Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Active Family Guide to Radium Hot Springs, BC

If you've been following me on Instagram lately, you might be wondering if we've moved to British Columbia, specifically Radium Hot Springs. And what can I say except that we really love the Columbia Valley, that the sun is almost always shining here, and that we spend many weekends here! (many, many...)

Hiking above Radium Hot Springs in the Redstreak Campground

From Calgary (where honestly we do still live,) it is a 3 hour drive to the Village of Radium Hot Springs and the gateway to the Columbia Valley (aka "Heaven on Earth.") The drive is very doable for a 2-day weekend but you'll probably enjoy yourself more if you spend at least 3 nights here (especially if you're camping.)

Below are ten of the activities we personally enjoy when we visit Radium Hot Springs in the warm months from spring through autumn - and you definitely won't knock them all off in one visit so you'll have to plan several trips here in the coming months.

We've already spent 4 weekends in Radium Hot Springs since the end of March with another trip coming up in a few weeks.

This story has been updated for 2023.

Spring camping in Radium Hot Springs (Photo: Redstreak Campground)

Ten Fun Activities for Active Families in and near Radium Hot Springs 

1. Start with a Trip to the Visitor Information Centre

Start your visit to Radium Hot Springs at the Visitor Information Centre where you can spend some time looking at the educational exhibits on the animals of the valley and the landscape/environment that has shaped their home. Also take the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about tours or activities in the valley. You can get trail reports here as well along with maps and brochures to plan out your trip.

Read more about the services offered at the Visitor Information Centre here. - and you'll find the Information Centre on the main street of Radium Hot Springs right along Highway 95 beside the grocery store.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Valley Zipline Adventures Tour, Radium Hot Springs

We got to try a tour with the Valley Zipline Adventure  just outside Radium Hot Springs this month and it was a LOT of fun. While it's not the biggest zipline course, there were a few things we really liked about it (and that made it stand out above some of the other zipline tours we've tried.

Valley Zipline Adventures, Radium Hot Springs, BC 

Brief Introduction and Overview

Radium Hot Springs is one of our favourite destinations for a quick weekend getaway from Calgary and the drive is only 3 hours (totally doable for Friday after work.)

The Valley Zipline Adventures Centre is located a short distance outside Radium Hot Springs at Dry Gulch, and you'll see it off the right hand side of the highway as you drive towards Invermere.

Of note for families curious about this adventure tour:

  • The parking lot is very large so you can park your trailer or RV here if you're passing through - something that was important for us because we did the tour on a Sunday morning before returning to Calgary

  • The tour only lasts a couple of hours so you can stop in for a rest break if you're driving through on your summer vacation

  • You'll get to enjoy 7 different ziplines on this course

  • Participants must be a minimum of 48 inches (4 feet) tall. Participants must also be a minimum weight of 65 lbs and a maximum weight of 250 lbs

  • Children under the age of 10 need a parent or guardian to accompany them on the tour. If you have kids older than this, you could drop them off without actually taking the tour yourself (great if you the parent has a fear of heights or you need to save money and can't afford for the whole family to participate)

  • You'll want to wear closed-toed shoes, sunblock, and comfortable clothing. Leave your hats behind because you'll be wearing helmets the whole time

  • Cameras are welcome as long as they are secure. My husband put my cell phone in a zipper pocket and I had a camera with a long strap secured to my harness
Ziplining is a fun activity for the whole family

What we loved about this zipline adventure:

It's awesome when you can go ziplining locally without having to go all the way to Mexico or Costa Rica! 

My son LOVES ziplines and we actually went ziplining every single day on our recent trip to Mexico. Radium Hot Springs is a whole lot closer though and more affordable!

A kid who could go ziplining every single day!

It's a family adventure and a great intro tour for those who've never tried ziplining before

I appreciated that this tour was not too scary or overly intimidating. The crossings weren't very high off the ground - The first 5 ziplines are on average 80 feet or 24 meters off the ground at the highest point. The 7th zipline is 120 feet or 36 meters at its highest point. (This isn't a jungle forest canopy you're crossing.)

Also, our speed was never overly crazy. - The 7th zipline was the only one that required a brake at the end.

I also appreciated that each landing was quite gentle. Each of the first 6 crossings brought us slowly to a stop (my son and I had to be pulled in with a rope a couple of times at the end so we definitely weren't going super fast.)

Kids often get pulled in with a rope at the end if they don't go fast enough

This is a full hands-on experience and you are in charge of your own gear the entire time!

You're not just a passenger along for the ride on this tour. You actually get to do all of your own "technical work" on this course, clipping in to the line for each crossing with your own carabiners, using a set of double carabiners to stay connected to a fixed line through the entire tour, and switching between the safety cable and the actual zipline cable before and after each crossing.

Most zipline guides on other tours do everything for you and you'll never even touch a carabiner or a pulley. This is not the case with the Valley Zipline Adventures Tour.

You'll get very comfortable with your carabiners and equipment on this tour

Our adventure felt like a combination between a zipline tour and an aerial park

If you've ever done a high ropes course or tried an aerial park adventure, you'll be familiar with the use of carabiners, fixed safety lines, and the constant clipping and unclipping from cables. I like this because it keeps me active and engaged the whole time, and I'm not just "babied" by guides who take care of all the equipment for me.

When you do a tour with Valley Zipline Adventures, you'll follow a course high up in the trees, climbing ladders, flying between platforms, and crossing high up between each tower. It was exhilarating and was a fun adventure for the whole family.

High up in the trees at the Valley Zipline Adventures Tour

And don't worry about falling to your death by doing something wrong!

The guides were amazing at making sure we all knew exactly what to do before we started out on our tour! There's a short practice course that you get to start on, and you won't progress beyond that until you're ready!

You'll also be using smart carabiners that talk to one another, so you'll always be attached to the cable with at least one carabiner (and it won't release or unlock until your second carabiner is locked to the cable.)

Practice course to learn the equipment 

Other Activities at the Valley Zipline Adventures

There is also a climbing wall and a freefall jump tower on site that you can add to your zipline package. We decided not to try the climbing wall because my son didn't want to switch to a different harness, but we did try the freefall jump and it was a LOT of fun. (and not that scary if you're a bit nervous of heights.) - the hardest part for me in fact was the climb up!

Climbing wall and free fall jump 

For more information, please visit the Valley Zipline Adventures website. On their website you'll find full details on the pricing and various packages offered. Our package included the climbing wall and jump tower on site.

Freefall jump at the Valley Zipline Adventures Park 

Disclaimer: Our tour was hosted by the valley Zipline Adventures and partnered with Tourism Radium Hot Springs. As always, all opinions are my own.