Top Things to do in Kicking Horse in Summer

By Lisa Kadane

Kicking Horse has a reputation as the Powder Highway’s top stop for steep and deep skiing and riding in winter. But when the snow melts, the resort, located 14 km west of Golden in the Purcell Mountains, turns into an outdoor adventure mecca. There are trails for hiking and mountain biking, a river for rafting and paddling, stunning alpine views and wildlife galore, all easily accessible from a comfortable suite with Kicking Horse Lodging. What’s more, this up-and-coming destination has fewer crowds than Banff and is better value, too. Here are some ideas for how to spend your vacation (and less money!) in B.C.’s best-kept secret.

Psst… see the bottom of this post for a great 30% off deal on stays at Kicking Horse!

Bear in the wild, Golden B.C.

See a grizzly bear in the wild

When grizzly bear cub Boo and his brother Cari were orphaned in 2002, the world’s largest enclosed grizzly bear habitat was created on the slopes of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort to protect the bears while letting them forage, hunt, play and hibernate in their natural environment. Only Boo survived the first winter, and visitors who stop by the Grizzly Bear Refuge are almost guaranteed to see the beautiful bruin exploring his domain.

Via Ferrata

Test your mettle on the Via Ferrata

Scale a mountain face while clipped in to a steel cable that connects a system of iron rungs, ladders, pegs, swinging bridges and carved steps as you ascend the Via Ferrata at Kicking Horse, billed as the most exhilarating “iron road” in Western Canada. Climbing the north face of Terminator Peak in this secure way makes mountaineering accessible even for newbies—just make sure you choose one of the two easier routes if it’s your first time.

Check in to a fully-equipped suite right in Kicking Horse village

Mountain adventurers need a good base camp and Kicking Horse Lodging, which operates two lodges and a range of rental properties, delivers stylish suites and townhomes that are close to the gondola—your conduit to alpine hiking, mountain biking and the Via Ferrata. This is one area where Kicking Horse’s superior value shines—a two-bedroom suite at the Palliser Lodge with a full kitchen and private hot tub, for example, costs about the same (or less) than a standard hotel room in Banff.

Kicking Horse Lodging Gondola

Experience accessible alpine hiking and mountain bike riding

Ride that gondola up into Kicking Horse’s high alpine to traverse stunning ridge hikes such as Dogtooth Ridge or Terminator Ride to T2 Peak. Or, test your technical downhill riding skills on 50 km of mountain biking trails that include features from rollicking berms and rock slabs, to wooden ramps and a whopping 120 jumps and drops—all while descending a heart-stopping 3,700 vertical feet from summit to village base.


Eat an elevated lunch at Canada’s highest restaurant

Refuel at Eagle’s Eye, located at the top of Kicking Horse at an elevation of 7,700 feet. The country’s loftiest restaurant pours a selection of B.C. wines, and serves up truffle fries, salads, sandwiches and burgers, with arguably the best views in the Columbia Valley and beyond. You won’t have to elbow other tourists out of the way to get an Instgrammable shot of snow-capped peaks, but you might want to make a reservation.

Hike up to see glaciers in a national park

Not only is Kicking Horse close to six national parks (Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, Yoho, Mount Revelstoke and Glacier), but one of the parks nearest to town—Glacier National Park—boasts 131 glaciers! Trek up the Glacier Crest Trail, a 5.7 km (one way) hike that leads to an alpine vista of the icy tongues of the Asulkan and Illecillewaet glaciers. From the ridge it’s a 360-degree panorama of rock and ice.


Tackle epic whitewater on the Kicking Horse River

Prepare to get wet rafting through Class III and IV rapids down a thrilling stretch of the famous Kicking Horse River. Or try heli-rafting, where a helicopter flies in adrenalin junkies to the put-in for the famous Lower Canyon, a churning chasm of Class IV rapids only accessible by chopper.

