You don’t have to go far into Kootenay National Park to find yourself surrounded by the beauty of mountains, forests and streams. The park has several trails surrounding its south entrance and at least one of them is easily accessible from the Redstreak Campground we stayed in.
Naturally, we hiked pretty much all of them. One — the Redstreak Campground Trail — was pure pleasure: a 2.5-kilometre walk from our campground to the hot springs that give Radium Hot Springs its name. The hot springs re-opened a couple of weeks before we visited and was operating in a tightly controlled way to avoid pandemic problems. We went on a Monday when we figured traffic would be light. It was, and we enjoyed floating in the warm water until we started to get lightheaded. That’s always a good time to call it a day…especially when you need to walk another 2.5 kilometres back to your campsite.
On the other side of the highway is the Juniper Trail, a three-kilometre jaunt up one side of a mountain and down the other. The tourist guide describes it as “moderately difficult” — likely because of all the climbing, as it’s certainly not technical. The reward upon reaching the other end is Sinclair Creek, which is nice to eat a granola bar beside before strapping on the crampons and retracing your steps up and down the mountain. (Some people only go one way on the trail, walking back beside the highway. Not for us.)
The only downside to the trails is that they parallel the highway and you can hear traffic almost all the time. There is an exception: The Place of Silence Peace Park on the Redstreak Campground Trail. It’s just a small spot in the woods marked by a sign, but the air there is deeply silent; all sound seems eaten by the loamy ground and rocks.
All photos here are from the Juniper Trail hike. They show some of the foliage, two shots of Sinclair Creek, a view of the trail and the view from up high looking down on the highway.