Kootenay national park is situated in southeastern British Columbia which is a national park best known for its day hikes and rocky mountains. The park is comprised of Canadian rocky mountain parks including the Kootenay river and some parts of the vermilion river. The park ranges in elevation from 918 m (3012 feet) at the southwestern park entrance to 3424 m (11,234ft) in Deltaform Mountain.
This park which is among seven provincial parks was earlier named “Kootenay Dominion Park” which was created in 1920 as a joint venture between British Columbia and the Canadian federal government to develop a highway in exchange for a piece of land that was decided to be used for park purposes only. Tourists mostly visit from June to September. Most campgrounds are open from May to September.
This combination of Canadian rocky mountain parks was established as a world heritage site. Along with its natural beauty, it also has some deep canyons such as the Marble canyon.
Established on April 21 in the year 1920, this national park is 1406 km square in area.
1. Why You Should Visit
Kootenay National Park is the perfect spot to find nature’s wonders situated near the Kootenay river. This national park is considered to be the best of all national parks in Canada, known for its icy mountain rivers and waterfalls. In winter, its mountain ranges are usually covered with snow and provide excellent views to tourists. This park in Canada supports various kinds of plant life and animal life such as bighorn sheep.
This national park has main tourist attractions like the Canadian Rockies and alpine meadows.
2. When Is the Best Time of Year to Visit?
The Kootenay National Park is open year-round. There is no exact date information but the tourists mainly come here from early June to late September. Tourists mainly visit such national parks during their summer and winter holidays to spend some quality time with their families.
People here can explore mountains, forests, rivers, wildlife, and hot springs (especially radium hot springs).
3. Adventure Sports
The Rockwall trail is one of the hiking trails present in the vermilion ranges with the vermilion river that heads straight to the Yoho National Park. This includes various kinds of connections to this trail from the highway, including the best trails like Floe Creek trail to floe lake campground.
There is another trail at the paint Pot that follows the ochre creek with a 7km long creek trail and a 9km long helmet creek trail that continues to the Yoho national park, the Simpson river trail into Mount Assiniboine park, the hawk creek trail goes directly into the Ball passes into Banff national park, and The verdant trail from the vermilion crosses to Banff national park.
The experienced hikers’ hikes start from the Redstreak campground, the Dog lake train from the Mcleod meadows campground, and the marble canyon paint pots trail from the marble canyon campground.
These trails include olive lake, cobb lake token creek trail from marble canyon Kaufmann lake, The hector gorge trail, and Verendrye creek from the vermilion crossing. The dolly garden trail is one of the main tourist attractions for the campground and cycling event.
4. Climatic Conditions
The park usually has dried humid conditions throughout the year. However, it does have cool summers and long snowy winters. The park mountain ranges intercept the moisture that can go through another side of the continental divide.
The park has been further divided into different climates and geography that are:
The montane ecosystem is somehow at lower elevations such that the park’s west gate and Kootenay river valley experience 300 mm to 500 mm of precipitation each year. The subalpine ecosystem of the vermilion river at floe lake and marble canyon has cool and moist weather with 800 mm precipitation each year and the temperature remains somehow between 0 to 1 degree Celsius.
The alpine ecosystem is at higher elevations and experiences somehow cooler and snowier weather throughout the year because it lacks forest cover.
5. Spots To Visit
5.1. Radium Hot Springs
Radium Hot springs are the steamy hot springs present in the Kootenay National Park. In early 1914 a team from Mcgill university confirmed that there is some source of radium along with the water. A person named Roland Stuart acquired the radium hot spring and suggested creating a hot spring pool as part of the tourist attraction in the park.
In 1921, the government offered Stuart to expand the pool by creating a two-story bath house. In 1948 the facility was rebuilt with concrete pools and a campground. In 1997 another renovation was made with a new hot cold plunge pool added.
5.2. Paint Pots Trail
The paint pots are cold water small lakes and springs from which ochre is deposited at spring outlets. The main minerals in paint pots are principally iron oxide which produces water and mud’s reddish color but another similar mineral as well. Paint pots also have spring water which is also full of wildlife as well.
These paint pots are hubs for all kinds of wildlife including animal and some bird species. The water contains 14 species of algae and moss. Because of the small size of the park, many of the park’s attractions are easily accessible on roads and in a wheelchair.
Numa falls is a short drive from a marble canyon and visitors can directly access it from Highway 93 which crosses the park.
5.3. Scenic Drive and Views
Now since Kootenay National park is directly attached to the main road accessible via a normal highway route. It gives a splendid view for the visitors who are passing by and want to explore its unparallel beauty.
