Drivable getaways are one of my favourite things. A weekend break from the city, a day trip off the beaten path and a chance to get out and see the amazing scenery that surrounds us.

The Columbia Valley is a great destination for your next weekend road trip. Not only is it less than a three-hour drive from Calgary, but it also provides you with many relaxing and refreshing experiences that make for a truly great break from the city. Columbia Valley, which includes Radium Hot Springs, Fairmont Hot Springs, Invermere on the Lake, and Panorama Mountain Resort, should definitely be your next getaway destination.

There are a lot of things you can do there, and this list is a good place to start.

Ski or Skate


The Lake Windermere Whiteway is a great place to unwind while burning a few calories. In 2014, the Lake Windermere Whiteway set a world record for the World’s Longest Ice Skating Trail with over 30km of ice skating as well as both groomed and classic ski trails. You can go skating or skiing, which is great if you are getting away with a larger group of people with different outdoor skill sets.

Indulge with a Spa Day

If there’s one thing the Columbia Valley is famous for, it’s their world class relaxation experiences. Fairmont Hot Springs, Radium Hot Springs and Invermere on the Lake have relaxing spas and natural mineral hot springs that you can enjoy while staying in the region.

Hit up a Festival


You can enjoy one of the many events and festivals hosted in the Columbia Valley. From music festivals to the Wings Over the Rockies wildlife festival – there is something for everyone. Coffee lovers would be wise to hit up the annual Invermere Coffee Fest, which happens during the first week of March and features workshops, a coffee and tea expo, expert advice on pouring the perfect cup and more!

Stroll the Local Shops

Sometimes the craziness of a Calgary mall on a Saturday is a little much, so why not do your retail therapy in a place where you can relax while you do it? Panorama, Radium, Fairmont Hot Springs and Invermere on the Lake all boast unique shops, and you can chill out afterwards with a culinary cure at places like Cliffhanger or From Scratch (pro tip: try the charcuterie platter!).

Take a Hike


The Kootenay National Park has lots to see and lots to learn about. Take one of the guided natural history tours to discover some of the five-hundred and five million year old fossils in the park while you enjoy the great outdoors. Or, go for a self-guided walk along the Marble Canyon Trail or Redstreak Restoration (watch for bighorn sheep!). Both take half an hour or so, leaving you plenty of time to explore the rest of what the region has to offer!

Mike Morrison