This is a fun little 1.2 mile hike right off the main highway in Kootenay National Park in British Columbia, Canada. As beautiful as the Banff-Windermere Highway is, Josh and I wanted to check out a hiking trail.
The Paint Pots Trail starts by winding through some trees. Shortly you come to a bridge crossing over the sparkling clear Vermillion River.
The trail then crosses an open area of scrub, oddly colored mud, and trickling water. The strange color of the mud is actually ochre beds which have been mined in this area for a very long time. Artifacts from local native tribes and more recent industrial mining are littered along the trail. There is a good bit of signage making this an educational hike as well.
Finally the trail ends at several ponds formed by natural springs which feed the trickling water below. The trail returns by the same path.
This is a fun hike that you can breeze through or take your time and enjoy. We spent a good bit of time trying to get the perfect camera shots on Josh’s camera. Not sure if those ever came out? Thanks for reading. rk
These pictures are of Mount Sarbach rising above the Mistaya River from Mistaya Canyon! Banff National Park is breathtaking and the Canadian Rockies have the best mountains I’ve ever seen!
Thanks! – Josh
If you ever need to drive for a couple of hours and be amazed at everything outside your cars windows (or outside your motorcycle helmet) then the Icefields Parkway is for you! Connecting Banff and Jasper National Parks it is almost 150 miles long (232km) and will show you glaciers, mountains, lakes of all shades of blue, waterfalls, and any other thing that defines the beautiful Canadian Rockies in Banff and Jasper! If you get lucky you get even see some Wildlife such as, black and brown bears, caribou, mountain goats, bobcats, marmots, or even a bighorn sheep!
Thanks – Josh
Dad and I were driving up the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park having a grand ol time but a little sleepy so we decided to make some coffee and hike to Mistaya Canyon to wake us up a bit! The hike to the canyon is only half a kilometer (third of a mile) making it feel like nothing. However the reward is for that measly fraction of a mile is a canyon worth a solid five mile hike! Not really knowing what to expect we walked down the trail and onto a bridge that crosses the canyon.
What makes this slot canyon so cool isn’t the size but the unique way the water has formed it. The quick moving Mistaya River corkscrews down into the canyon, smoothing out its walls and creating a canyon reminiscent of those in Antelope Canyon, Arizona!
After marveling at the canyon and the mountains behind it we decided we wanted an it more of a hike so we followed the Howse River trail into the woods. After leaving the canyon we didn’t really have any insane views just the quiet woods all to ourselves (which is quite nice after going to Lake Louise and it’s ten million hourly visitors). Anyways we hiked for a bit before reaching a nice fallen down tree to sit on and enjoy a snack and then we turned back for the Icefields Parkway!
Also it’s hard to get good pictures of a slot canyon but I tried so I hope you like them.
Fun fact: Mistaya means Grizzly Bear in Cree
Thanks! – Josh
A baby bison and it’s mom enjoying the views!
Yellowstone’s wolves are one of the most popular examples of a successful species reintroduction in North America! Another popular example would be the California Condor who was once considered extinct in the wild and now has a population approaching 500! I have been lucky enough to see both the wolves of Yellowstone and a California Condor (at the Grand Canyon!). On our recent trip to Waterton Lakes in Alberta we got lucky again and saw a small bison herd that was reintroduced into the Canadian plains in 2014! Still being quite the small herd and an ongoing process of reintroduction I am excited to see how the bison thrive in their old Canadian home!
Thanks! – Josh
As regular readers know, I eagerly signed up for the free Canada National Parks Pass for 2017 earlier this year. This was a great promotion done by Canada in honor of their 150th Anniversary. Recently I flew into Calgary with fellow blogger, Josh, and toured the famous Banff National Park along with Kootenay National Park and then dipped down into Montana to hike in Glacier National Park. On the return trip, almost on a whim, we decided to check out Waterton Lakes National Park which is adjacent to Glacier NP but on the Canadian side of the border.
Wow! I was blown away. As beautiful as the other Parks were, I really enjoyed Waterton Lakes. It had similar scenery to Glacier NP (which is absolutely gorgeous of course), but was built around the small gateway town of Waterton. Waterton kind of reminded me of Bar Harbor in a way, right on the water and surrounded by breathtaking views in every direction.
Since we had limited time, we hiked Bears Hump and checked out the Red Rock Canyon. We were lucky enough to see a grizzly bear up close from the safety of our car and toured the iconic Prince of Wales Hotel. The friendly staff at the Prince of Wales was able to make a great restaurant recommendation for us in town with great views of the lake (Zum’s Eatery).
Josh and I on top of Bears Hump. I look taller, but really Josh has me by an inch or so.
The very popular Red Rock Canyon
The iconic Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton Lakes NP
Grizzly bear munching away in Waterton Lakes NP
One experience that we didn’t get to do, that will be at the top of my list for my next visit is to take the ferry to Goat’s Haunt. You will cruise the length of the Upper Waterton Lake into Montana (bring your passport) and be dropped off at Goat’s Haunt. This was somewhere we wanted to hike to in Glacier NP but it would be a multi day backcountry hike to get to and back. I had not even considered that there could be an option from Canada to take you there quickly and efficiently.
I can’t wait until my next visit to Waterton Lakes. I hope to see you there. rk
My Discovery Pass came in the mail this week! If you remember from my previous blog, https://bighorntravelblog.com/2016/12/15/canada-national-parks-free-in-2017/, Canada is offering their National Park pass for free in 2017. To be honest, I wasn’t really sure if this offer was open to us in the good old USA or if it was only for Canadians. Since they were so kind to send me the pass, I will have to make sure to visit one or more of Canada’s National Parks this year. If anyone has suggestions of their favorite Canadian National Parks to visit, please comment and let me know. Thank you!
If you are a regular reader of bighorntravelblog, then you know that we love National Parks. Big news was announced recently that the Canada National Parks Discovery Pass is free in 2017. The Discovery Pass normally costs about $104 USD so it is a great savings and a big opportunity to see the most beautiful places in Canada. The reason for this offer is Canada 150. Canada 150 is the celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday.
Now, I wasn’t sure if this offer was only for Canadians or if they would let their friends to the south participate. So I went on the Canada Parks website and 20 seconds later my Discovery Pass was ordered and free first class shipping to me in Georgia. I think that I am going to have to add some trips to Canada in 2017 to my planned trip schedule now.
Now I must admit that I don’t know nearly as much about the Canada National Park system as I do the US National Parks. I looked up and found out that there are 47 National Parks. Some like Banff are easily accessible from a major airport but others are pretty remote and I assume very difficult to get to. I am looking forward to learning more about the Canada National Parks in 2017. Happy 150th Birthday Canada!