Mineral Mountain Ziplines' Guide to Your Local Ecosystem

May 28, 2019
Learn about Mineral Mountain Ziplines’ valuable ecosystem, which sits at the headwall of the Rocky Mountains and start of the Columbia River.

Learn about Mineral Mountain Ziplines’ valuable ecosystem, which sits at the headwall of the Rocky Mountains and start of the Columbia River.

Imagine a place where jutting mountains, geological formations, and mineral-rich waters flow through old-growth forest to a fertile valley with winding rivers and fish-laden lakes. That pretty well describes the location for Mineral Mountain Ziplines, which is entering its third season at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. Elevate your senses at our ecologically diverse home in the East Kootenays and get ready to take a zip through paradise.


Quick Guide Links


Where the Rocky Mountains Meet the Columbia Water Basin

Situated just below the Rocky Mountain headwall, our zipline provides a high vantage point for those visiting Fairmont Hot Springs Resort to take in some of the most breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and fertile Columbia Valley.

As our Fairmont Hot Springs’ zipline lies in the shadow of the Rockies at an elevation of more than 2,600 feet, one side can be colder than the other. The warmer side opens to views of the Columbia River wetlands and Columbia Lake, which marks the start of the Columbia River, the longest North American river that flows into the Pacific Ocean.

Just around the corner is one of the area’s most distinctive landmarks, a moonscape of sandstone cliffs that have transformed into hoodoos.

Ziplining is a fun way to take in the trees, mountains, and water landmarks from a unique vantage point.

Ziplining is a fun way to take in the trees, mountains, and water landmarks from a unique vantage point.

Fairmont Ridge mountain peaks in British Columbia

Fairmont Ridge mountain peaks in British Columbia


A Line Through Nature

MMZ’s six thrilling ziplines run north-south over Fairmont Creek through the old-growth forest that includes giant Douglas firs and larch trees, which turn a brilliant colour in the fall.

Look closely, and you may spot big horned sheep clinging to the side of the mountain as you soar along with the many species of birds, including hawks and eagles. The area is also home to black bears and the few grizzlies that crawl out of their dens in spring seeking salmon in local streams and creeks.

At Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, you can find elk and deer, as well as various water birds such as grebes, wrens, ducks and Great Blue Herons at the nearby wetlands.

 

Protecting Diverse Landscape

Before we built our ziplines at Fairmont Hot Springs, we conducted a baseline study with a team of biologists to see what endangered or threatened wildlife lived in the ecosystem. We then built a mitigation plan, so that we wouldn’t impact both invertebrate and vertebrate species living in the trees and on the land.

To make ziplines, we have to fall some trees. We use biologists and trained fallers to mitigate the damages and lessen the environmental impact of any tree removal.

A lush landscape of towering trees and mountains, home to many different wildlife.

A lush landscape of towering trees and mountains, home to many different wildlife.


Welcome to Hot Springs Country

One of the best ways to spend a day at Fairmont Hot Springs is with an exciting cruise along our Columbia Valley ziplining course and a dip at the resort’s naturally heated hot spring pools. For centuries people have been soaking in these mineral-rich springs, said to increase circulation and provide many other health benefits.

Thermal springs naturally occurred more than 30 million years ago with the formation of the Rocky Mountains.

When rainwater or snow falls onto the peaks of the mountains, it seeps into the porous, sedimentary rock, gathering minerals such as sulphur and radium along the way. Warmed internally by the primal heat of the earth, the water resurfaces when it hits a thrust fault or crack. The process repeats every year as the snow melts high above in the mountains and disappears into fissures to bubble back to the surface. 

Every day, more than 1.2 million gallons of fresh naturally heated and odourless mineral water flows to the hot springs at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort.

Mineral Mountain Ziplines is located just outside Fairmont Hot Springs Resort.

Mineral Mountain Ziplines is located just outside Fairmont Hot Springs Resort.

Other hot springs near Mineral Mountain Ziplines include:

  • Radium Hot Springs in Kootenay National Park, located 35 km north of our zipline at Fairmont Hot Springs. 
  • Lussier Hot Springs, an outdoor natural hot spring along the Lussier River, located near the turn-off to Whiteswan Provincial Park, approximately 35 minutes from Fairmont Hot Springs.
  • Ram Creek Hot Springs, a hidden hot spring in the Ram Creek Ecological Reserve that is located 72.9 kilometres from Fairmont Hot Springs.

  


 

Eco-Friendly Events and Things to Do in the Columbia Valley

Mineral Mountain Ziplines Community Day
MMZ is giving back to the community with its second annual Community Day, May 31. Ziplining tickets are 50% off for the day, with all proceeds going to the Invermere Special Olympics! Find more information in our blog.

