Top 10 Things to Do in Valemount & Area

Here's just one person's opinion of how to spend a day or two in and around the charming village of Valemount, British Columbia. If you're familiar with the area and would like to make a suggestion for this list, go to the Comments page to provide your feedback.


#1: Picnic Beside Swift Creek

George Hicks Regional Park is located alongside Valemount's Visitor Centre on Highway 5. This is where you'll find Swift Creek, the annual spawning ground for the massive Chinook salmon. Ample parking and picnic tables are located here for your convenience. Come by in the mid to late August timeframe if you want to see the salmon run. During this annual event, Visitor Centre guides are available along the banks of the creek to provide information and answer any questions you might have about the fascinating life cycle of the Chinook.


#2: Take a Birdwatching Nature Hike

If you're arriving from the south, make this your first stop. The 600 acre R.W. Starrat Wildlife Sanctuary can be accessed from behind the Best Western Hotel at the south end of Valemount. In the marshes, you may spot various waterfowl, beavers and maybe even the odd moose. Wooden platforms are situated at various spots so that you can climb up to get that perfect photo of Canoe Mountain. The entire route takes about an hour and a half to complete (or faster if you choose to enjoy it via bicycle).


#3: Watch the Trains Go By

Drive across the tracks to the charming Swiss Bakery, under new management in 2010. Order yourself a coffee and a tasty pastry or two and then sit outside to watch the trains pass by. The vast majority are cargo trains, but if you're lucky enough to be in town on the right summer Sunday, you can catch a glimpse of the luxurious Rocky Mountaineer (in the morning) and the Via Canadian (in the afternoon), both passenger trains.


#4: Visit the Valemount Museum

As long as you're on the other side of the tracks, head on over to the Valemount Museum. A "toonie" (two dollars) gets you inside for some Valemount history... you can't beat that deal. There's even a CN Rail caboose car outside for you to explore. The spacious grounds also offer a good place for kids to run around and let off some steam if needed.


#5: Beat the Heat with an Ice Cream Cone

The P&V's Convenience Store (where the Co-op gas station is located) sells generous-sized soft ice cream cones laced throughout with your choice of yummy flavours like butter pecan, banana ripple, and even root beer! Just the thing to chill out a hot summer afternoon. Sit outside while you enjoy your cone and see how many other people you can entice to do the same. The store also sells hot food to go if you're anxious to head back on the road. But why rush? There's a lot more to see and do here.


#6: Stop for a Home Style Pizza

Looking for good pizza? A quick jaunt down 5th Avenue brings you to Pepe's Pizza & Restaurant, where you can sample some of the best home made style pizza you'll ever taste at very reasonable prices. If you've been on the road for a while and need a fix, don't pass this up. You can even grab one or two to go if the kiddies are anxious to play in the park across the street. (And if you're not a pizza person but still need sustenance, try the Great Escape for excellent burgers or the Caribou Grill for great steak and seafood. You can find each establishment at opposite ends of 5th Avenue.)


#7: Fish at Kinbasket Lake

Or not. You might just want to admire and experience the spectacular scenery here. Kinbasket is actually a large reservoir stretching from Valemount all the way down to the Golden area, with water levels that vary depending on time of year. Try your luck for bull trout, kokanee and rainbows. Be sure to get a fishing license first; log on to to get one online. To get to the lake, drive about five minutes south along Highway 5 until you see a small nondescript sign for Kinbasket Lake. Take your next left and follow a small road eastbound. It eventually turns into a gravel road with markers. Various side access roads will get you to the shoreline if you want to just explore on foot. (You'll have to go all the way to the marina - which is about 23 kms in - if you want to launch a boat.)


#8: Hike or Ski at Jackman Flats

Just a 10 km drive north of Valemount is Jackman Flats Provincial Park, a great place to enjoy a nature walk, or a cross-country ski if you're here during the winter months. It's a unique area that is built mostly on sand, resulting in rare species of plant growth. Animals and birds are commonly spotted throughout the park. Whether hiking or skiing, users are encouraged to stay on the main trails to avoid disrupting the ecosystem. (Day use picnic areas are available.)


#9: Head out on an ATV Adventure

If you've brought along your own quad, you don't have to go far to have fun. Park yourself in any pullout on Highway 5 close to the village and you can immediately access the ATV trails that run along the side of the highway. You can go all the way to Tete Jaune Cache and back. It's a relatively easy ride with sandy slopes and dips that will give a good workout while providing you with memorable views from the highest points. If you need a machine or want to get off the beaten path with a guided experience, check out the local services.


#10: Get up Close to Rearguard Falls

If you're coming to Valemount via the Yellowhead Highway from Jasper, stop at Rearguard Falls Provincial Park on your way into the village. (It's about 24 km away.) The walk down to the falls is fairly easy going and not too steep; if you're a fast walker, you should end up at the lookout area in about five minutes. This typically marks the end of the road for the Chinook salmon during their annual run, although those that make it to this point will make valiant attempts to jump the falls. Rearguard Falls is also worth the effort to visit in the winter, as you'll see some interesting ice formations when the water freezes over. (And if waterfalls are your thing, drive a few minutes further east on the Yellowhead and you'll come across Overlander Falls.) 


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