Spring in Golden just may be my favourite season. The air is warm, the sun is shining, and the activities are plentiful. The spring skiing at KHMR has been glorious. Dawn Mountain Nordic centre only stopped grooming last week. Meanwhile, people have been dusting off their bikes, kayaks, hiking shoes and golf clubs. In fact, the Golden Golf Club opened just this past weekend.
No doubt, this is what my husband and son were doing. Both are keen golfers. They comment often on how fortunate they are to call Golden Golf Club their home course. While I personally can’t say much about the golfing part of things – I’m no golfer -- I can tell you it’s beautiful there. And I did recently learn its considered a ‘top 25’ course in BC and a ‘top 100’ course in Canada. Also, it was rated BC’s number 1 ‘hidden gem’ golf course by the BC PGA. That’s the way it is with a lot of things Golden -- hidden gems.
So while the boys hit the links, I grabbed the dog and hit the trials. I’m practicing trail running (no, I’m not any good, terrible in fact) so that was Saturday’s activity -- a bit of trail running practice, followed by some mountain biking on the Moonraker trails. My daughter, finding the whole uphill slog part of mountain biking to be not quite suiting her style, decided hit the slopes with her friends to enjoy the last weekend of yet another stellar ski season at KHMR.
For Sunday’s fun, hiking was the chosen activity. We dragged the kids along and made it a full-family outing. We enjoyed the trails in Mountain Shadows near the Cedar House chalets (heads up for mountain bikers), and took in the views from the Three Stump Lookout. We decided to top off the weekend with burgers and beer (sodas for the kids) out at the Wolf’s Den, a favourite Sunday dinner spot because of their ‘Sunday Howl’ – it’s their open-mic music night, and it’s always really terrific. (Another great bet for an excellent family dinner out is the Island Restaurant. They’ve got an awesome patio and a super-tasty menu with lots of variety.)
If you happen to find yourself in Golden this spring and want to take in some scenery with an easy and enjoyable hike, here are some of our family’s favourites. We like them because they’re simple to get to, short and easy to do, yet still beautiful and rewarding:
Wapta Falls. Who doesn’t love water falls? The trailhead for this hike is only about 20 minutes East of Golden, right off the highway. The hike itself is very easy, with minimal (if any) elevation change and only about a 40 minute jaunt to get to the top of the falls. You can visit the Golden Hikes website for more details on how to get there and what to expect. Also, if you are visiting Golden a bit later in the season (like mid-June or into the summer), another amazing option is Takakkaw Falls – even more breathtaking than Wapta and not too much farther down the road.
Canyon Creek. This is a gorgeous local hike along the rim of a deep canyon with spectacular views. It’s in Nicholson, just south of town. Again, check out the Golden Hikes website for the details you need. Like Wapta Falls, the Canyon Creek hike is quite easy (just keep kids away from the edge), other than a steep beginning stretch where you make a substantial and quick elevation gain. Just remember to keep a heads up for mountain bikers. I’ve rarely seen any, but they do use this trail too.
Emerald Lake. Emerald Lake is only about 40 minutes East of Golden. It’s even more spectacular than Lake Louise (in my opinion), and with only a fraction of the people. There are a number of hikes you can do there, from easy walks around the lake to more adventurous treks into the backcountry. We actually visit Emerald Lake year-round. In the winter, it’s a perfect spot for a family snowshoe or cross country ski and a picnic. In the summer, we take visitors to canoe on the lake, walk around, and take in the views. For an après-hike treat or meal, we love Truffle Pigs in nearby Field –a wonderful little eatery in an equally wonderful little community. Or just head back to Golden, find a patio or café, and watch the sun set over the mountains from there.
It’s like my son said the other day, this is the time of year in Golden when people can do all the things our town is known for – from snow to water, golf course greens to mountain trails.