experience!
Unless you are a certified expert yourself, you’ll want to go tandem with an experienced professional. There are two companies that offer tandem flights, Altitude Adventures and ParaPete Tandems. Prices are around $175-250 CAD for a tandem flight, and you can get a photo and video to remember the experience.
When it comes to adventure activities in Golden, either one is a top choice. Less extreme than skydiving, but still with epic views!
21. Spend a day at Cedar Lake
After some of the more intense activities on this list, you might be looking for a quiet, relaxed day chilling out in nature. If that’s the case, head over to Cedar Lake! It’s a beautiful lake with day picnic areas as well as overnight campsites.
The lake is perfect for swimming or boating, and there are also great walking trails around the lake, like this 3.2-km (2-mile) route. Hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding are all popular activities here, as well as snowshoeing in the winter. On a hot summer day, this is my favorite place to go in Golden to relax.
With 22 maintained campsites, overnight camping here is on a first-come, first-served basis and costs $15 CAD per night. You’ll find Cedar Lake just 12 km (7.4 miles) away from Golden along Kicking Horse Trail Road.
22. Go horseback riding
Horseback riding is a fun and sustainable activity that people of all ages and abilities can enjoy. We loved riding down a few of the beautiful trails around Golden, and there are plenty of places to explore. On our last horseback adventure here, we took in the incredible sights of the canyons, creeks, rivers, and mountains – we’re sure you’ll enjoy it just as much as we did.
Most people will opt to go on a tour with a group like Bear Corner Adventures. They offer a variety of tours, including 1, 2, and 3-hour trips which cost between $70-$150 CAD per person. For those itching for even more horseback adventure, this organization also runs multi-day pack trips!
Their 3-day overnight trip takes you on a grand exploration of the Canadian Rocky Mountains with a friendly guide and horse by your side – now that’s a story to tell the folks back home!
23. Go dog sledding
Dog sledding is one of the oldest and most sustainable forms of transportation in Canada – and also the most fun! Unfortunately, the dog sledding company in Golden has recently closed its doors for good, however, you can still enjoy this epic experience with Revelstoke Dogsled Adventures based in Revelstoke.
The tour will start with some education about how to harness the docs and learn the commands. Then, try your hand as a “musher” with the opportunity to lead the dogs on the trail. Or, if you prefer, just sit back, relax, and watch the beautiful scenery pass you by – it’s entirely up to you!
Tours last 3 to 4 hours and are priced at $399 CAD for two people (for individuals it costs $289 CAD per person). You can learn more about this experience and book your slot online here.
Related Read: We actually did dog sledding the last time we visited Canmore in winter.
24. Go ziplining
You may have gathered by now that we are obsessed with anything up in the mountains! And it’s just because you cannot go to Golden and miss out on the complete Canadian Rockies experience. One of the best ways to enjoy the majesty of the mountains, with a bit of fun as well, is the by trying your hand at the Sky Zipline experience.
This thrilling ride takes you 1,000 feet (304 meters) across at an elevation of 500 feet (152 meters). From up there you’ll have wonderful panoramic views of the Columbia Valley. There are four zipline tracks, so you can ride side-by-side with your friends.
The most affordable way to get tickets is to purchase an Adventure Pass, which includes a whole range of exciting activities like the Sky Zipline, axe throwing, and the climbing wall, as well as your entry ticket to the Skybridge. It costs $71 CAD per adult and $62 CAD per child, and you can get your tickets here.
25. Go hiking or snowshoeing
Golden is the perfect place to visit all year round, especially if you are looking to get outside and hit some trails. There are so many different trails that can be used for hiking in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter. Tourism Golden has an extensive hiking trail map with trails located around Golden and in the surrounding national parks, but we thought we’d share some of our favorites too!
Rotary Trails is an easy route that starts from the town and takes you on a scenic loop around the local countryside. It’s around 10 km (6.2 miles) long, takes about 2 to 3 hours to complete, and is suitable for those looking to just stretch their legs without going too far from town.
Terminator Ridge is a shorter trail that’s a little more challenging, but rewards your efforts with some seriously epic views! The trail kicks off at the top of the Kicking Horse Gondola and is about 2.7 km (1.6 miles) long there and back. You can expect this trail to take about an hour.
For a bit of a longer hike, we recommend walking to Twin Falls. Strap on those hiking boots for this hike that’s not particularly difficult, but is about 15.6 km (9.7 miles) long. Walking this trail took us about 5 hours, but feel free to stop and gaze at some of the incredible scenery all around you!
26. Do the canyon swing *coming soon*
The team over at Golden Skybridge is set to add a whole new intense experience to their roster of activities with the Giant Canyon Swing, definitely not the swing you remember from your childhood!
