Recently voted as the best small town in all of British Columbia in a fun competition run by the CBC, Kimberley BC is no longer a secret in the Kootenays. Located just 30 minutes north of Cranbrook and less than 1.5 hours from Invermere and the Columbia Valley, Kimberely is a quaint mountain town with lots of outdoor adventure and history.
There are many things that make Kimberley stand out, such as their historic mining tour, their unique pedestrian-friendly downtown Platzl, and their consistent Purcell Mountain powder in the winter, just to name a few.
So whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or an addition to a week-long Kootenay BC road trip, we’ll fill you in on the best things to do in Kimberley BC.
Visit Kimberley’s Underground Mining Railway
One of the top things to do in Kimberley is the Underground Mining Railway tour, which takes visitors into a mine to get an authentic look into the mining industry that formed the town of Kimberley. The historic Sullivan Mine is the reason Kimberley exists today and this tour, which has been operating for more than 28 years and is often ranked #1 on TripAdvisor, is truly a unique thing to do.
You’ll start by riding the rails through the beautiful Mark Creek valley as you listen to the history of Kimberley and the Sullivan Mine. You’ll then get to learn about life from an ex-miner while he demonstrates some of the equipment that was used in the Sullivan Mine. Afterwards, you’ll come back out of the mine and into daylight once again as you enter the Sullivan Mine Powerhouse for a guided tour featuring the huge compressors and generators that powered the mine.
You can then continue the experience and explore the Orpheum Theatre, the North Star Schoolhouse, the Miner’s Cabin and the Caboose as part of your adventure into history.
Ride a Bike to Cranbrook
If you like biking, you might want to try out the Northstar Rails to Trail Pathway, a 26-km paved trail that connects Kimberley to Cranbrook via an old railway. It’s a really easy pathway that offers lots of views and some history as well.
We actually did this in the opposite direction, renting e-bikes in Cranbrook, and travelling to Kimberley. If you’re in Kimberley, you can rent bikes from Blackdog Cycle & Ski and Bootleg Bike Co. before hitting the trail, which starts near the Aquatic Centre.
If you don’t like biking, you could always walk, jog, run or roller-blade as well! It’s also popular in the winter for cross-country skiing!
Visit the Marysville Waterfall
Located roughly 10 minutes from Kimberley is Marysville Falls & Eco Park, a beautiful place to go for a walk. This waterfall is beautiful in all seasons and is only a 10-minute walk from the parking lots. If you’re lucky and happen to be there are the right time, you might even see salmon in the river.
We visit during the spring, which is often a great time to see waterfalls due to all the rain and melting of the snow in the mountains. However, even in the winter, it’s a stunning waterfall to visit.
Wander the Cominco Gardens
Who doesn’t love bright colourful flowers? Just minutes from downtown Kimberley, the Cominco Gardens have more than 45,000 different types of flowers spread out amongst 5 acres of land. They’re a great place to go for a walk or enjoy a picnic, and to make it even better, the Cominco Gardens are free.
Go Golfing in the Mountains
The Kootenays are a popular place for golfing and Kimberley is no different. There are actually seven golf courses within a 25-minute drive, so whether you’re in town for a few days or an entire week, you can golf at a different course every day. One of the popular options is Trickle Creek Golf Course, a beautiful 18-hole course that’s carved out of the forest, on the slopes of North Star Mountain. Another option is the historic Purcell Golf Course. This challenging course has been in operation since 1924.
Even those who love mini-golf will love Kimberley as it’s home to the Kimberley BC Riverside Campground’s 18-hole Putting Course, a 23,000 square feet miniature course with ponds, streams, terraced rocks, sand traps, and more.
