Kootenay National Park
|Kootenay National Park|
The Ottertail River
|Location||British Columbia, Canada|
|Area||1,406 km2 (543 sq mi)|
|Governing body||Parks Canada|
|World Heritage Site||304|
Kootenay National Park is located in southeastern British Columbia Canada, covering 1,406 km2 (543 sq mi) in the Canadian Rockies, and forms part of a World Heritage Site. The park ranges in elevation from 918 m (3,012 ft) at the south-west park entrance, to 3,424 m (11,234 ft) at Deltaform Mountain. Kootenay forms one of the four contiguous mountain parks in the Canadian Rockies; the other three being Banff National Park directly to the east, Yoho National Park directly to the north, and Jasper National Park, which does not share a boundary with Kootenay National Park. Initially called "Kootenay Dominion Park", the park was created in 1920 as part of an agreement between the province of British Columbia and the Canadian federal government to build a highway in exchange for title (property) to a strip of land on either side of the route. A strip of land 8 km (5.0 mi) wide on each side of the newly constructed 94 km. Banff-Windermere Highway was set aside as a national park.
While the park is open all year, the major tourist season lasts from June to September. Most campgrounds are open from early May to late September, while limited winter camping is available only at the Dolly Varden campground.
The park takes its name from the Kootenay River, one of the two major rivers which flow through the park, the other being the Vermillion River. While the Vermillion River is completely contained within the park, the Kootenay River has its headwaters just outside of the park boundary, flowing through the park into the Rocky Mountain Trench, eventually joining the Columbia River. The Banff-Windermere Highway, #93 follows the path of both rivers through the park.
The park's main attractions include the Hot Springs, Olive Lake, Marble Canyon, Sinclair Canyon and the Paint Pots. The hot springs offer a hot springs pool ranging from 35°C to 47°C (95°F to 117 °F). The Paint Pots are a group of iron-rich cold mineral springs which bubble up through several small pools and stain the earth a dark red-orange colour. The Paint Pots were a major source of the ochre paint pigment for a number of First Nations groups prior to the 20th century.
Because of the relatively small width of the park (five miles on each side of the highway), many of the park's attractions are situated near the road and are wheelchair accessible. A number of recent forest fires in the northern half of the park in the Simpson River, Vermillion Pass, and Floe Creek areas in 2003 and 2004 have left significant burn areas readily visible from the highway. Numa Falls is a short drive south of Marble Canyon (Canadian Rockies) and is accessible directly by Highway 93 which cuts through the park.
Ten minutes north of Radium Hot Springs is Olive Lake a popular picnic area surrounded by short hiking trails.
Just outside the park's south-western entrance is the town of Radium Hot Springs. The town is named for the odourless hot springs located just inside the park boundary. The name originated at the turn of the 20th century when the promoters tried to sell the hot springs as a therapeutic cure and used the springs' very slight radioactivity as a selling point. The area around the hot springs is also home to the rubber boa snake . The park's north-eastern entrance, connects to Castle Junction in Banff National Park and the Trans-Canada Highway via Vermillion Pass, a mountain pass across the Continental Divide of the Canadian Rockies on the Alberta/British Columbia border, at an elevation of 1,651 metres (5,416').
Backcountry Attractions 
There are many back country attractions in Kootenay National Park. Floe Lake is a picturesque lake which lies on a 10.7 km hiking trail accessible from highway 93. Kaufman Lake is also a popular full day hiking destination. The Fay Hut is accessible from Marble Canyon, and the Neil Colgan Hut located above the Valley of the Ten Peaks is a popular mountaineering destination. There are many multiple-day backpacking trails, some of which are quite strenuous.
The geology of the park is dominated by mountains made up of exposed faulted sedimentary rock and valleys containing glacial till deposited in the Pleistocene.
Just outside the north-western corner of the park, there is an igneous intrusion known as the Ice River Complex containing deposits of sodalite, an ornamental stone. The hills immediately around the hot springs are composed mainly of tufa, a calcium carbonate deposit that forms by precipitation of supersaturated hot spring water when it reaches cooler surface water.
The part has many ocean origin rocks that shed insight into the evolution of life on Earth. One species Kootenichela has been discovered in these rocks.
World Heritage Site 
This park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, together with the other national and provincial parks that form the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, for the mountain landscapes containing mountain peaks, glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, canyons and limestone caves as well as fossils found here.
View to the south-east from the viewpoint near Sinclair Pass
Kootenay River valley
BC Highway 93 leading into the park through Sinclair Canyon
See also 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Kootenay National Park|
- Parks Canada web site for Kootenay NP
- Geology of the Rocky mountains including Kootenay area
- Parks Canada - Official National Parks and Mountain Guide
- An article on Kootenay National Park from The Canadian Encyclopedia