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“A good place to be” – that’s what the official website of Kimberley, BC says and we couldn’t agree more! Kimberly a quaint little town set in the gorgeous Kootenay Rockies, a southeastern region of British Columbia, Canada.
Between outdoor activities, great food, and fascinating culture and history, you will love your visit here. For me, Kimberly is a regular stop on any road trip around the Kootenay Valley and I actually own property just north of Kimberly in Invermere!
As you can imagine I’ve explored the area more than most and have a great list of fun activities to do in Kimberly to keep every visitor busy. And in tis blog, I’ll share them all with you!
Things to do in Kimberley, BC
1. Hit the slopes
Canada is known for its ski and snowboard culture, and the Kootenays region offers some of the best places to ski! Kimberley Alpine Resort is right in town, so it is very accessible and has a ton of ski-in/ski-out accommodation options.
Kimberly Alpine Resort is located in the Purcell Mountain range of the Rocky Mountains, and it is known for its sunny weather. The resort has stunning scenery all around – 1,800 acres and 80 runs worth of gorgeous views! There are options for new and advanced skiers alike. A day here will run you about $50 CAD.
If you want to try something else, there are other options in the region, including Fernie Alpine Resort and Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, each about an hour away.
Fernie tends to attract skiers from all around the world (and there are lots of fun things to do in Fernie in the winter), whereas Fairmont has the added bonus of the relaxing hot springs! If you do head to Fairmont, be sure to check out all the best things to do in Fairmont as well as Invermere that’s just down the road.
Whatever you choose, don’t pass up an opportunity to hit the slopes here!
Related Read: Traveling for the holiday season? Check out our blog about visiting Fernie in Decmeber – it is one of the best mountain towns in BC to visit over the holidays. Just be sure to book your hotel in Fernie in advance, they book up quick!
2. Step back in time at Fort Steele Heritage Town
You only need to drive 30 minutes from Kimberley to totally step back in time to another century. Fort Steele Heritage Town is a protected heritage site where you can experience what it was like to live during the 1800s gold rush.
While you may not strike gold today, it used to be a booming gold town. In the present day, you can experience the excitement through street theatre, tours, and live demonstrations.
At just $7 CAD/adult, it’s an affordable option to learn some more about the culture and history of the region!
3. Ride the North Star Rails to Trails
This 26km stretch of paved trail stretches from Kimberley to Cranbrook and offers year-round options to get outside. It used to be a train corridor but was converted into a paved trail for use by the public.
We recommend cycling the trail, as the paved way makes it easy to explore the area. There are a few options to rent bikes in town, including Blackdog Cycle & Ski and Bootleg Bike Co. The trail starts right in Kimberley (near the Aquatic Centre) and so it’s easy to grab your bike and get going.
Other options are walking, running, and roller-blading. You can even cross-country ski this trail in the winter!
4. Visit Marysville Falls and Eco Park
If you’re looking for an excellent ratio of walk to view (i.e. less walking, more views!), this activity in Kimberley is for you. Just a 10-minute walk along a boardwalk brings you to the most stunning waterfall. Seriously, it’s beautiful. If you’re lucky, and there at the right time of the year, you can see salmon in the river!
Marysville is a southern neighborhood of Kimberley, and there is a parking lot right at this trailhead. This is a quick, easy, and accessible hike for everyone, so be sure to check it out!
5. Wander the Cominco Gardens
Not going to lie, this is the perfect place to get your next Instagram shot. It’s just so pretty! These Cominco Gardens are located just minutes from downtown Kimberly and are a popular place to take an afternoon walk or bring a picnic lunch.
The Cominco Gardens sit on 5 hectares and have over 45,000 different types of flowers that bloom each year. The gardens were established in 1927 as a showcase for a local brand of fertilizer. They were gifted to the community of Kimberley in 1987 for the public to enjoy. The gardens are free to enter and explore – we know you’ll love them!
6. Go Golfing
Whether you want to golf, or mini-golf, Kimberly’s got options… A lot of options. There are seven golf courses just 24 minutes away from each other in the Kimberley and Cranbrook area.
