The Columbia Valley: Adventure Lives Here (Part III)
PART III: KIMBERLEY
The town of Kimberley is a picturesque, mountain town with a European alpine feel. Town life is centered on the Platzl, a pedestrian only area lined with shops and restaurants. Just outside of town is the Kimberley Alpine Resort, another stop on the world-renowned “Powder Highway”.
No trip to the East Kootenays is complete without some whitewater. As much as the mountains dominate the skyline, the rivers shape the valleys and provide yet another world-class outdoor playground.
Photo Courtesy of Kootenay Raft Co.
The Kootenay Raft Co., operating out of Kimberley and celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, provides whitewater rafting trips for all tastes. Adrenaline junkies will opt for the Wilderness Whitewater Express – a 2.5 hour expedition on the Bull River or Skookumchuck Creek. This trip features Class 3 and 4 rapids (aka raging whitewater in tight canyons).
For those more inclined to a mellow river experience, there is the Intro to Sport Rafting trip – a 1.5 hour trip down the St. Mary’s River. Though this isn’t a ‘white knuckle’ raft trip, it does feature Class 1-3 rapids, with names like ‘Pinball’, ‘S-Bends’ and ‘Chute’. This makes the perfect afternoon on the water without requiring too much courage, time or money.
After your raft trip (hopefully in the dry set of clothes you remembered to bring) head over to Arrow + Axe General Store on the Platzl. Owners Denai Schick-Bell and Jaret Bell have created a one-of-a-kind store filled with an eclectic mix of goods inspired by or built for the mountains, the outdoors, or a good life lived amongst them.
Arrow + Axe owners Denai Schick-Bell and Jaret Bell Photo Credit: Meyrick Jones
The magic of the place will have you desiring, no… NEEDING that handmade Swedish axe, or that Turkish towel, or that t-shirt made right there in the Kootenays. Most items look like the sort of thing you’d find at the family cabin, or hand down to your first born… timeless, high quality and often made or designed by the owners themselves. From bath and body, to sports and apparel, to decorative and functional you’ll need to restrain yourself to avoid blowing the trip budget.