Vacations To Go


Canada Weekend


Day 1      
8:00 a.m. Depart: Post Falls  
    (Go north on Hwy 95.)  
9:00 a.m. Arrive: Sandpoint, ID 50
    (Turn right on Hwy 2. Continue straight ahead on Hwy 95.)  
9:40 a.m. Arrive: Bonners Ferry, ID 32
    (Continue north on Hwy 95.)  
11:10 a.m. Arrive: Cranbrook 81
  Do: Lunch-Tim Horton's Cranbrook
1500 Cranbrook St N
12:00 p.m. Depart: Cranbrook  
    (Continue north on Hwy 95.)  
12:15 p.m. Arrive: Ft. Steele 11
Ft. Steele
(10-5) $17/$10 Youth OR $40 All day pass including rides and show/$25 Youth
Steam Train $10/$7 Youth
Wagon Rides $5
Wildhorse Theatre $10/$5 Youth
  • Shops: Gift Shop, Kershaw & Son General Store, Blacksmith, Leather Worker, Dressmaker, Nugget Norm's Gold Panning, Tinsmith.
  • Food: Fort Steele Cafe, City Bakery, BBQ at the International Hotel, Mrs. Mather's Ice Cream Parlour.
  • Activities:  Daily gossip tours, museum & heritage buildings open for viewing, livestock viewing.
  • Train rides, wagon rides, and summer theatre production available daily. (The train must shut down occasionally for regular maintenance. Please call ahead to confirm availability.)

    The origin of Fort Steele is closely linked to the discovery of gold on nearby Wild Horse Creek in the 1860s.  The gold rush peaked in 1865 when an estimated 5,000 prospectors flooded into Fisherville combing the hills in search of their fortune.  The gold strike was rich, as many men reportedly earned from $40,000 to $60,000 that summer.

    One would-be miner named John Galbraith recognized the need for providing a crossing over the Kootenay River and started a ferry service.  A small cluster of buildings grew up around his ferry office and became known as Galbraith’s Ferry.  Records indicate John Galbraith charged $5 per person and $10 per animal to use his ferry service, a huge amount of money at that time. The Galbraith family earned a lucrative income from the ferry operation until the first bridge was built in 1888.  By that time, they were well established as the town’s founding family.

    By the fall of 1865 the rich and easy-to-access gold diggings close to the surface were largely depleted. To make a profit, miners had to invest money in shafts or hydraulic equipment. Interested only in the quick profits of a new strike, most of the 5,000 miners moved on in search of better prospects. By 1882, only 11 settlers lived in the East Kootenay district. The completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway to Golden in 1885 encouraged settlers and prospectors to once more venture into the region.

    As more people arrived, it was inevitable disputes over land ownership between the local Ktunaxa First Nation population and the newcomers would arise. The most serious dispute was between Chief Isadore of the Ktunaxa and Colonel James Baker over a piece of land called Joseph’s Prairie, the site of present-day Cranbrook. Tension peaked in 1887 when the local Constable Barnes of the British Columbia Provincial Police arrested two young members of Chief Isadore’s band for the murder of two miners.  The murders had taken place almost three years prior to the arrest. Chief Isadore and 30 armed men broke open the Government Building jail in Galbraith’s Ferry and released the Ktunaxa prisoners. 

    Superintendent Samuel B. Steele and 75 members of the North West Mounted Police were sent to resolve these problems. They established the first post west of the Rockies, Kootenay Post. After dismissing the criminal charges against the 2 Ktunaxa men and mediating the land problems, the NWMP departed in 1888. 

    The residents of the area petitioned the Dominion Government to change the settlement’s name from Galbraith’s Ferry to Fort Steele in honour of the Superintendent of ‘D’ Division.

    After the departure of the North-West Mounted Police, things were fairly quiet at Fort Steele until 1892 when major deposits of silver, lead, and coal were discovered nearby.  Prospectors flooded the valley once more, and the hills were dotted with campfires each evening.

    Fort Steele became the region's commercial, social, and administrative centre and quickly grew to over 1,000 people.  In 1898, the local “Prospector” newspaper listed the town’s thriving businesses, including 11 hotels, 4 restaurants, 4 general stores, a hardware store, a brewery, and a wide assortment of other establishments ranging from a Chinese drug store to tailor shops and barristers.

    Entrepreneurs installed telephone and telegraph services in 1897.  In the spring of 1898, a waterworks system was installed along Riverside Avenue, reducing some of the townsfolk’s dependence on barrels of muddy water hauled up from the Kootenay River.

    The boom at Fort Steele began to slow in 1899, due largely to the efforts of Colonel James Baker, the local Member of the Legislative Assembly.  The previous year, the long-awaited Crowsnest Route of the Canadian Pacific Railway had bypassed Fort Steele in favour of the fledgling community of Cranbrook.  Fort Steele’s land values and population plummeted as Cranbrook attracted the tradesmen and merchants.  Finally, in 1904, the Provincial government offices were moved to Cranbrook and by 1910 Fort Steele was in a state of sharp decline.