Wapta Falls

Hike to Wapta Falls, the ‘Niagara Falls’ of Yoho National Park

Drive 30 minutes southeast to Yoho National Park and the trailhead for Wapta Falls. This 2.3 km (approximately 40-minutes) one-way hike travels through lush forest to the dramatic spot where the Kicking Horse River hurtles over a 30-metre-high cliff.

Best day yet at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

“We didn’t look for the powder. It found us!” Along with the family, Joanne plows through the powder and takes us on her latest ‘best day ever’ at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort at Golden, B.C.

Guest post by Joanne Elves

Courtesy of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Courtesy of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

It was ‘That Day.’ You know what I’m talking about. The ‘That Day,’ that will burst from my lips when anyone asks, “What’s been your most epic day on skis?” There have been great runs, great jumps, and epic fails while skiing at resorts all over the world, but this is the day Kicking Horse Mountain Resort delivered an entire day of perfection.

As a Christmas present to our kids, we booked a few days in a condo at Glacier Mountaineer Lodge as soon as fall semester finals were done. It’s our way of selfishly hoarding them for a few days before the rush of the festive season and friends takes over. Having everything you need within walking distance from your place in the village frees up time for more important things – like skiing.

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, only minutes out of the town of Golden, B.C., offers over 120 runs spread across five bowls using nearly 3,500 acres of terrain. It’s never been called an easy hill. With way more than half the runs classified as advanced and expert, it calls out the adrenaline junkies hungry for steep chutes pillowed with dry, fluffy powder. Good or bad, we raised such junkies.


We spent a few days on our favourite trails getting our snow legs back and took the annual family selfie. Lap after lap in the glades off Redemption Ridge or in CPR Ridge had us all begging for a day off.

The day before ‘That Day,’ we decided to strap on the skinny skis at Dawn Mountain Nordic Centre only a few kilometres from the lodge. With the prediction of over 30 cm to fall throughout the day, sticking in the trees on 35 kilometres of tracks was a great idea.

Courtesy of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Courtesy of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

‘That Day’ we woke to blue skies and heaps upon heaps of powder. Instead of using our all-terrain skis, we rushed downstairs to Selkirk Sports and rented some performance Salomon skis.  The first run was into Bowl Over where thigh-deep powder billowed up on every turn! Far more snow than was predicted had landed. Panic mode wanted to creep in, but those fat skis did their job down the steeps, the chutes and the glades.

You know it’s a good day when you stop to catch your breath and look at the gorgeous mountain views and from somewhere in the trees you hear people hooting and hollering. That happened all day long.

Stopping for lunch when staying at any of the Bellstar properties at the base is a time-saver. Kick your boots off in the locker room and dash up to the condo for soup and sandwiches before heading out for more adventures. A quick stop at the café, Double Black provided the java-jolt I needed for the afternoon.

stairway Elves photo.jpg

New terrain opened this season accessed either by heading up the stairs at the top of Whitewall or by dropping into Fuez Bowl and traversing over to boot pack up Middle Ridge to enter the next bowl. You have no idea how happy I was to find out the safety team wouldn’t be opening Ozone or Rudi’s Bowl that day. My kids would fearlessly be making that trek over to Ozone to jump into the chutes used for the Freeride World Tour events – and they’d expect me to follow.

Instead, we headed back to Super Bowl where there was still untracked snow. That’s the beauty of this resort, even days after a blizzard you can still find fresh terrain to blow through.

Courtesy of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Courtesy of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

The only reason we stopped skiing was because the lift operators wanted to go home. The sun set while we soaked in the hot tub. While we relived the day dining at Peaks Grill – again, in Glacier Mountaineer Lodge, the groomers with their beaming lights rolled up and down the mountain – prepping the runs for the next day.

A trip back to the resort in January had my husband and I experiencing the thrill of hiking up Middle Ridge to drop into Rudi’s Bowl. Looking at the boot-pack from the chairlift, the effort looks daunting but just like the gold-seekers heading up Chilkoot Pass, you forge ahead for great rewards. Dropping into terrain that so few dare explore makes it even sweeter.