 

Go Whitewater Rafting
Hit the rapids with a certified river rafting guide. Kootenay River Runners has been offering whitewater river rafting since 1976 and currently operates three different tours, including the Kicking Horse and Kootenay Rivers as well as Toby Creek.

 

Fairmont Hot Springs Farmers and Artisans Market
Shop for freshly grown local produce and hand-crafted artisan wares at this farmers' market in the Fairmont Village Mall parking area Sundays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Starts at the beginning of July.

Whitewater rafting adventure!

Whitewater rafting adventure!

Invermere Farmers and Artists Market
Regular Market days take place on Main Street (7th Ave) in downtown Invermere, including the Saturday Morning Market Place in front of the Legion building on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Opens in June.

Visit the Invermere Farmers' Market for some local goods.

Visit the Invermere Farmers' Market for some local goods.

Agri Park Farmers Market
Operated by the Windermere District Farmers Association, this market is located at the crossroad near Copper Point golf course beside the Town and Country Feed Store and the Windermere Saddle Club. It runs Wednesdays from 5– 7:30 p.m.

 

Valley Appreciation Day
Taking place July 20 on Main Street in Invermere, this event coincides with the regular Farmers’ Market. Several blocks will be closed to traffic, with a free pancake breakfast, local music performances, cart races, and displays by local service clubs and organizations.

 

Columbia Salmon Festival
Residents and visitors come together with the Ktunaxa people to learn about and celebrate the future of the salmon in the Columbia River at this eighth annual Columbia Salmon Festival, Sept. 7 at James Chabot Park in Invermere.


Environmental and Educational Resources

Naturally beautiful—the Canadian Rockies and the surrounding are are a sight to behold.

Naturally beautiful—the Canadian Rockies and the surrounding are are a sight to behold.

Columbia Basin Environment Education Network
The CBEEN provides environmental programs, workshops, and resources to children, teachers, community educators, and members who have an interest and wish to engage in sustainable activities in and around the Columbia River basin.

 

Columbia Basin Trust
Founded in 1995, the Columbia Basin Trust acts as an information and funding resource, with a mission to create a legacy of social, economic and environmental well-being in the Columbia River Basin. It also operates the Basin Youth Network, offering local activities and opportunities for youth ages 12 to 18.

 

Wildsight
Wildsight works to protect biodiversity and sustainable communities in the Columbia Valley and Rocky Mountain regions by encouraging conservation activities and providing educational resources and programs, including the Columbia River Field School, where students learn about the Columbia River ecosystem while travelling by canoe along the waterway.

 

Columbia Valley Greenways Trail Alliance
The CVGTA continues to build and maintain trails to link East Kootenay communities, including Fairmont Hot Springs, by a trail network for motorized and non-motorized forms of transport. Learn about places to hike through the alliance’s trail-finder and other things to do at Fairmont Hot Springs.

 

Groundswell Network Society
Formerly the Columbia Valley Botanical Gardens, Groundswell uses living demonstration projects to educate individuals of ways to be more sustainable in everyday practices. From food supply and quality, agriculture, energy, water, loss of biological diversity, and climate disruption, youth and seniors can learn of sustainability solutions in renewable energy technology, waste reduction, production of organic foods, plant care,.. and more! Check out their events and workshops to see how you can get involved!

 


Apps and Online Nature Guides

Become a Wildsafe Ranger
Be bear aware and learn to live alongside nature by becoming a WildSafe Ranger. Operated by WildSafe BC, the program complements the kindergarten to Grade 9 BC science curriculum and fosters “a basis for an intuitive relationship with and respect for the natural world; connections to their ecosystem and community, and a sense of relatedness that encourages lifelong harmony with nature.”

The WildSafe BC site also offers activity sheets, which you can download, as well as several educational nature videos available for viewing.

For the Birders in Your Family
Learn about the avian species that call Fairmont Hot Springs and MMZ home with the Audubon downloadable bird guide app. Information on more than 800 species of North American birds is available at your fingertips.

 

If You Go Out in the Woods
Curious of what a cougar paw print looks like or what type of tree you are sailing over when visiting the zipline? MyNature offers a series of apps that provide a comprehensive field guide to animal track identification as well as trees, wildflowers and national parks. 

 

Make your visit to Fairmont Hot Springs unique with a visit to Mineral Mountain Ziplines and capture nature in all its glory at the headwall of the Rocky Mountains and the start of the Columbia River. Book your zipline tour today.