    In the late 1950s, local citizens devoted to bringing Fort Steele back to life petitioned the Provincial Government to protect the old town.  In 1961, the Government declared Fort Steele an historic park with a mandate “to preserve, present, and manage for public benefit the historic settlement of Fort Steele . . .”

    Today, Fort Steele Heritage Town is one of the most important attractions of its kind in British Columbia with over 80,000 people visiting each year.

5:00 p.m. Depart: Ft. Steele  
6:25 p.m. Arrive: Radium Hot Springs 79
    Voyageur Souvenirs
7553 Main St W
    Radium Bighorn Gift and Souvenir
7533 Main St W
    Simple Pleasures and Little Treasures
4886-4888 St Joseph St
Gifts, clothing, jewelry, and more
Olde Tyme Candy Shoppe (10-9)
7527 W Main
Hot Springs
(9 a.m.-11 p.m.) $7.30/ $4.95
  Lodge: Cedar Motel $115 King/$125 2 Queens/with a kitchen $10 more (253)
    Redstreak Campground $27.40-$38.20  


Day 2 Sunday    
9:00 a.m. Depart: Radium Hot Springs  
    Kootenay National Park Visitor Centre (9-7)
Adult $9.80/Children Free
    (Go up Hwy 95 and turn right on Hwy 93.)  
Kootenay Valley Viewpoint
    (On the left side of the highway.)  
Optional:   Paint Pots 42
    (On the left side of the highway.)  
Marble Canyon
-Turquoise, glacial waters and startling canyon walls grow ever more impressive along this short trail. Multiple bridges span the narrow gorge, crossing several times for spine-tingling views of the river below. Watch for fuchsia fireweed and mountain bluebirds in a landscape shaped by fire, erosion, and mountain-building.
    (Continue left on the highway. At Castle Junction go right on TC 1. Follow signs into Banff. Go right on Norquay Rd. It will become Gopher and Lynx. Go left on Lynx. Turn right on Banff Ave. On the left side.)  
12:00 p.m. Arrive: Banff 30
    Banff Visitor Centre (8-5)  
  Do: Lunch  
  See: Shops  
Banff Sweet Shoppe
(9-10 Sun-Thurs, 9-11 Fri-Sat)
    The Fudgery (9-11)
215 Banff
    Banff Vistor Centre (9-7)
224 Banff
The Spirit of Christmas
(10-7 Sun-Thurs, 10-9 Fri-Sat)
    Gaia Goes to Earth Letterbox  
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
Bow River Falls
    Cave and Basin $3.90 Adult/Child Free

Discovery Tour: Experience nature, culture and history just minutes from Banff Avenue. Impressive architecture, bubbling mineral waters, and an accessible underground cave gave rise to a huge idea, the birthplace of Canada’s national parks—one of Canada’s most treasured icons. Tours are included with your site entry fee and available October to April Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. and twice daily in the summer at 11:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Lantern Tour
: Visit the Cave and Basin in Banff National Park after dark with only a lantern for light! Join a small group of visitors to learn more history and tales of the discovery and days of old. Lights, sounds and a little magic from the fog machine conjures up the past including your host, the ghost of David Galletly, the first caretaker of the Cave and Basin. While the Parks Canada hosts speak of the history of the site, carefully walk through the unlit tunnel to visit the shadowy cave. Entering the cavern in the dark relies on all your senses. The water drips louder, the minerals smell stronger, the shadows grow taller the water feels hotter and the stories from Mr. Galletly are mesmerizing. Watch how the lanterns cause the shadows to dance on the rugged cave walls. Include a stop at Story Hall to learn more about all the national parks in Canada through interactive displays and visual experiences.

  • Saturday nights, June through September. Two tours each night, 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
  • A family-friendly 40-minute program. $10.80 per person. Registration required.
  • Call 403- 845-3524 to make a reservation. Payment is required over the phone and a confirmation will be sent to you via email. Please note that Lantern Tours are non-refundable. 
  Depart: Banff  
  Arrive: Canmore 16




Day 3      
8:00 a.m. Depart: Canmore  
    (Get back on the TC 1 going left/west. Go right on exit Hwy 1A/Bow Valley Parkway.)  
    Banff National Park Fee $9.80 Adults/Child Free  
8:45 a.m. See: Bow Valley Parkway  
    (On the right side across the highway from Johnston Canyon Campground.)  
Johnston Canyon