This two-person giant swing will get your blood pumping as you free fall 75 feet (22.8 meters) over the canyon edge before the swing catches you, and you swing gracefully through the canyon.
*NOTE: The canyon swing is set to open in Spring 2023. Check the website for current information and pricing. We can’t wait to try it as soon as it opens!
27. Day trip to Banff National Park
If you’re in Golden for a while, it makes sense to take some time to explore the area. A day trip to Banff National Park has got to be at the top of the list. There are so many things to do in Banff – it is the most famous town in the Rockies for a reason!
Banff town is very quaint with a lot of shops and restaurants to explore. The Banff Upper Hot Springs are absolutely iconic and should be a priority to visit! Another popular attraction is the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain – the views are seriously epic!
Banff is located about 140 km (87 miles) away from Golden along the Trans-Canada Highway. It’ll take you about an hour and a half to two hours to drive there. This makes for a long day trip, so if you can, it’s a good idea to stay at a hotel in Banff for a night or two instead.
With that said, many people visit Banff from Golden because accommodation prices in Golden are significantly cheaper than in Banff (and with more availability too!)
Related Read: Thinking about heading to Banff for a few days? You may want to check out our Banff itinerary!
28. Day Trip to Yoho National Park
Yoho National Park is one of the six national parks surrounding Golden. It’s a large park that was established back in 1886. It’s a true hikers’ paradise with over 400 km (248 miles) of hiking trails. Some of the popular hikes include Yoho Lake, Iceline Trail, and Whaleback Mountain. You can visit the Visitor’s Centre for more information about these hikes and others in the area.
If you’re all hiked out, you can see the majestic Takakkaw Falls from a viewpoint or just drive through the park and admire the beauty. You can also visit the Burgess Shale Fossil Beds with a tour group. This area is chock-full of fossils and was an important historical discovery in 1909. So much so that it’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
The Spiral Tunnels are another interesting attraction to see in Yoho Park. They were created by the Canadian Pacific Railway and are a series of train tunnels in a spiral formation to decrease the steep gradient. There’s also viewpoints like the Lower Spiral Tunnel where you can pull over and check them out.
No matter what you choose to do in the park, visiting Yoho National Park when you’re in Golden is an absolute must!
29. Day Trip to Revelstoke
Another excellent day trip from Golden is Revelstoke, about 150 km (93 miles) away from town. The drive along the Trans-Canada highway is simply beautiful, worthy of some road-trip tunes and snacks! This road is known as Roger’s Pass and it is absolutely stunning.
There are plenty of fun things to do in Revelstoke including plenty of shops, restaurants, and cafés to check out. You can also check out the Revelstoke Railway Museum and Revelstoke Museum & Archives to learn a bit more about the town’s fascinating history.
Like any town in the Canadian Rockies, Revelstoke has a lot of outdoor recreation opportunities, including hiking and snowshoeing. The biggest draw to Revelstoke is their awesome ski mountain – AKA Revelstoke Mountain Resort! It draws skiers and snowboarders from all over the place and is a very beginner-friendly place to learn.
In the summer months, ride the Pipe Mountain Coaster (a really fun mountain kart) at the mountain resort. You’ve definitely seen videos of this coaster before, it’s gone viral so many times! If not, you’re in for an amazing surprise.
Be sure to also visit Mount Revelstoke National Park – the wildflowers here are so beautiful!
30. Day Trip to Kootenay National Park
Kootenay National Park is another of the six amazing national parks that surround Golden, with so many awesome attractions on offer! You’ll love the drive, but it’s definitely worth getting out and going hiking. For an easy trail, we recommend Marble Canyon, which is about 1.4 km (0.8 miles) and takes about half an hour to complete.
For a bit more of a challenge, we suggest hiking to Stanley Glacier! It’s about 11 km (6.8 miles) long, with the best times to walk it being between June and September. Let us know what you think of the views from the top when you get there!
Another must-visit spot is Radium Hot Springs, where you can just relax in the all-natural mineral pools. Radium Hot Springs town also has a lot to see and do, so spend some time exploring! It’s about 100 km (62.1 miles) from Golden to Radium Hot Springs, but the whole park takes up a much larger area.
Like any of the national parks in the area, a Parks Pass is required to visit Kootenay National Park. You can purchase a Discovery Pass that allows entrance to all national parks for a year for $72.25 CAD per person, or $145.25 CAD per vehicle with up to 7 occupants. Since there are so many amazing national parks around Golden, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth!
Heading to Golden from Vancouver? Read our guide to the best places to stop when driving from Vancouver to Golden!
