13 Best Things to do in Golden in Winter (BC)

Golden is a small mountain town with plenty of things to do in the winter. Whether you want to scream down a double black chute at a world-class ski resort or take it easy snowshoeing in the forests, there is something to do here for everyone.

Golden is a great addition to any Canadian Rockies trip and is well worth a few-day stop when traveling between Calgary and Vancouver or vice versa. Here are just a few of our favorite things to do in Golden in the winter!


Where is Golden, BC?

Don’t forget to have a cup of Kicking Horse Coffee!

Golden is a small town near Yoho National Park with under 4000 people in southeastern British Columbia. The closest major city is Calgary, about three hours away. Golden is built around the confluence of the Columbia and Kicking Horse rivers and is surrounded by the Purcell and the Rocky Mountains.

It’s the perfect location near Yoho, Banff, Jasper, Glacier, and Kootenay National Park. Located right off of Highway 1 (the Trans-Canada Highway) it’s one of the best places to visit in BC and is a great stop on any Western Canada road trip.

Coffee break in between runs at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

It’s a great place to head in the summer as there are plenty of adventure sports on offer, but also in the winter, thanks to its location near Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. It’s also known to many sledding enthusiasts as there are endless areas to bring a snowmobile.

If you are planning a ski trip to Lake Louise or Banff Sunshine, we highly recommend adding Kicking Horse to your ski trip. They get more powder and see about half the crowds!


Best Things To Do in Golden in Winter


Enjoy the Fresh Powder on a Snowmobile

Sledding with Golden Snowmobile Rentals in February

People travel from all over Canada and the United States just to snowmobile in the Columbia Valley. There are some seriously epic places to take a sled, with bottomless powder everywhere between December and March.

Unlike Banff or Yoho, plenty of places around Golden are not in a national park with restrictions around snowmobiling and engines. You can bring your own sled if you have one or rent one with Golden Snowmobile Rentals. They also offer guiding services to show visitors the area.

golden bc in winter

We recommend booking a guide or tour if you don’t know where you are heading. Seasoned guides know the terrain and conditions best. If you want a safe day out in the backcountry, this is the best way to go snowmobiling around Golden.

One of the most popular areas to go snowmobiling is Quartz Creek, and if you hit it on a sunny day, you’ll be in store for some seriously epic views. Tours include a guide, snowmobile, helmet, and avalanche equipment.


Enjoy Nordic Skiing

Things to do in Golden BC in the winter

Just near Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is the Dawn Mountain Nordic Center. Over 33 km of groomed trails weave in and out of the forest with peek-a-boo mountain views at many turns.

We are by no means expert cross country skiers and found many beginner-friendly trails perfect for us! It’s ideal to do in Golden in the winter when you only have a short time to get out, as some trails can be completed in under an hour. Or you could easily spend all day here!

Cameron cross country skiing in Golden

You can bring your own cross-country ski resorts or rent them from the Dawn Mountain Nordic Center. There are also snowshoe trails and snowshoes available to rent as well! Day-use fees are $15 per adult to access the XC skiing trails.


Hike to Wapta Falls

wapta falls in winter

Wapta Falls is the largest waterfall in the Kicking Horse River and one of the best things to do in Yoho National Park. Wapta Falls is 18 meters high, but what’s really impressive is that it is a whopping 107 meters wide. Getting there requires a short hike (5km round trip) with minimal elevation gain.

Most people hike it in the summer, but it’s definitely possible as a winter hike as long as you are prepared with some microspikes and trekking poles to help with any slippery surfaces.

There are a few lookout points from above, but I highly recommend hiking down to the base of the falls for the best views (again, if you have the right gear).

I love visiting in the summer, but honestly, I think it is even more beautiful in the winter when the ice freezes over and the surrounding peaks are covered in snow.


Ski/Snowboard at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

snowboarding at kicking horse mountain resort
KHMR has tons of hike-to terrain!