One option right in Kimberley is Trickle Creek Golf Course, an absolutely stunning 18-hole course that’s carved out of the forest, on the slopes of North Star Mountain. Another option is the historic Purcell Golf Course – in operation since 1924! This course offers a true challenge for golfers, and you’ll love the mountain golf experience, with its setting between large Ponderosa pine trees along the greens.
For those looking for something a bit more casual, check out Kimberley Riverside Campground’s 18-hole Putting Course. It’s huge – 23,000 square feet – and is just like playing on a real course, but miniature. There are ponds, streams, terraced rocks, sand traps, and more. It’s a great place to practice your swing and have some fun! It’s open from May to September, weather depending, and will run you just under $10 CAD to enjoy.
7. Visit Kimberley Heritage Museum
You might get the sense that there is a lot of outdoor adventure waiting for you in Kimberley – there is! But there are some awesome low-key indoor options as well, especially if you’re there on a rainy day. The Kimberley Heritage Museum is packed full of interesting information and history of the region. It costs just $3 CAD to get in, so why not go and learn a thing or two?
The museum shares a building with the Kimberley Library and holds over 10,000 artifacts and another 11,000 photographs. They also change out exhibits throughout the year to reflect special events.
The museum is open year-round, but with short hours of just 1 pm – 4 pm during winter and 9 am – 4:30 pm through the busy season of July and August.
8. Hike in the Kimberley Nature Park
This park holds a pretty impressive title – the largest municipal park in British Columbia! At over 840 hectares, plus the adjacent 200-acre Horse Barn Valley Interpretive Forest, it makes sense! There are a full 50 kilometers of trails for you to explore.
Old-growth cedars? Yep. Rugged mountain slopes? Got it. Gorgeous viewpoints? Uh-huh. There is just so much to see here. The park is dedicated to ecological education, with events and information boards or posters throughout the park to educate users about the wildlife in the area.
The Kimberley Nature Park can be enjoyed through any season, with different options for hiking, running, snowshoeing, and skiing. There is detailed trail information available, so make sure to plan out your route and stick to the marked trails to enjoy this area. If you prefer something on your phone, download the Trailforks app to keep you on track when hiking through the park.
9. Explore Kimberley’s Underground Mining Railway
This is a super unique tourist attraction and it gives an authentic look into the mining history of Kimberley. The Kimberley’s Underground Mining Railway has been around for 28+ years and offers a fun opportunity to ride the rails through the valley.
There are a few options to visit, with the most exciting one being a train tour, called “Ride the rails into mining history!” It’s a fun way to learn about the industry from a miner, while actually riding a train! This tour costs $25 CAD/adult.
This attraction ranks #1 on Tripadvisor for things to do in Kimberley, so don’t miss out!
10. Eat a delicious meal
If you want to “get mucked up” (their slogan, not ours), Pedal and Tap is the place to go! They were even featured on the Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here! show. Pedal and Tap is located in the pedestrian-only Platzl area in downtown Kimberley, making it an easy stop when you are out around town. They pride themselves on seasonally-inspired local food, and are famous for their mucky fries and spaghettiballs – make sure to try them out!
Another amazing option to pick up some food is the Stonefire Pizzeria. It has a warm and cozy atmosphere, and it’s always fun to see pizzas tossed up in the air and cooked in a wood fire oven. We would highly recommend it after a day of skiing or outdoor activities! Stonefire Pizza is also located in the walking district of Platzl.
11. Enjoy the German heritage
You probably aren’t expecting to go to Kimberley, BC, and end up in… Germany? Yep, Kimberley now has the nickname of “little Bavaria.” This German influence was brought into the town intentionally back in the 1960s when the city was trying to boost tourism and avoid becoming a ghost town after the railway and sawmill closed.
The community leaders used Leavenworth, Washington as a model, knowing that a charming European-style town would be attractive to tourists.
The most obvious German influence in Kimberley today is the Platzl, a quaint pedestrian-only area, and its yodeling “Happy Hans” cuckoo-clock. But perhaps the best experience of all is visiting the #1 rated restaurant on Tripadvisor – The Old Bauernhaus Restaurant. Here you can order authentic German food like schnitzel or spaetzle. If you’re super hungry, try out the Bavarian Feast to share – you won’t be disappointed!
