Invermere is an outdoor playground, with dozens of activities available for those looking to stretch their legs, get wet or just get some adrenalin flowing by putting their body in harm’s way. Regardless of the season, the list of things to do in Invermere has options for all ages and adventure levels, meaning there is never a reason to be bored on your visit to the Columbia River Valley. Of course, it is also worth finding an excuse or two to occasionally sit down, relax and enjoy a few drinks while enjoying the view. No judgement.
So, here you go, our exhaustive (or is that exhausting?) list of things to do in Invermere, BC that will keep you busy all year round:
Also: Thanks to Charlene Nieman, her family and friends for many of these photos so we could illustrate all the different seasons!
Invermere Things to Do Map
1. Get Out on the Water
By July and August the water should be nice and warm, perfect to enjoy those long, sunny Canadian summer days. Throngs of excited sun-lovers flock to the lake to swim, kayak and paddleboard. Plus, it goes without saying that fishing is a popular pastime in almost all the lakes in the area. There is a great choice of things to do in Invermere in summer.
A family favourite, Kinsmen Beach is fairly rocky but the town hauls in sand each summer for the kids. It has a playground, splash park and jumping rafts with water slides. There are picnic tables, bathrooms, a snack bar, outdoor showers, life jacket rentals and even an air compressor to blow up your inflatables. The parking lot isn’t always big enough to handle demand so get there early if you want a spot.
James Chabot Beach
Closer to the highway, in the James Chabot Provincial Park, this sandy beach has a huge playground, bathrooms, change rooms, picnic tables and volleyball courts. The water is nice and shallow, perfect for kids, and it tends to be a bit quieter than Kinsmen. This was the beach closest to where we stayed and where we went most often.
Get Out on a Boat
Boating is a favourite pastime on Lake Windermere but if you don’t have your own boat you can charter one at Shady Brook Marina in Windemere. They provide a professional NCCP certified driver and everything you need for a big day on the water, including life jackets, watersport toys and all the accessories.
Paddle from Invermere to Radium Hot Springs
Another option is to paddle or float down the valley all the way from Invermere to Radium Hot Springs. This gentle, family-friendly float takes 3-4 hours, passing through the atmospheric wetlands that serve as the habitat for over 250 bird species, including herons, eagles and osprey.
If possible, pick a day when the wind is coming from the south and bring some snacks to enjoy on a scenic sandbar along the way. You can either leave a vehicle at the other end or book a shuttle through Columbia River Paddle. They also offer guided/self-guided tours and rent canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and boats.
Cliff Jumping at Twin Lakes
Known as the “Bottomless Lake”, you won’t be surprised to learn that the water tends to be pretty cold, making it best to visit on a nice, hot day. This small lake is surrounded by pretty, tree-lined cliffs at several different heights, from the fairly tame to the completely terrifying. You just park along Westroc Mine Road and walk in about 5 minutes. The Twin Lakes are also a popular fly-fishing spot. This is one of the little known but amazing things to do near Invermere.
Skate the Lake Windermere Whiteway
In the depths of winter when the lake is frozen, you can enjoy the unique experience of cruising between Invermere and Windermere on the world’s longest ice-skating route and a great winter activity. The entire track is 34 kilometres long, made up of four different loops (each 5-12 km) so you can pick and choose your ideal distance. There is a separate path dedicated to cross-country skiing, several areas that are popular with studded tire fat bikes and you’ll even see snowmobiles on the lake most days. The track is maintained by the Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club, who ask for a $5 donation to help cover trail maintenance. We didn’t bring our skates but went out a few times to walk along the route and watch all the activity.
Play Some Shinny
Most hockey players don’t really know what to do with themselves on ice without a stick or puck, so luckily there are plenty of rinks cleared along the lake for Canada’s favourite pastime. You can show up with your own group or just ask to join in on a game in progress.
There are trails up and down the lake, and skiing is popular on most of the hiking/biking trails in the area. Avid Nordic skiers can rip around to their heart’s content without ever running out of interesting choices.
2. Head to the Mountains and Hills
Downhill Skiing in Invermere (or snowboarding, if you’re one of those guys)
Skiing and snowboarding is one of the most popular things to do near Invermere in winter and there are some great choices of where to go.
Panorama Mountain Resort is one of the best ski resorts in BC, which, by default, also makes it one of the best in the country. With 139 runs, Panorama is huge, which means you can ski (or snowboard, obviously) for days without getting bored. It has a large number of black diamond runs, in particular, and the steep and scenic Taynton Bowl is a firm favourite of experts. However, there are also plenty of easy green runs and a diverse collection of intermediate blues around. And all of them live up to the resort name when it comes to awesome mountain views. My favourites were the Old Timer (which is fitting I guess), the Rollercoaster, Schober’s Dream and Get Me Down.
