Our home base in Kootenay National Park was Redstreak Campground. It was a little confusing, since the first thing we were told on entering the park was that the campground was back the other way. The campground is in the park but its entrance is a couple of kilometres before the park gate and is poorly marked. That aside it was a great campground, quiet and filled with trees, trails and wildlife. Much better than some of the RV parking lots passing as campgrounds we had seen earlier.
After exploring the local area (Radium Hot Springs, Invermere) our first order of business was to go deep into the park. How deep? Almost as far as you can go and still be in Kootenay National Park (go farther and you end up in Banff National Park). Our goal was the Stanley Glacier trail.
The Stanley Glacier trail is about 10 kilometres return and is rated moderate. It has some elevation gain but you’re unlikely to notice it while gaping at the scenery. There are the usual wildlife warning signs at the trailhead but the trail was busy enough when we visited that no animal in its right mind would have stuck around to trouble us. (Or to have its photo taken, darn it.)
The reward when you reach the top is an amazing view of the glacier and surrounding mountains. The trail ends where the valley widens; the more adventurous continue up the rocky slopes to the foot of a waterfall, caves and the glacier itself. Some say scrambling over the rocks is easy…others not so much. We were content to go partway into the rock field, set up our chairs and have some lunch before descending.
Even on a cloudy day it’s beautiful. And the highway through the national park is one of the nicest I have driven. I wanted to drive it again just for pleasure. Maybe another day.
The photos I've included with this post are:
* (Top) Sun bursting from behind Stanley Peak
* (Below, Top) Diana on the Stanley Glacier Trail
* (Below, Second) Near the end of the Stanley Glacier Trail (Can you spot the people? And the glacier?)
* (Below, Third) A closer view of Stanley Glacier
* (Below, Fourth) Mt. Whymper towering beautifully near the trailhead