5 Hidden Gems Near Golden, British Columbia

Get ready for an adventure.

"What you see is what you get," is the motto of Golden, British Columbia, and man, is there plenty to see. Nestled in the middle of six of Canada's most iconic national parks, there is more adventure here than you'll be able to tackle in a lifetime. 

Combine that with lodging for every style and budget, plenty of great places to eat to drink, and Golden's chill, laid-back vibe, and you may be wondering if your company would be willing to open at Canadian Rockies satellite office just for you.

There are plenty of well-known adventures around Golden, but if off-the-beaten-path is more your jam, Golden has those in spades, too. Here are a few of our favorites.

Emerald Lake

Photo by Mason Boring // Canoe Emerald Lake

Moraine Lake near Banff may get all the Instagram fame, but that's just because not as many people have seen Emerald Lake.

Arrive at Emerald Lake around lunchtime to eat on the patio at Cilantro, the restaurant inside the Emerald Lake Lodge, and then rent a canoe for a paddle to the lake's north shore. If paddling isn't your style, there's also a hiking loop that spends some time along the lakeshore.

Takakkaw Falls via Yoho Valley

Photo courtesy of Tourism Golden

Drive up the Yoho Valley road to Takakkaw Falls. These falls are among the highest in Canada, tumbling 830 feet in one stretch, and 1,260 feet in total. Hang out at the base to feel the spray of the falls, or enjoy the view from hiking and mountain biking trails around the area. 

If you're looking for an awesome hike, check out the famous Iceline Trail, with its trailhead at the base of the falls. The Iceline Trail has been named one of Canada's top 50 hikes due to its jaw-dropping sights in all directions. This hike can be done as a day trip or an overnight. If you chose the overnight option, make sure you obtain a wilderness permit ahead of time.

The base of the falls is accessible mid-June through mid-October to small vehicles and bicycles only due to the tight turns and steep sections of the access road. 

Mount Tupper in Rogers Pass

Photo by Tam McTavish // Climb Mt. Tupper in Rogers Pass

West of Golden lies Glacier National Park of Canada and the spectacular alpine climb up Mount Tupper. This route requires mountaineering experience to tackle the Grades III-IV (with a few quick moments of Grade V) climbing that it takes to reach the summit. 

The adventure is doable in a day for experienced alpinists, so you can be back in Golden, celebrating with beers at Whitetooth Brewing Company's patio before dinner.

CBT Mainline Trails


Photo courtesy of Tourism Golden

Accessible from downtown Golden are the CBT Mainline Trails, a network of mountain bike routes that were built with riders in mind. The trailhead is accessible from town without a shuttle, these trails are known for their fast, continuous flow, and will keep you pedaling for hours through the Purcell Mountains. Those looking for even more mileage can link into the Moonraker trail network from the top of the CBT Mainline.

Mountain biking options abound in Golden. Other trail networks include Mount 7, the Kicking Horse Bike Park, and Mountain Shadows

The Columbia Wetlands

Photo courtesy of Tourism Golden

The Columbia Wetlands are the largest intact wetlands in North America and the perfect place to stand-up paddleboard, canoe or kayak. This adventure is best in the summer months when the water is high and slow-moving. 

Make your way to Columbia Wetlands Outpost, just south of Golden, to learn about their mapped paddling routes. The Outpost maintains a floating dock network for relaxing and wayfinding, and there is lodging on-site, too.

Looking for more hidden gems in Golden? Head to Tourism Golden.

Cover photo by Jeremy Meek, Adventure: Hike to the Opabin Prospect

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Sara SheehyAdmin

Writer | Nomad