Fairmont Hot Springs Resort is a smaller, more beginner-friendly mountain experience. There are just 12 runs but it is more affordable than Panorama or Kimberley. It is perfect for kids and those looking for a lot of relaxing glides down the hill, although there are also a few blues and blacks as well.
Kimberley Alpine Resort is known for being very sunny and very scenic, set in pretty mountain glades with big-time views. It receives an average of up to 4 metres of snow per year and they offer night skiing from Thursday to Saturday in high season. There are 80 runs to choose from, nearly half of which are intermediate blues, with a good mix of beginner and expert as well.
Hiking in Invermere
Although the best hiking in Invermere takes place in the summer, it is actually possible to hit the trails any time of year if you invest in some microspikes and trekking poles (although some of the peaks and higher altitude hikes might be too difficult or dangerous in winter). This was one of our favourite Invermere activities as are so many great choices and way more hoodoos than we expected. Here is a good selection of excellent hikes in the Invermere area:
The Johnson – primarily a mountain biking area, the views of the hoodoos and Toby Creek from the cliff edge are great no matter how you get there. There are a lot of different trails you can combine however you choose but the shortest loop that gets you to all the top viewpoints is around 8 km and will take 2-2.5 hrs.
Old Coach Trail – running between the highway to Radium and the Columbia River, make sure you follow all the spur trails out to the edges for the best views of the valley and mountains. To hike from one end to the other and back is around 15 kilometres but you can choose a much shorter section and still enjoy phenomenal scenery.
Mount Swansea Tower (6 km / 2 hrs / 350m elev gain) – one of the many options in the Swansea Mountain Recreation site: a short and steep, but not overly difficult, this is possibly the fastest way to reach a top valley viewpoint (on foot, anyway).
Wilmer Wetlands – this 4-km / 1-hr hike has a nice mix of hoodoos, cliffs, ponds and bush trails, not to mention an abandoned car at the end that finds itself in a surprising number of photographs.
Juniper Trail – this short, 3-km one-way lung-buster takes you from the Radium Hot Springs parking lot up and over a steep hill (with tremendous views) and down to the very nice Sinclair Falls (just don’t forget you have to do that climb on the way back again).
Pedley Pass and Ridge (11 km / 3.5 hrs / 700m) – only accessible by snowmobile in winter, once the snow has melted this Kootenay classic offers stunning views in exchange for just a moderate amount of sweat equity. We’ve always been suckers for a great ridge hike.
Lower Bugaboo Falls (3 km / 1 hr / 135m) – a fairly easy hike in summer to an impressive set of waterfalls, this one gets icy and treacherous in winter and spring, although the reward is a set of fascinatingly frozen waterfalls. The best views of the falls are from the bottom, although it is worth checking out both spots. On your way there or back you should also stop off at Brisco Falls, which are just a short 5-minute walk in from the road.
Paint Pots to Marble Canyon (7 km / 2 hrs / 100m) – Now we’re getting a little farther from Invermere (approx. 75 min) into the heart of the Kootenay National Park but it’s worth it for this unique hike. While it is possible to drive right to Marble Canyon parking, leaving just a 10-minute walk in, we highly recommend the 7-km return hike if you have the time (and energy). From the Paint Pots parking lot you walk to the nearby bridge and go left to see this wonderful set of colourful ponds (although they will be disappointingly white in winter), a 1-km hike each way, then you head north on a beautiful, easy trail running along the river all the way to Marble Canyon.
Stanley Glacier (11 km / 3 hrs / 600m) – if you’re going to Marble Canyon and can handle two hikes in one day, we would highly recommend this Rocky Mountain classic. It starts just a few kilometres up the road and is moderately difficult but the views are unbelievable.
Nipika Mountain Resort
This wonderful eco-resort is great for hiking and mountain biking in summer but really comes into its own in the winter. It has over 50 kilometres of groomed cross-country ski trails, 25 kilometres of fat bike trails and a good selection of snowshoe routes. Our friend was a competitive cross country skier and this is her go to place so that’s a pretty high recommendation. The day-use fee is $12 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under. You can rent skis, poles, bikes, snowshoes and all the extra gear you might need, including helmets.