This ‘That Day’ might be replaced next winter when we repeat the visit to Kicking Horse and take the kids over to Middle Ridge. Until then, it will stay the best day ever.


About the author: Joanne Elves is a travel writer who is always looking to tell the story in a way to inspire readers to explore. Her adventures can be found in publications including The Calgary Herald, WestJet Magazine, The Globe and Mail (Drive Section) and

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort has been the family favourite since her adrenalin junkies learned to ski on “It’s a Ten.”

Golden Adventures

Brigid takes us along on her outdoor adventure to Kicking Horse Resort at Golden, BC. Summer offers endless opportunities on the mountain.

Guest post by Brigid Scott


Want a fun challenge that will take your breath away and make you feel like you're a badass? Head to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and sign up for the Via Ferrata and Mountain Biking packages! 

Heading up the gondola to the summit of Kicking Horse Mountain was a great start to our July long weekend. We met our guide Richard at the summit and he hooked us up with all the gear we would need to safely ascend the route. After learning the ropes on the practice wall, we hiked the short trail to the base of the ascension route and clipped our carabiners in. The carabiner follows you along as a constant safety contact with the wall of the mountain. At each junction, you just slide it through the metal plate in order to continue on through to the next section. We crossed a single plank suspension bridge, then headed around and up the cliffs of the mountain, taking a short break on a large rock shelf before carrying on to some spicier sections of vertical and onto a wire bridge. Approaching the single length of cable, I had to take a breath; it looked a bit intimidating! But after another deep breath, slid my safety carabiner onto the section, grabbed onto the wire on top and stepped out onto the single cable and started moving across. Whew! (check out my Instagram Channel for a sweet video of the wire crossing).


A few more vertical sections that tested my upper body strength and then we popped out on top of the summit ridge! Whoo hoo! One last walk of the ridge and we were able to unclip and enjoy the summit. The weather improved for our time up top and we actually got some welcome sunshine. After enjoying the spoils, we headed down the trail and back to the climbing centre to drop our equipment off. The climbing took about 2 hours. We were pooped from the excitement, so we headed down and checked into our suite on the hill with Kicking Horse Lodging.  We finished off our evening with a lovely soak in the hot tub and returned to our room to relax with some wine in front of the fire place.


The next day, after a yummy breakfast and coffees at Double Black (across from the main gondola), we checked into the Performance Rental Centre for our downhill mountain biking lessons and rentals. Sander was an awesome teacher and he hooked us up with all the safety gear we needed to negotiate the mountain safely.  We both got shiny red bikes and headed to the mid-mountain gondola to load the bikes and ride it up. Even though the clouds were low and it was trying to rain/hail on us, we were so stoked. I was also very nervous, but Sander took us on a green trail to help me get a feel of the mountain.


He taught us about FLOW: fingers (only use one on the brake), level pedals, outside of the turns, weight balanced according to gravity and he gave us pointers for improvement. Our second run down we headed onto a blue run, which I was nervous about, but ended up being my favourite due to all the fun roly-polies (probably not the technical term). Since our lunch reservation was approaching, we paused our biking fun and headed up the main gondola to Eagle's Eye Restaurant, "Canada's Most Elevated Dining Experience". 


A lovely host seated us, and our cheerful waitress took our orders. Lunch was delicious and the cheesecake that we splurged on was divine. After a nice hot coffee, we headed back down for another run, this time on our own! It was super fun to rip down the trails and I couldn't believe how much of a work out it was! Elated but exhausted, we headed back to our sweet suite at the Palliser Lodge for another soak in the hot tub and relaxing around the fireplace. Looking out through the balcony windows and watching the rain was super peaceful after a busy, but awesome two days.

The Rocky Mountain Scrambler

Guest blogger

Brigid Scott lives in Jasper, Alberta with her husband Mark.  They both love being teachers and take advantage of their proximity to the mountains to the fullest.

