Kimberley, BC Accommodations, Tours, Dining and WeatherKimberley BC, the 'Bavarian City of the Canadian Rockies', is a rapidly growing four season tourist destination that combines an old European flair with outstanding hospitality, exciting festivals, beautiful scenery and endless outdoor activities. Located in the Southeast corner of British Columbia, Kimberley is the highest city in Canada with an elevation of 1,110m (3,663 ft.) and is only 60 minutes from the Canada / US border. There are approximately 6,700 people living within the city limits with 10,000 in surrounding areas.
What used to be a mining town, Kimberley's economy now revolves around tourism. Kimberley's central point is the Bavarian Platzl. The Platzl displays charming Bavarian styled buildings featuring unique gift and specialty shops, fine restaurants, clothing and sports stores. The focus of this area leads to Canada's largest free standing Cuckoo Clock.
While there is a bit of hotel / motel accommodation in the Platzl, new developments at Kimberley Alpine Resort and Trickle Creek Golf Course have become popular tour with tourists. A number of alpine style lodges and vacation homes perched above the Kimberley townsite offer something special for every budget and occasion. Kimberley accomodations.
It's important to note that visitors looking for a vibrant nightlife should shy away from Kimberley and consider resort towns like Banff and Fernie for optimal activity after dawn. While there are a few good pubs and a number of very good restaurants, Kimberley is better suited for families or groups looking for quiet nights and active days.
Touring KimberleyKimberley is definitely "close to nature". The area boasts a large network of hiking and biking trails located within the city limits. The largest set of marked trails is the Kimberley Nature Park, which can be accessed from Higgins Street. Or, take the Buckhorn chair-lift up the mountain and access trails leading to the front and back side of Kimberley Alpine Resort. One of the closest trails to the Platzl will lead you to Cominco Gardens, where 48,000 flowers bloom each year on 5.6 acres of land. This area includes a Rose Garden, Wishing Well, Gazebo, Prairie garden and more. Another popular tour trail is the Rotary/Lions trail to Marysville falls. The falls are over 100 feet high and offer sensational photo opportunities.
While many come to experience the unspoiled wilderness, Kimberley has become one of Canada's top golfing destinations and visitors from around the world have taken notice. Offering a concentration of some of the best resort courses in the country, many of these courses have stood the test of time and have hosted numerous provincial and national championships. The newer courses in the Kimberley area are also superb and together, continue the tradition of high quality golf in the Columbia Valley. Some "must play" courses in the area include the highly-rated Trickle Creek Golf Course, Bootleg Gap, and St Eugene Mission. The Kimberley Golf Club and Cranbook Golf Course are older and more affordable alternatives but are definitely worthy of consideration. A little off the beaten path but worthy of including in a Kimberley golf vacation are Eagle Ranch and Copper Point in Invermere, Grey Wolf in Panorama, and Kokanee Springs Golf Resort to name a few. All of these courses are highly maintained and boast a view that is second to none.
Water sports are also popular tour in the area. From whitewater rafting on the St. Mary's river to windsurfing, canoe rentals, and the beaches at Wasa Lake, Kimberley offers excellent outdoor water recreation amidst world-class scenery. Cranbrook's Aqua Centre, complete with wave pool and water slide, provides fun for the whole family just a short drive away.
Dreaming about catching the big one? St. Mary's Lake is a 15-minute drive south of Kimberley, off highway 95A. The lake offers excellent fishing and fly-fishing (catch & release) and is available from the lake down (on St. Mary's River). If you're interested in learning about where are the fish come from, the Kootenay Trout Hatchery is located near Warner off highway 95/3, just east of Kimberley (a 50 minute drive). Approximately 2 million trout live at the Kootenay Trout Hatchery and these fish then stock 400 lakes in the area. The Hatchery is open year round and it is free of charge. A half-day is needed to see the entire center.
For excellent wildlife watching, hikers should explore the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy by entering the park through the St. Mary's Alpine Park. The Purcell Wilderness Conservancy contains high mountains, alpine lakes and grasslands. There is a significant population of elk, grizzly bears, mountain goats and mule deer.
For history buffs, the Fort Steele Heritage Town is located off highway 3/93 (just a 40 minute drive south east of Kimberley) and is very worthy of a visit. This 1800's town was a booming mining town and Northwest Mounted Police Fort. The town features over 60 shops, homes and display buildings. Living history actors entertain visitors on the streets and at the Wild Horse Theatre. Other attractions include a horse-drawn wagon and steam train ride. A full day is needed to see the entire town and enjoy the live performance at the theatre. This attraction is open year round; however, the theatre and street performances are seasonal.
Kimberley offers many wonderful winter activities for the entire family. The biggest attraction is Kimberley Alpine Resort, one of the Canadian Rockies most family friendly ski resorts. With over 2,400 feet of vertical, 1,800 acres of terrain and the longest run at 6.4 km (4 mi), Kimberley is very suitable for all level of skier. Aside from downhill skiing and snowboarding, there is much more to see and do in winter. Everything from cross-country skiing and snowshoeing to dogsledding and snowmobiling keep the shorter winter days full of action. Visitors can also enjoy skating (for free) on the North Star Pond located on the Resort's upper base. Need skates? Just rent a pair from the Rental Shop at the Resort.
Like many of the towns in the Canadian Rockies, Kimberley was formed due to the migration of the railway into the west and the search for mineral riches. Kimberley was named in 1896 after the famous South African diamond mine. The Sullivan Mine, formerly run by Cominco, was the world's largest lead & zinc mine, and had been in operation in Kimberley since 1917 employing approximately 675 people until its close in 2001. Kimberley was incorporated as a city in 1968, with the amalgamation of Chapman Camp and Marysville. Kimberley became the Bavarian City of the Canadian Rockies in the early 1970's, adopting a theme that related to the town being nestled beneath North Star Mountain with great downhill and cross-country skiing.
To learn a little of Kimberley's mining heritage and historical community events, visit Kimberley's Heritage Museum and the Sullivan Mine. Kimberley also boasts of a Close to Nature network of hiking and biking trails within the city limits. Be sure to ride the Bavarian City Mining Railway to enjoy a guided tour of the historic Cominco Power House, built in the early 1930s. For more background on the impact of the railway in the area, the Cranbrook Museum of Rail Travel located just off highway 3/95 in Cranbrook BC (just a 20 minute drive south of Kimberley) should not be missed. This attraction is open year round and features restored early century dining, sleeping and sitting cars.
Kimberley hosts many festivals through the year: Winterfest and Julyfest, Kimberley International Old Time Accordion Championships and the International Folkdance & Oktoberfest are the most notable. For a complete calendar of events, see our Events Page.
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