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Learn about Golden, British Columbia by reading Where the Buffaloes and Bears Roam by Sandy Zimmerman, Travel Writer. It features a mini, but thorough tour of the destination, plus all you'll need to know to plan your trip including getting there, objective information on places to stay and things to do. At the end of the article, we've provided a summary of the contact information for your easy reference. Enjoy!

Where the Buffaloes and Bears Roam - Golden, British Columbia, Canada

by Sandy Zimmerman, Travel Writer and WTA Member

The Kootenay Rocky Mountains are so unique; your experience goes beyond the usual mountain activities. You are immersed in the world of the First Nations Aboriginal Indians and their ancient traditions. There are very few regions where you will find such a diversified selection of things to do. Spend a few hours or a few nights.

Have a close encounter with buffalo from the platform at the Rocky Mountain Buffalo Ranch.
Photo courtesy of Sandy Zimmerman

At the Rocky Mountain Buffalo Ranch, it felt as though I had suddenly slipped back into the old West, to the days when buffaloes were important to the First Nations Aborigines of Canada and the Native Americans in the United States. Guests staying at the Rocky Mountain Buffalo Ranch have the run of the entire 80-acre ranch. Just a short walk beyond the trees, their land reaches to the glacier fed Blaeberry River. There are several hiking trails, if you want to explore, or a lovely rustic wooden sauna big enough for 8 people. Walk over the bridge to the large wooden gazebo along side a fire pit. You will not hear traffic noises, just the sound of birds singing. Imagine seeing six black bears, a grizzly bear, mountain goats and mountain sheep all in one day!

The public is invited to join their tours. First we stood on the viewing platform, a safe place to watch for the buffaloes. It was a thrill to see the whole herd running toward us. Even though the buffaloes are on the ranch, they are still wild. We had the opportunity to try our first taste of buffalo meat sausages. One of the highlights of our tour was visiting the gift shop. Karen was very knowledgeable when she explained the techniques the First Nations Aboriginal Indians used to create their arts and crafts designed from buffalo bones and rawhide. She and her husband sell replicas of ancient artifacts. They love to have tourists and friends join them on the porch or at the campfires in the summer for sing-a-longs. If you want to escape for a few days or longer, rent their private 3-bedroom guesthouse. They even have a large hot tub outside to soak while you enjoy nature. You are in the wilderness, even though the ranch is only 15 minutes from Golden.

The gondola at the Kicking Horse Resort will have you to the top of the mountain in no time.
Photo courtesy of Kicking Horse Resort.

The Kicking Horse Mountain Skiing Resort is perched 7,700 feet high above the little town of Golden. Step into the sightseeing gondola and you are whisked up to the summit in 12-18 minutes. Kicking Horse is always a place for adventure! In the summer you will enjoy mountain biking, floating on the river, fishing, white water rafting, horseback riding, canoeing, exploring, and wildlife watching. Six different hiking trails twist along the ridgelines. This is Canada’s highest elevation resort, looking over 3 mountain ranges. You can ride the gondola just to dine in the magnificent setting of the Eagle’s Eye Restaurant for Mediterranean, Asian, and Rocky Mountain cuisine. Eagle Eye’s exceptionally large dining room, with its very high ceiling and roaring wood burning fireplace, has the appearance of a rustic mountain lodge. A beautiful carved First Nations Aboriginal Indian’s eagle mask looks down from the wall. It was carved from a single piece of 500-year old red cedar. The Eagle’s Eye Restaurant caters all type of events. Sometimes a bride or bridegroom will fly here by helicopter. If you would like an excitingly different honeymoon, two suites above the restaurant are available on a nightly basis. You would have your own private butler, three meals, and lift tickets, ski instructor, golf, canyon jetting, or other outdoor activity. After the restaurant closes, you will thrill to the seclusion of being alone on top of the mountain.

Professional guides can take you on educational tours of the grizzly bear refuge, a conservation, education and research center committed to the preservation of grizzly bears. It is a 22-acre habitat, completely closed and fenced. You will also get a quick view of the refuge as you ride in the gondola or ski lift chair.

The Canadian Rockies provide a wonderful backdrop to this teepee on the grounds of the Quantum Leaps Lodge.

At the Quantum Leaps Lodge you do not have to go to a spa, just take a mud bath in the deep pools of glacial silt along the Blaeberry River! Cover yourself from head to toe, with the amazing green clay, and wash your wrinkles down the river. It is free! This is just one of your unique adventures when you stay at the Quantum Leaps Lodge. You may want to try walking with your bare feet on hot coals! Quantum Leaps Lodge includes the fire walk experience, sweat lodge, white water rafting, and labyrinth walk in their "Pushing the Edge" packages. This helps you to push through your limitations. Many of the seminars are based on ancient Aboriginal Indian’s traditions. Private Shamanic drumming sessions at the teepee by the river are available. Elders of the First Nations Blackfoot tribe perform peace pipe ceremonies to take everyone through the Sweat Lodge and lead them in the Vision Quest ceremony. They offer many workshops, couples retreats, and renewal retreats. River rafting floating tours and white water rafting trips can be arranged. You can go native and rent a teepee with 4 beds, which sleeps 6 people. Or you can stay in one of the cottages, which share common kitchens and bathrooms.

Golden, British Columbia Details

Getting There

The Buffalo Ranch, Kicking Horse Resort, and Quantum Leaps Lodge are located in the Kootenay Rocky Mountains, in Golden, British Columbia, Canada, just 4-? hours from the Calgary International Airport. Reservations may be made through Air Canada, 888-247-2262,

Places To Stay

Rocky Mountain Buffalo Ranch, 866-400-8400,

Kicking Horse Resort, 866-SKI-KICK,

Quantum Leaps Lodge, 800-716-2494,

Notice: This information is current as of May 2007. It is recommended that you contact the numbers, and/or visit the websites above to determine any changes to the information.