I left Calgary, Alberta for Guarantee RV on July 17, 2014 for the Radium Hot Springs BC blogging assignment with my best traveling friend Toni. It was a beautiful day even though it was hazy from the British Columbia (BC) and Alberta (AB) wildfires that were affecting air quality. We could really smell the smoke and there had been advisories about health cautions for days. But I was in a buoyant mood traveling to BC, one of Canada’s most beautiful provinces. I hadn’t been to BC in a while so I was looking forward to the visit.On the road to Marble Canyon, Kootenay National Park and Radium BC
I traveled through BC years ago in my twenties when I took a trip from Calgary to the coastal city of Vancouver with some friends. The beauty of Alberta and British Columbia amazed me then with the phenomenal landscapes that went on for miles. We headed down Highway 1 to Banff National Park with enthusiasm in our hearts and wondering what type of wildlife we would see first. At the Banff gate you are required to purchase a pass if you are stopping in the town site or in Banff, Jasper, Yoho or Kootenay national parks. Travelers not stopping can continue through without paying.
We drove past the Town of Banff to Highway 93 and headed south. Highway 93 is a two lane highway with intermittent passing lanes for people who want to pass slower moving vehicles. Driving along this highway, was one of the most traveled and picturesque routes in Canada I had ever been on. As you go further west, the road becomes quite curvy with sheer cliffs closer to the edge. Don’t expect to drive too fast since this route is heavily populated with RVs at certain times of the year.
The Canadian Rockies on the BC side are different than the mountains in Alberta. The weather is warmer in BC, so the mountains are blanketed with trees that grow up to the mountain peaks compared to the mountains in Alberta where the weather is cooler. The BC Rockies are actually a separate mountain range different in age compared to other mountain ranges in the area. The Selkirk Mountain Range is bound by the Columbia River and is geologically dissimilar and older than the Rocky Mountains. Collectively, the Selkirk Range, the Monashee Range west of Revelstoke and the Purcell Mountains in the southeast part of BC, is classified as the Columbia Mountains. Read the descriptions and historical facts on the British Columbia Bed & Breakfast Innkeepers Guild website about the Canadian Rockies in British Columbia and Alberta. It’s a fascinating history. The Canadian Rockies Tourism & Travel Guide website has more specific information about the region as well including access to a map.
Our first stop just beyond the Alberta border into the East Kootenays of BC was the second smallest campground Marble Canyon, a quiet beautiful area located in Kootenay National Park.
Recently, this area has been under exploration by researchers from across Canada due to the “epic” Burgess Shale fossil discovery presumed to be 505 million years old. View the photos of the researchers at work in Marble Canyon, Kootenay National Park where the captions describe exactly what they found and why it’s historically important. Also, in the report New BC fossil site could be world’s most important, Global News explains that this discovery may “unlock the secrets of our past” and our own evolution.
Along with a multitude of camping and hiking enthusiasts who have enjoyed Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park, this area has been visited by fishermen and birders who found inspiration in the abundant wildlife. These campgrounds in Kootenay National Park are close to Alberta. Marble Canyon has flush toilets and fire pits, but there are no showers. The distance from Calgary to Marble Canyon is approximately 174 kilometers or 110 minutes (1 hour, 50 minutes.)
A distinction must be made between the provincial and national parks in Canada. In BC, the provincial parks are not part of the national parks as they are governed by two separate governments, provincial and federal in Canada. The fishing regulations in provincial parks and national parks differ so check online for the permitted fishing activities and rules. The BC Parks website has a list of Fishing and Hunting regulations and is a guide for these activities. The BC Parks website has more information on the types of recreation allowed in the Marble Canyon area.
Kootenay National Park just like Banff National Park does require a Park Pass. Click the Visitor Information link on the Parks Canada website for prices. Also, the national park fishing regulations apply in Kootenay National Park including the area around Marble Canyon Campground Day Use Area. Check out the regulations here especially since they may differ from the provincial rules and regulations for fishing. Discover more about Kootenay National Park on the Parks Canada website which has detailed information worth reading.
Note that Marble Canyon Provincial Park located just past Lillooet on Highway 99 and approximately 600 km away, is not part of Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park.
If you’re looking for a wide range of specific information about BC and many activities visitors can partake in, the Camping & RV BC website has a helpful Partners reference page with a wealth of online material.
For a map of all camping areas, Camping & RV BC plots over 1500 campgrounds on the Google map including BC Parks, Parks Canada, Private Campgrounds and Recreation Sites. Access this information here. Additionally, you can explore Kootenay National Park’s natural and cultural history on the Parks Canada website.
“The earth has music for those who listen.” George Santayana