British Columbia is well known for its legendary ski resorts, and Kicking Horse consistently makes the list. The mountain used to be serviced for heli-skiing only, but with the new addition of a massive gondola, a world of terrain has opened up to everyone.

snowboarding at kicking horse mountain resort

This Canadian ski resort is no beginner mountain with some crazy double black diamond cutes and bowls. A day (or week) at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is one of the best things to do in Golden in the winter and should be on everyone’s Western Canada winter itinerary.

snowboarding at kicking horse mountain resort
Snowboarding at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Over half the runs on the mountain are either rated as black or double black, and it’s well known for being an advanced and expert rider mountain with plenty of hike-to terrain.

What makes the mountain even better is its location on the Powder Highway. Kicking Horse is known for getting epic snow dumps and being Canada’s ‘Champagne Powder Capital.’ Unlike more popular resorts like Whistler, the resort doesn’t get skied out in an hour on a powder day. So make sure to pay attention to the snow forecast and try to hit it when the snow is falling.

This gnarly mountain has little snowmaking and grooming capabilities; the mountain is prone to the weather. If you hit it on a poor day, you may be met with bulletproof ice and moguls unless you head to the more challenging to access steep terrain, which is not ideal if you are a beginner.

Single-day lift tickets for Kicking Horse start at $136, but if you pre-purchase, you may be able to get a deal.   


Watch the Freeride World Tour

Watching the Freeride World Tour at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

The Freeride World Tour, or FWT Pro, is an annual series of events held around the world during the winter months. This competition features the best of the best in freeride skiing and snowboarding and is where the best athletes worldwide compete for gold. The events happen at famed ski destinations, including Verbier, Fieberbrunn, and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.

The event happens every winter, typically on famous Kicking Horse zones like Ozone or T2. As long as you have a lift pass and can ski yourself to the event space, watching the event is free. Although you can watch it live on YouTube or TV, we can speak from first-hand experience that it’s a much better event to witness in person.

Watching the Freeride World Tour at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Watching men and women throw 180s, 360s, and huge air off massive cliffs is our kind of Super Bowl. The event usually happens in Golden in mid-February, but pay attention to the dates on the Freewide World Tour page.

FWT will announce a weather window, and then choose the best day in that weather window to hold the event!

Watching the Freeride World Tour at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Walk the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge

Walk the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge

Downtown Golden is not extensive, and strolling is far from the experience you might get in Downtown Banff; however, there are some very charming shops and restaurants to venture into.

The top highlight in Downtown Golden is the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge, which spans 46 meters over the Kicking Horse River. The Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge is remarkable in that it is the longest freestanding timber bright in all of Canada.

Members of the International Timberframe Guild came from around the world to help raise the bridge, many of them volunteers, as there was only a $485,000 budget to build the estimated $2 million bridge.

It’s well-loved in the community and a beautiful bridge to stroll on when walking around the area. Make sure to bring mitts – it’s far from warm in Golden in the winter!


Northern Lights Wildlife Wolf Center

Yamnuska-Wolfdog-Santuary

If you’re wondering what to do in Golden, BC, for kids in the winter, consider checking out the Northern Lights Wildlife Wolf Center. Like the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary in Cochrane, this wolf center is a unique facility dedicated to raising awareness and conservation for the wolf.

The center is home to nine resident wolves, and guests can visit them, learn, and photograph them on a 25-minute interpretive tour.

Adults can also book 1.5 hour-long photography tour where they can walk with wolves without any fences, leashes, or boundaries. It’s a thrilling and unique experience everyone should partake in when visiting Golden in the winter.


Have a Meal in an Igloo

Reposados igloo

Reposados is Downtown Golden’s newest restaurant and is the first place you should head after enjoying all the things to do in Golden. Established by two local Golden women, Reposados was born when they realized Golden, BC, was missing a little spice.

They bring a fresh and unique twist to traditional tacos and only use the freshest produce to create mouth-watering dishes. Everything is made fresh daily, and you can truly taste it when you take a bite of a burrito here. We were initially drawn here because of the healthy-sounding menu, and now we eat here every time we visit Golden!

Reposados is located right in the heart of downtown; it’s pretty hard to miss. Although their indoor dining is small, they have a great outdoor seating area with domed seating in the cooler months! These are the best igloos in Golden and actually stay pretty toasty in the winter with the help of a few heaters. There are only two igloos, so it’s best to make a reservation!