Brigid says taking photos of her beautiful surroundings has become a passion and she has taken advantage of all the beauty that surrounds her by getting out as often as possible to document the magnificence of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

autumn savings - 25%

Enjoy the best of Golden when you stay a minimum of 2-nights.

Book until December 1, 2018 for stays from October 1 - December 20, 2018

Full payment required at time of booking. Non-Refundable. Non-Cancellable. Minimum 2-night stay. Maximum 5-night stay. Subject to availability. 

Blackout dates Glacier Mountaineer Lodge: Oct 1 – Nov 30.
Other blackout dates may apply.

6 Hidden Gems in the Rockies

We’ve picked six of our favourite off-the-beaten-path adventures in the Rockies.


Takakkaw Falls (meaning "magnificent" in Cree) is a breathtaking waterfall located in Yoho National Park. The falls are fed by the Daly Glacier, which is part of the Waputik Icefield. Tumbling 830 feet in one stretch and 1,260 feet in total, these falls are among the highest in Canada.  Take in the falls from a view far away or adventure to the base before setting out to explore Yoho's beautiful hiking trails. 

Takakkaw Falls is 1 hr and 11 min from Kicking Horse Lodging, the perfect basecamp for outdoor adventure in the Canadian Rockies.

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As indicated by its name, this vivid, turquoise beauty is a gem you do not want to miss. Emerald Lake is the largest of Yoho National Park's 61 lakes, attracting tourists and photographers from all around the world. The pristine views are perfect for picnics on the lakeshore or a paddle through its tranquil waters by canoe. Take a hike out to the natural bridge to admire the Kicking Horse River as it carves a path through ancient rock.

Emerald Lake is 52 min from Kicking Horse Lodging, which is uniquely situated between six of Canada's most stunning national parks .

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This gem is a great option for a quick day trip for both new and experienced cavers. Located on Moose Mountain near Bragg Creek, AB, the Canyon Creek Ice Cave hike is a relatively easy 7 km, or an even quicker bike ride, ending with a slight scramble up to the entrance to the giant mouth of the cave. Make sure to pack some extra layers to keep warm while exploring as well as good safety gear and a headlamp. Eat your lunch on the sun warmed ledge of the cave while enjoying the spectacular views Canyon Creek Valley.

Canyon Creek Valley is 1 hr and 10 min from the Grande Rockies Resort — the perfect family getaway resort in the mountains. 

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Touted as having the best fly fishing in North America, Elk River is a outdoorsman's dream. This short river is nestled in the Eastern portion of the Alberta foothills and drains into the Brazeau Dam. The avid fisherman can expect mostly catch and release fishing for Trout, Mountain Whitefish and Northern Pike.  Wade out into the wide, trailing river while enjoying the surrounding wildlife. For those wanting to enjoy this ideal fishing spot for a few days, Elk River Campsite is a great spot to set up for the night. 

Here is an unsung treasure of southern Alberta Prairies.  Flanked by the Canadian Rocky Mountains and bordering Montana's Glacier National Park, Waterton National Park has an adventure for every visitor. Whether getting out on the lake, exploring Bison Paddock overlook, going on a Maskinonge adventure or driving the Chief Mountain Highway, it is a day well spent. Be sure to bring your cameras to capture the beautiful wildlife and views along the way. 

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Mist Mountain Trail is a 9.8 kilometre out and back trail. Although an easy scramble, the elevation gain of nearly 1300 Meters makes this a difficult hike. But those with the drive to keep going will be rewarded near the summit with two small, natural hot springs. Rest your tired legs in the pools, filled with water running down ridges of steep, craggily rocks and foliage from inside towering cliffs above. Bring your pup along and be sure to pack bear spray as this is the heart of grizzly paradise. 

Mist Mountain is 1 hr and 12 min away from Solara Resort and Spa. Rest easy in luxurious accommodations following a good hike and one of the many treatment options from our spa, One Wellness.