With peaked mountains, rushing rivers, lush vegetation, and thick forest, the Columbia Valley is a Rocky Mountain playground that has several things to do for families and those seeking adventure. Visit the communities of Radium Hot Springs, Invermere, and Fairmont Hot Springs for the journey of a lifetime.
Start your day whitewater rafting or ziplining in the forest and mountains, and end it with a soak in the hot springs or floating down the Columbia River.
Guide Quick Links:
- Places Mentioned in this Guide
- Lay of the Land
- Columbia Valley History
- Exploring Fairmont Hot Springs Resort
- Where to Stay in the East Kootenays
- What to Do in Fairmont Hot Springs, BC
- Fun Activities for Families
- Columbia Valley Tourism Summer Events
Places Mentioned in this Guide
Lay of the Land
The Columbia River Valley of BC is located in the Rocky Mountain Trench and named after the mighty Columbia River.
The valley is easily accessible! From the north, travel the Trans Canada and Kootenay Highways into the Columbia Valley. Coming from the south, the Crowsnest (Hwy. 3) and Highway 95 bring you up through Canal Flats.
One of the longest river systems in North America starts at Canal Flats' Columbia Lake. The river system travels 2,000 kilometres north and then south to the Pacific Ocean.
Columbia Valley History
Initially inhabited by the Ktunaxa people who hunted and fished in the area more than 10,000 years ago, the fur traders led by cartographer David Thompson established a trading post overlooking the Columbia River in 1807. Miners later discovered rich mineral deposits in the water and surrounding mountains, including natural calcium hot springs. The region's first European settlement, established in 1890, was named Copper City and later became known as Invermere.
Today, the valley is a popular tourist destination, with many visitors flocking to the resort communities of Radium and Fairmont Hot Springs.
Exploring Fairmont Hot Springs Resort
First settled by homesteader George Geary, Fairmont Hot Springs was the site of a stagecoach stop in 1888 operated by Sam Brewer before it became the resort that it is known as today. Some of the settlement's older buildings are still in their original location.
Today, Fairmount Hot Springs Resort has become one of the top hot springs resorts in BC and is accessible by car, bike or on foot with roads and hiking trails taking you through the resort and up into the mountains.
Where to Stay in the East Kootenays
Take a joyride and ease into comfortable accommodations when visiting our zipline. The new Mineral Mountain Hotel Alliance allows you to save when you book at the following accommodations:
- Fairmont Hot Springs Resort (rooms, suites, and cabins)
- Mountain View Suites in Fairmont Hot Springs
- Copper Point Resort in Invermere
If tenting or RVing is more your style, Fairmont Hot Springs’ RV Resort and Spruce Grove Campground offer sites just a short distance away from our adrenaline zipline. Camping is also available nearby at:
- Redstreak Campground in Kootenay National Park, only 2.5 km from Radium Hot Springs
- Dry Gulch Provincial Park, south of Radium Hot Springs
- Lakeshore Resort and Campground, on the east shore of Windermere Lake
- Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park, east of Canal Flats near Lussier Hot Springs
What to Do in Fairmont Hot Springs, BC
With numerous attractions and activities for kids and adults alike, Fairmont Hot Springs has been named one of the best places to visit in BC for a family outing. Not only does the resort have one of the most well-known BC attractions with its natural mineral hot spring pools, but it also features:
- The Natural Springs Spa offering everything from massage to body treatments
- Three golf courses
- Dining and shopping
- Mineral Mountain Ziplines
Fun Activities for Families
Looking for some family fun? Get the kids out experiencing nature in all its glory by checking out these six outdoor activities for kids, families, and adventure seekers, all located within a short distance from the main resort at Fairmont.
1. Go for a Zip and Dip
Elevate your senses by zipping above the forest canopy on our six-line course at Mineral Mountain. Soar with the birds while taking in stunning views of the Rocky Mountain headwall, Fairmont Creek, and Columbia Lake. Open to children and families, our zipline weight limit is 50 pounds. Cool down from all that exhilaration with a refreshing dip in the hot springs.
2. Play at the Base Camp
As part of Fairmont Hot Springs Resort’s Activity and Experience Centre, Base Camp has many fun things to do with kids, including:
- Mini golf
- Treasure hunts
- Equipment rentals
3. Ride the Trails
Go for a ride in the wilderness along more than 50-kilometres of cross-country bike trails. With trails ranging from beginner to difficult, travel through forest and meadow while enjoying the spectacular scenery.
Fairmont Hot Springs Resort offers bike rentals for adults and youth, including bike trailers and toddler seats.
4. Paddle or Float Down the River
One of the top Invermere things to do, spot frogs and turtles in the Columbia Wetlands and feel the soft rush of water as you paddle lazily down the river by kayak, stand-up paddleboard (SUP) or innertube. Guided kayak tours as well as kayak, tube, and safety equipment rentals are available at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort or at Columbia River Paddle in Invermere.
5. Hike the Hoodoos
Explore one of the area’s most distinctive landmarks on one of the best hikes near Fairmont Hot Springs. The Hoodoo Trail, just south of the resort off Westside Road, offers an easy 3.2-kilometre loop up and down the hills above Columbia Lake. See wildflowers, birds, fascinating rock formations, and exceptional views along the way.
6. Seek an Adventure
Besides embarking on valley zipline adventures at Mineral Mountain, adventure sports seekers can also get a rush of adrenaline by hitting the rapids with our friends at Kootenay River Runners. Choose from 3 different whitewater rafting adventure tours, including:
- Kicking Horse Extreme Whitewater
- Kootenay River Adventure
- Fast and Fun Toby Creek
Columbia Valley Tourism Summer Events
Coordinate your BC adventure by checking out these events and things to do near Invermere when visiting our Fairmont Hot Springs zipline this summer:
- Celebrate Canada Day in the heart of the BC Rockies with fun activities all weekend at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. Dip in the springs and zip at Mineral Mountain and enjoy live music, face painting, games and crafts, Canada Day cake, and more. Don’t forget to catch the fireworks show on July 1 at 10:15 p.m.
- Invermere celebrates Canada Day with fireworks at midnight on June 30, a parade July 1 at 11 a.m. and the Mountain Mosaic Festival of the Arts July 1 from 12:30 to 3 p.m., featuring free family activities and more at Kinsmen Beach.
- Sample locally-grown produce and purchase hand-crafted items every Saturday at the Invermere Farmers and Artist Market. The market, located in the Lakeview Parking Lot in downtown Invermere, runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., June 15 to Sept. 24.
- Invermere Music Festival Aug. 16 and 17, 2019. Groove all weekend to some of international, national and BC artists on the waterfront at Kinsmen Beach. Artists include Danny Michel and the Garifuna Collective, Delhi 2 Dublin, Alex Cuba, Shred Kelly, and others.
- Flats Fest: Don your best cowboy hat and head to Canal Flats Ball Diamond Aug. 17, 2019 for this one-day music festival featuring country music artists Aaron Goodvin, Julian Austin, Craig Moritz, Fox Worthee, Garret Gregory, Brent Lee, and others. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.
Visiting Fairmont Hot Springs BC resort? Book your fully-guided Columbia Valley adventure with a zipline tour at Mineral Mountain Ziplines. Rise and shine and get $10 off per person when you book one of our Early Riser 9 a.m. tours.