5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Road Trip to the Columbia Valley
With summer almost around the corner this is the best time to plan your next road trip! If you like road trips as much as you like golf vacations then the Columbia Valley should be on your road trip bucket list.
Situated in the Rockies, the Columbia Valley Golf Trail offers eight unique golf courses, each with their own stunning views and hidden gems. Everything you need is close by, eight golf courses all within a 35 minute drive, as well as two hot springs, stunning scenery, and loads of wildlife.
Here’s 5 reasons why you should take a road trip to the Columbia Valley:
1. Epic Mountain Scenery
The Columbia Valley is located in the BC, Kootenays; it includes the Columbia River headwaters from the town of Golden, all the way down to the village of Canal Flats. It includes the community of Fairmont Hot Springs, Canada’s largest natural hot springs, as well as the towns of Invermere, Radium Hot Springs and Windermere.
The Columbia Valley allows visitors to enjoy both mountain views and lush valley wetlands; the Columbia Valley is also home to the Columbia Wetlands, one of the worlds living natural treasures, and a major bird migration route. One of the best ways to experience the spectacular scenery here is on the golf course. Our eight courses offer a range of different scenery, from mountains to wetlands.
2. Hot Springs Galore
What better way to end a day of golf then with a soak in a hot spring? The Columbia Valley has a number of hot springs on offer, there is one at Radium and a few at Fairmont Hot Springs. One of the most popular hot springs is Radium Hot Springs, founded in 1914, the hot springs are located in Kootenay National Park, beside highway #93, in a large pool flanked by rock walls on one side. Locals tip, to avoid the crowds visit first thing in the morning or around dinnertime.
A little further south is the town of Fairmont Hot Springs, home to the largest hot springs in Canada! The pool is located within the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort but there are also some more ‘rustic’ springs perched above the resort. A short climb brings you to an old bath house with three ‘rooms’ each with a bathtub dug out of the floor. There’s also a tub and bench out in the open.
3. Lake Windermere
Looking for a way to cool down after hitting the greens? Lake Windermere is a popular destination in summer. This warm lake attracts thousands of visitors who take part in every water sport imaginable. In winter when the lake surfaces freezes it becomes the longest ice skating trail, the naturally frozen trail measures 29.98 kilometres.
4. Perfect Road Trip Driving
If you are driving to the Columbia Valley from the east, through Kootenay National Park, one of the best parts of the drive is going through Sinclair Canyon. After hours of stunning rocky mountain scenery you drive through Sinclair Canyon and suddenly a wide lush valley opens up and you are in the Columbia Valley.
5. Abundant Wildlife
If you are a nature lover and you’ve never visited the Columbia Valley, you’re in for a treat! Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep are literally everywhere. The largest sheep in North America are famous for their large, curled horns. These social animals live in groups of 10-100. The Rocky Mountain sheep is celebrated every year in Radium during the annual rut with its Headbanger Festival.
The best place to view them is around Radium. Try driving up to Redstreak Campground where you will also find a picnic area which is one of the best viewpoints of the valley.
BONUS – Here’s the BEST 8 reasons to visit the Columbia Valley… our golf courses!
Fairmont Hot Spring Resort – Mountainside Golf Course
Mountainside Golf Course at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort is your ticket for experiencing all that is great about the mountain golf genre – wonderful views, beautiful conditioning and a riveting collection of golf holes – can be found at Mountainside. This mature, tree-lined layout has been a popular choice in the region for decades. Book Your Tee Times
Hidden Gem – Did you know that Mountainside Golf Course is home to a couple families of black bears. They show up so often on the course that it is unusual for golfers not to catch a glimpse of one while playing. Fairmont Mountainside is the home of the amazing Dancing Circus Bear. The amusing and hugely popular viral video has almost 3 million views!
Fairmont Hot Spring Resort – Riverside Golf Course
A river runs through it’ is the dominant theme at Riverside Golf Course at Fairmont Hot Spring Resort, one of the most enjoyable courses to play – and walk! – in the region. Indeed, the fast-flowing Columbia River is always close at hand and this contemporary design is laced with memorable golf holes that showcase the striking nature of this property. Book Your Tee Times
Hidden Gem – Every Fall the Kokanee Salmon run and the Columbia River runs red with salmon! Golfers at Riverside Golf Course in Fairmont Hot Springs Resort cross the Columbia River six times in a round allowing them plenty of opportunities to witness the spectacular life-cycles as the fish spawn die and a feast for the eagerly awaiting Bald Eagles.
