The Rockies are most likely the most beautiful part of the Trans-Canada Highway. The mountains are unique for a number of reasons. They managed to evade the flattening effect of the past several ice ages that covered most of the rest of North America. This makes the peaks very sharp and rugged, and they rise over a mile above the valley floor.
Along the Trans-Canada Highway, the snowcover stays on the mountain tops and the glaciers through the summer (its not snowy in the valleys!). The stunning beauty of the mountains here, the glaciers and the aqua blue-green lakes are the reason the Canadian Pacific Railway guilt a series of castle-like mountain hotels around the turn of the century.
See also Rockies.FoundLocally.com
This 8,000 resident town is at the western end of the Rogers Pass serving both the Trans-Canada Highway and the trans-continental railway traffic. Rogers Pass lies in Glacier National Park and has some of the most scenic highway views anywhere in the world, as well as some amazing deep powder helicopter skiiing.
The town lies east of where the Trans-Canada Highway crosses the Columbia River, with a major hydro-electric dam just north of town. Two grizzly bear statues guard the entrance of town, centered around Grizzly Square and a cozy downtown with cobblestone streets and turn-of-the century buildings.
Most housing lies on relatively flat land south of the Trans-Canada, with newer condo development near the Mount Revelstoke resort.
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Golden's 4,000 residents prize their access to both the Kicking Horse River and the Columbia River, and the town's easy access to nearby Yoho and Glacier National Parks.
The town is a mecca for mountain biking and white water rafting in summer and skiing in winter, with Kicking Horse Mountain just to the west of town.
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Radium was an early settlement, and is named in 1915 due for the radioactivity in the water. The hot springs were first commericalized in 1890, with a log bathhouse and a concrete pool were added in 1912. The springs were expropriated in 1922 as part of Kootenay National Park, and in 1923 was connected by roadway to Banff, with the current Aquacourt opened in 1951.
The town is a summer & winter resort community and has under 1000 year-round residents. Radium is at the junction of highway 93 from Banff and highway 95 from Golden and is serviced by a 3600 foot airstrip.
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Invermere, with 3000 residents, is located at the north-western end of Lake Windermere. The town of Windermere lies along Hihgwy 93/95 to the east of the lake.
These two towns are the commercial centre of the Columbia River valley and grew out of early mining settlements (extracting copper,lead and zinc), and in 1912 the area began to be developed for tree fruit farming and settlement, which did not pick up until after the end of World War I.
These twin communities are now popular for windsurfing, fishing, hang gliding, swimming and golf, and ourism is the town's major industry.
Visitors come for the town's relaxed pace, and its quaint sops, arts and crafts, and collage of flowers around town.
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Kimberley (elevation 1,113 metres / 3,651 feet)is a small town of 6,000 best known for its Bavarian-themed downtown, and its Platzl pedestrian mall, with Canada's largest cuckoo clock and wandering minstrels.
The city is the site of the Sullivan Mine, which was the world's largest underground lead-silver-zinc mine before closing in 2001. The ski resort and other tourism operators are the strongest employers in the community today.
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Famed explorer David Thompson arrived in the early 1800s, followed quickly by prospectors, fur traders and missionaries.
In the 1860s gold was discovered, and Fort Steele helped reduce tensions with the area's first nations as the settlement rapidly grew.
Cranbrook is the largest city in the eastern Kootenays, and lies at the junction of highway 93/95 (north-south) and Highway 3 (the east-west Crowsnest Highway),and is serviced by the Kimberley-Cranbrook airport (with scheduled service to Calgary and Vancouver).
The town has a rustic red brick downtown, with many shops and restaurants, and the area's largest shopping mall, with fast food and movies theatres.
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