Dine at the Highest Restaurant in Canada

Dine-at-Eagle-Eye-Restaurant

Open year-round, dining at Canada’s highest restaurant will not disappoint. Perched atop the mountains at 2300 meters (7,700 ft), this is one of the best places to dine in Golden. If you’re skiing, you can’t miss Eagles Eye, but even if you’re not, all you have to do is take the Kicking Horse Gondola up, and you’ll find yourself right at Eagles Eye.

It’s best to head here for lunch so you can enjoy the stunning views around you. On a weekend day in the winter, we recommend making a reservation as this place is popular!


Have a Beer at Whitetooth Brewery

whitetooth-brewery-golden

After you’ve shred the powder at Kicking Horse, the only natural thing to do is unwind at Whitetooth Brewery. This is one of the only breweries in Golden and offers fantastic Belgian-inspired homebrews.

It’s also one of our favorite breweries in the region, beating out Banff Ave Brewing and The Grizzly Paw in Canmore. We love their Thread the Needle brew – a must-try when visiting Golden!

10 Best Banff and Canmore Brewery Options

See a Snowcapped Emerald Lake

Banff Itinerary Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Canada and is a must-visit on any Canadian Rockies itinerary. In the summer, it’s pretty busy, but there are far fewer people that venture to Yoho National Park during the winter months.

Head here to see Emerald Lake Lodge covered in snow or take a walk or snowshoe around the frozen lake.


Stop By the Natural Bridge

natural bridge in yoho

If you’re heading to Emerald Lake, you need to stop at the Natural Bridge on either your way in or out. The Natural Bridge is a stop-off point on Emerald Lake Road. The turn-off is easy to miss, so keep an eye out for it on your left as you head up to Emerald Lake.

The natural bridge is what it sounds like. A natural bridge made out of rock cut by the Kicking Horse River. It’s an unusual sight to see, especially in the winter!


Soak in a Hot Tub with Endless Views of The Purcells

Enjoying the hot tub at Cedar House Chalets!
Enjoying the hot tub at Cedar House Chalets!

There’s nothing better than soaking in a hot tub with mountain views after a day out adventuring. When we go to Golden, we prefer to stay at the Cedar House Chalets, as they offer the coziest cabins in Golden with hot tubs in almost every chalet.

Love the hot tub at Cedar House
Love the hot tub at Cedar House

Most hot tubs face Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, so our favorite thing is to grab some takeaway brews from Whitetooth and enjoy the sunset together in a stunning BC cabin!


Is Golden, BC Worth Visiting?

sunrise on kicking horse mountain resort
Sunrise on Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Yes, Golden is absolutely worth visiting, especially if you are an adrenaline junkie skier who loves steep and deep. We visit Golden multiple times a year in both the summer and winter. It’s just a short drive from our home in Canmore, and we love getting a reprieve from the crowds in Banff.

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is an epic place to ski, and the town is making significant investments in tourism. Just recently, the Golden Skybridge opened, drawing in tourists who are already visiting the Canadian Rockies. Golden is also less than an hour from Yoho and Glacier National Park, which both have plenty of hiking opportunities.

While the town of Golden itself may feel a little underwhelming compared to the glitzy Banff and Canmore, we find that Golden offers more back-to-basic mountain towns. This is where real locals live and have lived for years in the mountains, and the town is far from being overrun by tourism.

Golden vs Banff • The Mountain Town That Might Save You a Buck


Hopefully, this guide helped you determine a few things to do in Golden in winter! If you have any other questions make sure to see our FAQ sections!


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About Natasha

Natasha calls Canmore, Alberta home. After traveling across seven continents and 90 countries with Cameron, she settled down in the stunning Canadian Rockies. She loves to help others travel and make their planning easier. She is a winter enthusiast and loves to snowboard, ice skate, and snowshoe and enjoy all the fantastic summer opportunities in Banff like hiking, scrambling, and biking. You can find her in the mountains or enjoying a coffee by the river. Learn more on the about us page!

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