Walk the Kimberley Downtown Platzl
One of the things that makes Kimberely quite unique in the region is their pedestrian-friendly car-free downtown Platzl. This cobblestone area really feels like a slice out of Europe, and in a way, it was designed that way. Although they’re now shedding the image, the Platzl was originally designed to look Bavarian as a way to bring in tourists after the railway and sawmill closed. Some of this can still be seen in the buildings and some of the features, such as the Happy Hans Cuckoo Clock. Either way, it’s a beautiful place to spend an afternoon and you can do your own self-guided walking tour by picking up a map at the nearby Visitor Centre. Some of the stops include the Kimberely Heritage Museum, the Platzl Water Feature, and the Kimberley Veteran Memorial Park.
There are also a number of delicious restaurants in the Platzl. Some popular options include The Old Bauernhaus Restaurant, which serves authentic German food like schnitzel or spaetzle, and the Pedal and Tap, which was featured on the Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here! thanks to their seasonally-inspired local food and famous mucky fries.
Visit Kimberley Heritage Museum
As mentioned above, one of the places to visit in the Platzl is the Kimberley Heritage Museum. The museum shares a building with the Kimberley BC Library and holds over 10,000 artifacts and more than 11,000 photographs. It’s a great place to learn about the history of Kimberley and they also feature rotating exhibits throughout the year.
When it comes to the mountains, one of the most thrilling activities you can do is whitewater rafting. Rafting is such a fun and exciting way to explore some of the best scenery in the country. The water is cold but it’ll wake you up faster than a dozen red bulls.
Kootenay Raft Co. is located in Kimberley and they offer all sorts of adventures, ranging from class 3-4 whitewater rafting to kayak rafting and paddleboarding. We haven’t rafted in Kimberley yet, but we have rafted nearby in Golden and it’s one of the best things we’ve ever done!
Hike in the Kimberley Nature Park
With so much nature surrounding the town, it should come as no surprise that Kimberley is home to the largest municipal park in British Columbia. At over 840 hectares, plus the adjacent 200-acre Horse Barn Valley Interpretive Forest, there are a full 50 kilometres of trails for you to explore, including stunning viewpoints, old-growth cedars, and rugged mountain terrain and more.
The Kimberley Nature Park can be enjoyed throughout the year and is popular for hiking, running, snowshoeing, and skiing. There is detailed trail information available and there are plenty of posters throughout the park to educate users about the wildlife in the area.
Go Skiing in the Mountains
If you’re looking to shred some powder, look no further than Kimberley Alpine Resort, which is located in the Purcell Mountains. This resort offers 80 fun runs spread out over 1,800 acres of beautiful scenery and has ski-in-ski-out accommodation, which is always a huge plus when organizing a winter vacation.
Kimberley BC Alpine Resort also has North America’s largest gladed terrain and received an average snowfall of 13 feet, making it a great place for beginners and experts alike. However, if you’re looking for other winter activities, they also offer cross-country skiing, dog sledding, and snowshoeing!
This is also a great place to stay in Kimberley whether you’re skiing or not. During our visit, we stayed at Trickle Creek Lodge, which offers suite-style accommodation with a full kitchen, living room, balcony, and more.
Related Read: Looking for more beautiful mountain towns? Check out all the fun things to do in Fernie as well.
Enjoy a Kootenay Road Trip
Kimberley BC is sandwiched between some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, making it a great stop on a Kootenay BC road trip. Popular stops to include in your itinerary include Fernie, Cranbrook, St. Eugene Resort, the entire Columbia Valley, and more. You can do so many things in this region, including golfing, rafting, biking, hiking, kayaking, and more. You can also just soak in the many hot springs and enjoy pampering yourself at the many spas. There are also so many parks, including the spectacular Kootenay National Park. Continuing on, you could visit places like Golden and Lake Louise, or continue on to places like Vernon, Kelowna, and Kamloops. This really is one of the best places for a road trip full of beauty and adventure
Want More Travel in Canada?
As much as we love the Kootenay region of British Columbia, there’s so much more to British Columbia and the other provinces of Canada. For more tips and inspiration, check out these popular travel guides below: