We left Banff at 7AM, on a snowy day, for a trip to Kootenay National Park. The 94 km Banff-Windermere Highway (93 south) takes you through the park along the Vermilion and Kootenay Rivers and through the narrow gorge of Sinclair Canyon to the famous Radium Hot Springs. Many use the highway simply as a scenic route to reach the Windermere Valley, beyond the park's southern boundary. But those who take the time to stop along the way discover some of Kootenay's quiet, colorful secrets!! It's a wonderful place for a travel photographer to explore.
As we started out the weather was clear on 93 south but looking up at the mountains, that line 93, we could see snow was falling in the mountains. The snow falling, the lack of cars on 93 and the avalanche area warning signs made for an exciting but cautious trip. We drove on with our cameras ready to shoot.
Kootenay National Park (1,406 km ) is one of 44 national parks in Canada. Together, they celebrate and protect the diversity of the nation's great landscapes. Kootenay National Park represents the south-western region of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. We had traveled it before in the summer but not in May which we found out is still winter! I actually found it more beautiful this trip. There was something about solitude and the raw look of nature that made it an amazing photographic experience.
For thousands of years, the area which is now Kootenay National Park was part of the traditional lands identified by the Ktunaxa (Kootenay) and Kinbasket (Shuswap) First Nation's people. Archaeological evidence suggests the mountains were used primarily as seasonal hunting grounds. Groups also travelled across the mountains periodically to hunt bison on the plains east of the Rockies. Some sites are considered sacred.