Lower Falls 1.1 km
Upper Falls 2.7 km (700 ft elevation gain)
    (Continue right on Hwy 1A. The highway will end here.)  
  Arrive: Lake Louise 20
Lake Louise
  Depart: Lake Louise  
    Lake Louise Visitor Centre (8:30-7)  
    Hike on the right side of the lake.  
    (Go back to the TC 1 and go left/north.)  
  Arrive: Yoho National Park (file:///C:/Users/Sherry/Downloads/2015-yoho-map.pdf )  
    Kicking Horse Pass National Historic Site-Cross the Kicking Horse Pass, the highest point on the Trans-Canada Highway, and stare down onto a spectacular mountain corridor in Yoho National Park. The legendary pass opened British Columbia to the rest of Canada by rail in the 19th century. From the Spiral Tunnels viewpoint, watch a Canadian engineering phenomenon in action as trains disappear into one Rocky Mountain tunnel and emerge from another at a different elevation on the steep slopes.  
Spiral Tunnels
-Lower Viewpoint
When British Columbia joined Confederation in 1871, it was on the condition that Prime Minister John A. Macdonald would build a railway to link the province to the rest of the country. Building a railway across such a large continent was a major undertaking and one of the most serious obstacles was the Rocky Mountains. Several passes were considered for the route and despite its rugged terrain, Kicking Horse Pass was chosen because of its proximity to the US border and its shorter distance to the Pacific Coast. This choice was so significant to the history of Canada that Kicking Horse Pass was designated as a National Historic Site in 1971.
he steep grade in Kicking Horse Pass posed a serious challenge. Under government pressure to complete the railway, and given the engineering challenges that came along with the geography, Canadian Pacific (CP) was not in a position to carve a gradual descent. A solution was reached, which temporarily allowed a grade of 4.5%. The first train to attempt the hill in 1884 derailed, tragically killing three workers. In an effort to improve safety, three spur lines were created to divert such runaway trains on what became known as the “Big Hill”. Switches were left set for the spurs and were not reset to the main line until switchmen knew the oncoming train was in control. Descending the Big Hill was challenging, but uphill trains had their problems too. Extra locomotives were needed to push the trains up the hill, causing delays and requiring extra workers. Although the mountains were a complication for CP, they were an inspiration to the many tourists who started to arrive by train. In an effort to preserve the landscape and encourage tourism, CP prompted the creation of Mount Stephen Dominion Reserve in 1886. The park was renamed Yoho in 1901.
he solution for a more gradual grade came from J.E. Schwitzer, one of the railway’s Assistant Chief Engineers. He modeled the Spiral Tunnels after a system used in Switzerland. In 1909 the Spiral Tunnels were completed and after 25 years of use, the Big Hill grade was abandoned. With a gentler grade, descents became safer and slower, spur lines and rear pushers were no longer necessary, and scheduling delays and operating costs were reduced. Although the Spiral Tunnels were a great improvement for the grade, rockfall, mudslides and avalanches are some of the challenges we still face today in this area where nature reigns supreme.
n eastbound train leaving Field climbs a moderate hill, goes through two short, straight tunnels on Mt. Stephen, under the Trans-Canada Highway, across the Kicking Horse River and into the Lower Spiral Tunnel in Mt. Ogden. It spirals to the left up inside the mountain for 891 metres (0.6 miles) and emerges 15 metres (50 feet) higher. The train then crosses back over the Kicking Horse River, under the highway a second time and into the 991 metre (0.6 mile) tunnel in Cathedral Mountain. The train spirals to the right, emerging 17 metres (56 feet) higher and continues to the top of Kicking Horse Pass.
    Spiral Tunnels-Higher Viewpoint 1.5
    (Continue west/right on TC 1. Watch for the signs to the falls, as it will come up shortly.)  
Takkakaw Falls-umbling 254m (830 feet) in one stretch and 384m (1,260 feet) in total, these falls are among the highest in Canada and the gateway to some of Yoho’s most beautiful hiking. Feel the spray at the base of the falls or enjoy views from afar. Accessible mid-June until mid-October to small vehicles and bicycles only due to steep, tight switchbacks.
    (Continue right on TC 1 past Fields. Past the Hoodoo Creek Campground look for the sign on the left.)  
  Arrive: Field  
Wapta Falls-At 30 metres (98 feet) high and 150 metres (490 feet) wide, this is the largest waterfall on the Kicking Horse River. The trail to the falls is a gentle 2.4km (1.5 mile) hike through verdant forest departing from a trailhead 2 km off the Trans-Canada Highway. Accessible mid-June through mid-October.
    (Continue left/west on TC 1.)  
  Arrive: Golden 11
    (Turn left/south on Hwy 95.)  
1 hr. Arrive: Radium Hot Springs 64
  Lodge: Cedar Motel $115 King/$125 2 Queens/with a kitchen $10 more (175)
    Redstreak Campground $27.40-$38.20  


  1. Kicking Horse Pass National Historic Site
  2. Spiral Tunnels
  3. Takakkaw Falls
  4. Village of Field
  5. Emerald Lake and the Natural Bridge
  6. Kicking Horse River
  7. Wapta Falls

Day 4      
8:00 a.m. Depart: Radium Hot Springs  
    (Continue south on Hwy 95.)  
9:30 a.m. Arrive: Cranbrook, BC 89
    (Continue south on Hwy 95. It will become Hwy 2.)  
11:00 a.m. Arrive: Bonner Ferry, ID 81
    (Continue south on Hwy 2.)  
11:40 a.m. Arrive: Sandpoint, ID 32
  Do: Lunch  
12:30 p.m. Depart: Sandpoint  
    (Turn left on Hwy 95.)  
1:30 p.m. Arrive: Post Falls, ID 50