12. Wander around town
Kimberley is quaint. There’s no other way to say it! It’s got all the charm of a European alpine town, with tons of cute shops to stop in and out of. Whether your just window shopping or looking for souvenirs, spend an afternoon wandering around town.
The Platzl is the downtown pedestrian-only shopping district, filled with cute shops, cafes, and places to eat. One of our favorite boutique shops is the Grater Good, a kitchen supply company that sells everything from cake-decorating materials, to high-quality cast iron pans, to old-fashioned glassware.
Another must-see is the Olde Koots Vintage shop, an adorable little store to wander around and hunt for treasures. The staff are friendly, prices are fair, and there is never-ending memorabilia and nostalgia to look through!
13. Visit the nearby town of Cranbrook
Cranbrook, BC is a town just about a 30-minute drive away from Kimberley and offers tons of fun things to do for a day trip.
Some of our favorite things to do in Cranbrook are the Community Forest, which has tons of walking and hiking options, or the Cranbrook History Centre if you’re looking for an indoor option. There are tons of places to eat and drink, with The Heid Out, Soulfood, and Fire Hall Kitchen and Tap all making our list of must-tries.
Cranbrook is also home to Jimsmith Lake Provincial Park and Elizabeth Lake Bird Sanctuary if you are looking for somewhere to picnic and spend the day in nature.
14. Explore Fernie
We already mentioned the world-class skiing and snowboarding available in Fernie, BC, but there are plenty of other reasons to check out this town! Fernie is just under 1.5 hours drive away from Kimberley, giving you a bit of time to enjoy the scenery while you get there.
There are a lot of outdoor options, including Fairy Creek Falls or James White Park for a low-key walk or day outside. More challenging hikes include Mount Proctor and Mount Fernie Ridge – these are definitely a challenge, but worth it for the view (and the beers after!).
Once back in Fernie, make sure to spend some time wandering the quaint downtown area before stopping in for a beer at Fernie Brewing Co. Fernie has great restaurants too, like the Curry Bowl (named after the infamous powder bowl at the Fernie Alpine Resort) or Nevadas, a super cool spot that offers authentic Latin American food!
15. Road trip through the Columbia Valley
Pack your snacks and pick your playlist! It’s road trip time! There are just way too many awesome towns and attractions in this area to stay in one place. Carve out a few days to road trip around the area.
We’ve already mentioned Cranbrook and Fernie, which takes you east of Kimberley. Another option is to head up north, towards Fairmont Hot Springs, Invermere, and Radium Hot Springs. There is so much to see in and between these towns.
Obviously, both Fairmont and Radium have amazing hot springs – you have to check them out and go relax in these naturally warm pools. Radium also has lots of other great activities on offer. There are also lakes, beaches, and parks to check out all over this area. We recommend Windermere Lake or Columbia Lake in Invermere, and Kootenay National Park, which starts in Radium.
Take your camera with you on this road trip – we guarantee you’ll be in and out of the car a million times to get a great pic.
Visiting Kimberley from Calgary? Check out our blog about the best road trip stops on the drive from Calgary to Kimberley.
Where to stay in Kimberley, BC
Despite being such a small town Kimberley offers some really good places to stay.
For budget travelers, I recommend the North Star Motel. It’s one of the cheapest options in town but it’s still a comfortable hotel with good facilities. The hotel is a little out of town and even further from the ski resort but for the price, it’s a good option for those with a vehicle.
For those with a medium budget, the Trickle Creek Lodge is a perfect choice. This place sits only a few steps from the ski resort chairlifts and also has a pool and gold resort onsite. So no matter the season there’s a reason to stay here.
If staying in a hotel isn’t for you or you’re traveling in a large group, check out the properties on VRBO! These are perfect for large groups.
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 is relatively cheap, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pickup and drop-off in different locations is around $70 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!
Before you go…
Kimberley, BC definitely lives up to its reputation as “a good place to be.” We love that you can explore the great outdoors, learn some local history, and get a bit of European alpine-town charm all in one place. It’s jam-packed with awesome things to do. We hope you love it as much as we do!
Thanks so much for reading! I hope this blog has helped plan an inspire your upcoming trip to Kimberley, BC. As you can see there is tons to do so get out there and explore!