Where to Stay in Golden, BC
So now that you know about all of the amazing things to do in Golden, you’re going to need somewhere to stay a few nights. There’s just so much to explore in the area you might as well book a great hotel and enjoy a few days in one of Canada’s most underrated mountain towns.
There are plenty of places to stay in Golden, and when compared to nearby towns like Revelstoke and Banff, Golden hotels are generally more affordable.
Here are some of the best places to stay in Golden for every budget:
Golden Acres Mountain Lodge – $$$
Located outside of Golden surrounded by nature, the Golden Acres Mountain Lodge is the perfect luxury escape for anybody looking for a little R&R. The rooms are best suited for couples, with king suites with private kitchenettes, a balcony, and a spa bath. There is an onsite sauna here too and hiking trails start from the property.
Rooms here start from $345 CAD per night and can be booked online here.
Glacier Mountaineer Lodge – $$
The Glacier Mountaineer Lodge is the perfect place to stay if you’re visiting Golden for a ski or snowboard holiday! This hotel is located only 50 meters from Kicking Horse Mountain resort’s chairlift – it’s just so convenient. Besides that, all rooms have mountain views and there is an onsite sauna to enjoy after a day of hitting the slopes.
You can get a room here from $161 CAD and can be booked here through Booking.com.
Best Western Mountainview Inn – $$
This hotel is a great choice if you’re looking for something right in the heart of town! The Best Western Mountainview Inn is clean and comfortable and has all of the amenities you could want, including an indoor pool and breakfast included in the cost.
Rooms here start from $167 CAD. This is quite a popular hotel, so don’t delay and secure your room here.
Travelodge by Wyndham Golden Sportsman Lodge – $
Those on a budget can’t pass on a stay at the Travelodge in Golden. With its central location, indoor pool with a waterslide and hot tub, as well as an included breakfast, this hotel is a steal! They even have pet-friendly rooms and an outdoor picnic area with a BBQ.
A room at the Travelodge starts at $116 CAD and can be booked online here.
Of course, there are lots of hotels to choose from in Golden – check them all out here! It’s a good idea to book well in advance too, the best ones book up quick.
For more detailed info on the different areas to stay in Golden, check out our blog: Where to Stay in Golden, BC.
Renting a Car in British Columbia
If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane, then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province and traveling between the best places to visit in BC requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.
Car rental in Canada isn’t relatively cheap, but it’s not that expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pick-up and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Discover Cars. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Discover Cars all over the world, including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.
Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic, you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!
Canada Travel Essentials
Before you decide to head off and explore the gorgeous mountains, lakes, towns, and cities around Canada it’s important to have the right equipment. Of course, it’s likely you’ll have most of the basics already but there are some common items people forget that I never travel without.
Crampons: In winter, crampons are super handy, but what people don’t realize is that they come in handy in summer too. In fact, up until mid-July, you can still expect icy conditions in the mountains. The pair I use is only $37 CAD and they have lasted me 3 seasons so far!
Waterproof shell: Most people will have this item but I thought I’d include it anyway since it’s so handy in Canada. The Columbia waterproof jacket is a lightweight windproof jacket that will seriously save you in many situations. The best part, though? It comes in pink!
Scent-proof bag (for bears): Most people think you only need to keep the smell of food away from you when you’re overnight camping. However, bears can smell the food in your bag while you’re hiking and the best way to avoid an encounter is to use a scent-proof bear bag. Basically, you put your food in the bag and the bear cannot smell it while you’re hiking. This is one item most people never have (I never hike without it) but it could save you and the bear.
Buff: I love my buff! Seriously, I go nowhere without it both in winter and summer. There are a few brands around but I always buy the original Buff (you know, the one from Survivor!) They’re a little more expensive but the material is good quality and both breathable and quick drying.
Dry bag: I have expensive camera equipment, so I always travel with a dry bag large enough to fit some of my equipment. It can be a camera, book, binoculars, or even my keys. Regardless, a dry bag gives me peace of mind! The MARCHWAY bag is really good quality, and when not in use, takes up only a small amount of room.
Binoculars: I love my binoculars! Seriously they have come in handy so many times, especially when I’m looking for wildlife. The best part is, I use a set that only costs $25 CAD and they serve my basic needs without any issues!
Thanks for reading!
Golden, BC is a small town but packs in a whole lot of amazing activities. Situated in the Columbia Valley, beside the Kicking Horse River, and between six national parks, there are endless outdoor activities to take advantage of.
Then, when you’re done with all the outdoor adventuring, kick back and relax in downtown Golden. Grab a bite to eat, explore this quaint town, and enjoy your stay in beautiful Golden, BC!
If you found this blog helpful. be sure to check out all of our other blogs about Canada. Some of our personal favorites include: