Monday, December 10, 2012

Canadian Rockies: Kootenay National Park

Kootenay Valley Outlook

Sinclair Canyon

I reached Kootenay National Park at 2 PM. The entrance park starts at in a city call Radium Hot Springs.  There is a fee costing $9.80 in Canadian dollars.  It was only a day pass for all the Canadian Rockies Mountains parks.  This includes Kootenay, Banff, Jasper and Yoho since the borders of each park are against each other.  Mount Robson, Mount Assiniboine and Hamber provincial parks are also located in the system.  The combined parks have been declared a UNESCO site.  I spent two days in the area exploring Kootenay, Banff, Jasper and Mount Robson parks.

The road I will be traveling is call Banff-Windermere Highway (Hwy 93 south).  The road ends at Castle Junction where it meets the Bow Valley Parkway (Hwy 1A).  Once you pass the park entrance you enter a narrow passage called Sinclair Canyon.  This canyon was original to narrow for wagons and the first owner of the hot spring used dynamite to enlarge the opening for wagons and tourist easy access to the springs.  Settlers Road was the main route used to enter Kootenay Valley before Sinclair Canyon was widened.  The road still can be traveled today but it is not paved. 

Lake Cobb Trail Parking Lot heading toward Kootenay Valley Outlook
Next stop is the park’s bathing pools fill from Radium Hot Spring waters. The spring is covered over with cement pools.  I stopped in the hot spring parking lot but decided that I would rather visit a natural hot spring than a paved over one.  This hot spring does have a small concentration of radium in it but the concentration is safe too bath in and the sulfur concentration is low enough not to smell like a rotten egg.

Kootenay Valley with Mitchell Range Mountains
Driving down the road going east you travel through Sinclair Pass.  I pulled over twice to take pictures everyone should stop at Kootenay Valley Viewpoint.  You can get a great look at the valley and the Mitchell Range.  After leaving the viewpoint I descended into Kootenay River Valley and stopped at one of the picnic areas along the river.  The river water was filled with glacier silt giving the water a grayish color.
Kootenay River Picnic Area

Another view of the Kootenay River
I made several stop in the valley Dolly Varden picnic area, Hector Gorge and Sir George Simpson Marker.  The scenery is breathtaking at every turn which is most likely why I love traveling in the mountains. 

Entrance to Dolly Varden Picnic Area

Hector Gorge

The view from Sir George Simpson Marker
I did not have much time to explore this park since it was late in the day but I did do to little exploring at Numa Creek Picnic Area.  Just a short walk from the parking area is Numa Falls. 
Numa Falls

Numa Falls


Numa Falls

Numa Falls

The last stop I made before leaving the park was at Stanley Glacier parking lot to photograph more mountains.

Stanley Glacier Trail Parking Lot

Note the post will not let me put any picture in it.  I will finish this in Canadian Rockies: Kootenay National Park II.  

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