Of course, it is also an impressive resort with log cottages featuring full kitchens, a fireplace and patio. Rooms range from studios to 4-bedroom suites and guests are allowed full access to all the trails and the sauna.
Mountain Biking in Invermere
The entire Columbia Valley is a rife with great mountain biking opportunities, from long, smooth tracks like Old Coach Trail and the Westside Legacy Trail (next to the old highway between Invermere and Fairmont) to adrenalin-charged forest/ridge trails like the Kloosifier and the Johnson.
There are loads of outstanding snowmobiling tracks throughout the mountains around Invermere, with riders coming from all over Western Canada to take advantage of the deep snow and challenging routes. Or if you don’t have your own sled check out Toby Creek Adventures for a snowmobile tour or to rent a machine.
3. Soak in a Hot Springs
The Kootenay Mountains are famous for their hot springs, so if soaking your weary bones in hot water while enjoying mountain scenery is your thing (and it probably should be), then Invermere is the perfect base. As far as Invermere activities go, this is one of the most unique. If you want more detail on these hot springs, you can check out our post dedicated to the best hot springs near Invermere.
Radium Hot Springs – located right on (well, just off, I suppose) Hwy 93 east of Radium, it is clean, organized and spacious.
Fairmont Hot Springs – part of a large, well-equipped resort, these pools provide outstanding views of the valley and mountains.
“Waterfall Hot Springs” – the quotations are because that isn’t their official name and, in fact, they don’t officially exist. Created by the dechlorinated runoff from the main Fairmont springs, they aren’t very big or very hot but they are free and that waterfall looks pretty amazing in photos. We went back a couple times because it is just so picturesque.
Indigenous Baths – just a short hike up the river from Fairmont Hot Springs, this little stone building was built around a series of pools originally called the “Indian Baths” by explorer David Thompson. There are also some natural pools above the building and the views are superb.
Lussier Hot Springs – located in Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park, these atmospheric springs are one of British Columbia’s best natural hot springs and are found in a collection of small rock pools along the edge of a frigid river. The scenery is exceptional and you won’t feel like you are in a public pool. It gets busy so we went on a weekday morning and were able to have it to ourselves.
Ram Creek Hot Springs – farther up the same road as Lussier Hot Springs, this even more remote option boasts a fantastic location on top of a gorgeous ridge.
4. Hit the Links on one of the Invermere Golf Courses
The entire Columbia River Valley is riddled with beautiful courses, giving avid golfers a good range of choices for hitting the links.
Greywolf (ScoreGolf #16 in Canada)
Eagle Ranch (ScoreGolf #77 in Canada)
Copper Point Golf (ScoreGolf #88 in Canada)
More Affordable Courses
Fairmont Hot Springs – Creekside (Par 3), Riverside and Mountainside courses
Coy’s (Par 3)
5. Other Family Friendly Invermere Attractions
While we’ve already covered the most popular activities in the area, somehow there are still plenty more fun options if you want to mix things up. There is mini-golf in the summer and tubing and tobogganing in the winter. Kids and/or adrenalin junkies can enjoy ziplining (Valley or Mineral Mountain), forest adventure courses, rock climbing (on walls or cliffs) and go-karting, and bowling is an excellent rainy day alternative as it is one of the few indoor activities Invermere offers.
Where to Eat and Drink in Invermere
Peppi’s Italian Fuel: always a good choice for pizza
Smokehouse 93: Great bbq place – in particular the pulled pork sandwich, mac and cheese and brisket
Poutine Queen: offers mostly burgers and poutine for a quick takeaway or outdoor seating meal
Invermere Drinking Options
The Station Pub: for a drink with a view
Arrowhead Brewing Company: try a flight of craft beers in their eclectic tasting room
Drinking Beer on the Beach: I’m not sure this one is strictly legal but I know it can be a great way to spend an afternoon. I mean, that’s what I’ve been told, anyway.
Where to Stay in Invermere
The Lake Windemere Pointe Condo is in the same complex that we stayed in and has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with a mountain view, full kitchen and access to the pool. We found the location very convenient to the lake and beach and always like to stay in a place with a kitchen, especially since we were there for a month. If this one is full, a good alternative condo in the same complex might be available.
The Kanata Inns Invermere are on the other side of the river from town but are only a few minutes drive away. A breakfast is included and the hot tub is relaxing after a day of activities.
Copper Point Resort is a great choice if you are looking for a luxury resort on a golf course with both indoor and outdoor pools. Room choices range from a hotel room to a two bedroom suite. It’s a bit out of town but the surroundings make the drive worth it.
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