Yoho National Park, Golden, Photo Destination BC Ryan Creary
Golden is located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, where the Kicking Horse River and the Columbia River meet and offers access to some of the most pristine backcountry around. Hiking in the area provides stunning scenery. Whitewater rafting on the Kicking Horse River provides an exciting 32 km (20 mi) journey through Yoho National Park and the Canadian Rockies. The Columbia River Wetlands, known as the “Serengeties” of North America, contain an abundance of wildlife with several hundred species of birds coming here during their annual migration. Paragliding and hang-gliding on Mt. Seven is one of the world’s best areas for this sport and you can take a walk with the wolves at the Grizzly & Wolf Interpretive Centre.
The community of Donald is just 28 km (17 mi) northwest along Highway 1. Donald was once a growing community when there were plans for the Canada Pacific Railway to travel through the town. Plans changed and the railway went through Revelstoke instead, and the town shrank down again. Now the community is primarily a tourism location, due to its remote, untapped, natural beauty.
Situated at the cross roads of the Trans-Canada Hwy (Hwy 1) and Hwy 95 South, Golden is 713 km (443 mi) north-east of Vancouver, 268 km (166 mi) west of Calgary and 562 km (349 mi) south-west Edmonton. Radium Hot Springs is 103 km (64 mi) south on Hwy 95.
Originally known as “The Cache”, Golden was a base camp for Major Albert Bowman Rogers and his survey crew during the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway’s tracks. When a camp to the east became known as “Silver City”, Rogers and his survey crew renamed their camp “Golden City”. After four years, “City” was removed from the name, as it seemed pretentious for a place that only had tents and some quickly-made buildings.
Tourism became popular in the early 1900s with the hiring of Swiss guides by the Canadian Pacific Railway. The lure of fresh, unconquered peaks and the prospect of viewing and experiencing the untouched wilderness of an infant country enticed Europeans and eastern Canadians to fill Canadian Pacific Railway passenger cars and their hotel rooms.
To make Swiss employees feel more at home the Canadian Pacific Railway constructed chalets of Swiss concept and called their accomplishment Edelweiss Village. Today the original homes stand overlooking Golden.