Eagle Ranch Golf Course
Eagle Ranch Golf Course is in a stirring setting made even more dramatic by its Rocky and Purcell Mountain views! This awe-inspiring course delivers a golf experience that goes above and beyond. It includes many holes that plunge down the fall lines, meander through the pines and cruise high along the bluffs. Book Your Tee Times
Hidden Gem – Many bald eagles call this area home, they are frequently seen circling in the skies overhead. That’s not the only wildlife to be found in the Columbia Valley, turkeys, grouse, deer and black bears are also often spotted at Eagle Ranch Golf Course.
Radium Golf Group – Springs Golf Course
Perfectly situated above the Columbia Valley wetlands, the Springs Course celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2018. Set in the heart of the Village of Radium, the Springs Course has earned its reputation as one of BC’s premier golf destinations. This championship par 72 course offers go-for-broke par-5s, heroic tee shots over ravines and a timeless quartet of par 3s. Plus, the course is home to Radium’s herd of Bighorn sheep – adding a new dimension to your game. Book Your Tee Times
Hidden Gem – Radium’s Springs Course is one of the best ways to experience the Columbia Wetlands, one of the world’s living treasures! At 15,070 hectares it is one of the longest intact wetlands in North America. The wetlands provide a habitat for 216 animal species, including elk, deer, moose, wolf, cougar, coyote, beaver, river otter and bears as well as several endangered species, such as the peregrine falcon and American badger.
Radium Golf Group – Radium Golf Course
The incredible setting and natural beauty of the Radium Course have made it a Columbia Valley favourite for decades. Situated just south of the Village of Radium, the Radium Course conveniently has a golf shop, on site dining and practice area. A classic par 72 mountain golf experience offering enthralling vistas, exceptional course conditioning and highly memorable elevated tee boxes you’ll be sure to find photo worthy. The Radium Course is an affordable, popular, playable family friendly experience for all levels. Book Your Tee Times
Hidden Gem – Best view in the Columbia Valley? One strong contender is the Hole #2 elevated tee box at Radium Golf Couse. This tee box is the talk of the town!! A couple of seasons ago they took it away for a couple years, people were so upset that it had to be reinstalled. There is a fantastic view of the Valley, the course also offers great views of the Redstreak rock faces of Kootenay National Park
Copper Point Golf Club – The Point Golf Course
The closing hole on The Point Course at Copper Point is a championship layout that is a sweet risk/reward par-4 over water. It’s a fitting finish on a highly strategic course that will require every club in your bag. A natural, lay-of-the-land route with numerous ‘classic’ elements, such as roughly hewn bunkers and excellent use of existing hills and ravines, the architectural merit of this design warrants play on its own. Book Your Tee Times
Hidden Gem – Mount Nelson is an impressive mountain located in the Purcells, an interior mountain range. This peak is #90 on the Height List for British Columbia and is one of the most photographed in area. A local secret is that one of the best places to view this magnificent peak is from The Point at Copper Point club house!
Copper Point Golf Club – The Ridge Course
It’s been said that the only thing ‘short’ about The Ridge Course at Copper Point is the time it takes to play it! Indeed the par-62 Masters Course – which features some of the strongest holes at Copper Point – can often be played in just three hours. The course takes full advantage of the character-filled terrain it’s situated on. The innovative design features full length Par 3 and Par 4 holes that maintain the perfect blend of playability and challenge, appealing to every level of golfer. Impeccably conditioned and exquisitely shaped, the course often takes people by surprise. In fact, with a string of pristine par-3s and super-strong par-4s, you may walk off The Ridge Course at Copper Point wishing it took longer! Book Your Tee Times
Hidden Gem – The regal bronze Elk statue on the 1st tee of The Ridge Course at Copper Point is called “Royalty”. The statue was crafted by Karl Lansing, Canadian Sculptor who specializes in sculptures of North American and African Big Game Animals and Wildlife. The body stands 11.5 feet high, 9 feet long and 2 feet wide. See it for yourself at The Ridge Couse at Copper Point.
Windermere Valley Golf Course
Windermere Valley Golf Course exudes those rare elements of total relaxation and unpretentious golf in a first-rate setting. While Windermere may be shorter than average in length, it’s definitely not short on character or beauty. The picturesque valley location and wonderful conditioning will ensure golfers of all skill levels will have fun. With excellent teaching programs, a fully stocked pro shop, ‘The Grill’ restaurant, and a laid back atmosphere that will definitely win you over, Windermere makes for an enjoyable golf experience for the entire family. Book Your Tee Times
Hidden Gem – Windermere Valley Golf Course is a record breaker? It is always the first course in the Columbia Valley to open, and the last course to close each year. Windermere Valley Golf Course has the largest Men’s Golf Club, with 150+ members.