5.4. Stanley Glacier Trail
Stanley Glacier trail is considered to be one of the most beautiful trails in Canada for its unique contrasts with a combination of higher elevations and lower elevations.
This national park sometimes suffers from forest fires during the hottest days of the summer. Summer temperatures usually go higher than the normal range, especially in the areas of Canada.
Forest fires occur due to the presence of dried leaves and wooden pieces that, without any wetness and moisture in the land, easily catches fire. Forest fires require heavy water to control them.
5.5. Sinclair Canyon
Sinclair Canyon is one of the harsh conditions of canyons. It consists of Sinclair creek trail which is one of the most extreme trails for which you might need a guide or a volunteer at least. This trail is present in the British Columbia region and is near Kootenay national park which is a short and easily routed trail that is quite famous among cyclists with the adventurous combination of its mountain, valley, and waterfalls.
The geology of the park is mostly comprised of mountains exposed faulted sedimentary rock and valleys of glacial till deposited in the Pleistocene
In the northwest corner of the park, there is an igneous intrusion known as the ice river complex which has deposits of sodalite. the hills immediately around the hot spring are composed of tufa, a calcium carbonate deposit that forms due to the precipitation of supersaturated hot spring water when it reaches cooler surface water.
The rocks of the southwestern corner of the park are part of the old Purcellcell mountains range while the eastern park mountains are part of the younger rocky mountains range.
The park has many Cambrian strata of oceanic sedimentary origin that shed insight into the explosive radiation of multicellular life on earth. In 2012 a team of scientists from the Royal Ontario Museum, Pomona college, the university of Toronto, and Uppsala university discovered a site above a marble canyon, comparable to burgess shale’s phyllopod bed of fossils.
The new assemblage of organisms dating to Wuliuan is described as rich in basal arthropods and known for the density and variety of soft organisms some preserved in unreported detail.
A total of 242 wildlife species can be found here. The largest species which can be easily found in this region is mountain goat, moose, elk, red deer, white-tailed deer, and mule deer. Black and grizzly bears can also be found in this ecosystem. Coyotes and martens are the only ones spread across the national park; however, carnivores like bobcats can only be found in the south region of the national park. Timberwolves, wolverines, minks, fishers, and badgers have also been seen in this park but are not as common as the other wildlife species.
The most common herbivores or semi-herbivores animals that can be found in this region are snowshoe hares, red-backed voles, deer mice, red squirrels, and Columbia ground squirrels. Only 32 species of birds live inside the park, the rest usually come in the days of summer. Some of the bird species that can be found here are the Boreal owl, yellow-rumped warbler, common yellowthroat, American robin, spotted sandpiper, chipping sparrow, and two-barred crossbill.
The 3 reptilian species that can be identified here are the rubber boa, western terrestrial garter snake, and common garter snake.
Want to know about the wildlife found in and near Canada? Click here to know more.
The lower elevation of the park has plant species such as Douglas fir, lodgepole pine trembling poplar, and western redcedar. The shrub layer primarily includes soapberry, kinnikinnick, western showy aster, dwarf bilberry, Rocky mountain maple, alder, mountain huckleberry, and oval-leaf blueberry. In the higher subalpine elevation gain the Engelmann spruce subalpine fir zone takes over with its tree species.
Heathers, arctic willow, cinquefoil, moss campion, and mountain avens are the dominant vegetation in the alpine areas. An emerging drier climate results in the interior Douglas fir zone expanding into the park, with its more dominant Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, etc.
9. Global Recognition
In 1984, UNESCO enlisted the Canadian rocky mountain parks as a world heritage site. This world heritage site includes four national parks: Kootenay, Banff, Jasper, and Yoho. The site was deemed to be best observed as a geological process, life process, and exceptional beauty.
In 1990 Mount reason and chamber provincial parks were added to the world heritage sites as well. UNESCO often defines these rocky mountain parks as ” With rugged mountain peaks, icefields and glaciers, alpine meadows, lakes and waterfalls, extensive karst cave systems and deeply incised canyons, the Canadian mountain parks possess exceptional natural beauty, attracting millions of visitors annually.”
Kootenay national park is filled with natural wonders. If one wants to spend some time with nature then this park can prove to be the best holiday spot for nature lovers. On-time with a variety of flora and fauna, this place is a great research area for wildlife researchers and for the people who aspire to capture the beauty of nature.
Government and Natives around it should take care of this wonder and leave a wonderful heritage for our future generations.