mountain running

Getting to Golden

While Golden, in itself, has a lifetime worth of adventure and fun, there are also some great neighbouring towns that are worth a visit if you've got some extra time on your way to the Golden Ultra.

The closest airport is in Calgary, Alberta (YYC). The drive from Calgary to Golden takes just less than 3 hours, unless you take some extra time to enjoy the beautiful mountains along the way.

As you leave Calgary heading west on the TransCanada Highway watch for the beautiful Rocky Mountains in the distance.  This is a classic view and you can't help but get excited about your trip when you see them peaking above the hills and plains.

Views of the mountains from just west of Calgary.

Views of the mountains from just west of Calgary.

As you enter the mountains you'll appreciate why they're called the Rockies.  Sheer cliffs and rocky mountain tops are everywhere!  Canmore is the first major town you'll pass through, right on the border of Banff National Park.  

The Banff National Park gates can be confusing and, as such, a bit of a traffic jam.  If you don't want to stop in the park at all (drive right through to Golden) stay in the far right lane and you will bypass the gates.  If you want to check out Banff and Lake Louise on your way through, stay left and purchase a park pass at one of the kiosks.  They're good value and you only need to purchase the day pass.

Banff is the first town inside the Park Gates.  If you've never been, it's worth a stop.  Parking in the Town of Banff is nearly impossible to find so it's normally best to take the second exit (Mt. Norquay exit) and park in the parking lot on your left, just across the rail tracks.  From there you can walk into the town in less than 5 minutes.

Some notable things to do in Banff include:

  • Ride the gondola up Sulphur Mountain (or hike up!)
  • Visit the upper Hot Springs for a warm soak.
  • Walk around the Banff Springs Hotel and golf course.  There are some great, flatter trails in that area for an easy run.
  • Cruise the shops on Banff Avenue.

Banff National Park, in general, has lots of amazing sights and trails.  As you drive through you can extend your driving time a little bit with a few side trips:

  • Lake Minnewanka
  • Highway 1A (Bow Valley Parkway) which runs parallel to the TransCanada from Banff to Lake Louise.
  • Castle Mountain and Storm Mountain
Castle Mountain on a moody day. 

Castle Mountain on a moody day. 

The next town you arrive at is Lake Louise.  This is a must-stop town.  Drive up to Lake Louise (the actual lake, not the ski hill... they're on opposite sides of the valley) and snap some pictures.  It is worth it.  There are also some delicious places to eat in Lake Louise, Laggan's Bakery, Trailhead Cafe or any of the great restaurants including the Post Hotel and Chateau Lake Louise. Runners have to keep fuelled right?!

The road from Lake Louise onward narrows and you soon arrive in Field.  Field is almost more exciting than Lake Louise - visit Takakaw Falls and Emerald Lake.  Both are about 20 minutes off the highway, but totally worth looking at.  There are also classic running and hiking trails at both areas.  Burgess Pass hike, right from the Town of Field, is beautiful with the most amazing views at the high point.

Views from the trails around Emerald Lake

Views from the trails around Emerald Lake

Once you leave Field you're only 60 km from Golden.  Enjoy this bit.  The speed limit is low so relax and enjoy the mountains.  The final 15 km into Golden are pretty spectacular with a giant bridge over the Kicking Horse River and a spectacular canyon leading right into the town. 

Check out Tourism Golden's website for a comprehensive list of the best things to do Golden. From a local coffee roaster, tasty restaurants and cafes, sports stores and clothing shops, to a new local brewery in the next 12 months, Golden has it all (without even touching on the sports and outdoor adventures)... !

On the Way Feature Town: Kimberley, BC

(c) Tourism Kimberley

(c) Tourism Kimberley

If you’re driving north to Golden via Highway 95, there is no better run-stop than Kimberley, BC.  Approximately half way between Spokane and Golden, Kimberley is a short detour into a historic mountain paradise.

Kimberley’s trail highlights include Lois Creek, the Kimberley Nordic Centre and the Kimberley Nature Park, all accessible from the beautiful downtown Platzl.  The Lois Creek trails have a perfect, well-signed 10 km loop, known as a the Tea Spot loop.  From the Nature Park you can access the 25 km Round the Mountain course that is part of the spring running event. 

Kimberley’s trail information and map links are all located on this convenient web page.

The other great reason to stop in Kimberley is the cutest downtown core you’ve ever seen.  If you don’t have time to hit the trails you must at least walk through the pedestrian only main street (Platzl) and take in some of the fantastic coffee shops, restaurants and shops.  Don’t forget to save a couple coins to see "Happy Hands" sing and dance.

The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC from September 18-20, 2015.  Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately.  

Golden Ultra Announces Photography Team

The Golden Ultra is offering all participants the opportunity to pre-purchase epic mountain running photos of themselves by some of the west's best photographers. 

"The trails and views of Golden are simply unparalleled and we want to give participants the chance to have great photography to commemorate the event.  Our goal is to have photos of runners that they want to print, frame and hang on their walls."

Golden Ultra event photographers will include:

Dave Best:  Dave has been the preferred photographer of Tourism Golden for many years and has captured stills of the top events in Golden, including the Mt. 7 Psychosis and SingleTrack 6.

(c) Dave Best - Terminator Ridge as seen on Day 2 of the Golden Ultra.

(c) Dave Best - Terminator Ridge as seen on Day 2 of the Golden Ultra.

Darcy Monchak:  Darcy specializes in wildlife and landscape photography but has dabbled very successfully in event photography, including the Canadian Masters cross country ski championships and the Canadian Eco-challenge championships.

(c) Darcy Monchak - Adventure racers in the challenging DogTooth Range.

(c) Darcy Monchak - Adventure racers in the challenging DogTooth Range.

Bruno Long: Bruno is regularly featured in mountain bike and ski publications and it’s no surprise why when you see his creativity and ability.   Bruno is a trail runner himself and stoked to capture the runners and scenery of the Golden Ultra.

(c) Bruno Long - Because we all love winter, too.

(c) Bruno Long - Because we all love winter, too.

The photography package can be purchased for $20 as part of the online registration or at race package pick-up.  Runners will be guaranteed a minimum of two photos of themselves on course and will receive one digital file for personal use.

The Golden Ultra photography team will be on course with their long lenses all three days of the event.  They’ll use their intimate knowledge of the area to ensure the photography captures the most spectacular areas, so don’t forget to smile on the steep climbs... because they’re really photogenic!

The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC from September 18-20, 2015.  Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or as part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately.

Tourism Golden Unveils Extensive Event Program for 2015

Tourism Golden has long been a mountain events destination and is unveiling one of the strongest annual programs yet.  In addition to the Golden Ultra, Golden will host the Canadian Ski Mountaineering Championships, the Golden Mountain Festival and Totally Spoked.

“We’re proud to have the resources available to host many great events,” said Tourism Golden Manager, Joanne Sweeting.  “It’s really impressive to see the energy and passion that the community puts into developing trails, welcoming visitors, and hosting events.”

The Canadian Ski Mountaineering Championships will be hosted at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort on January 24, 2015 and will feature top Canadian and International athletes.

The May long weekend brings the second annual Golden Mountain Festival to town.  The 2015 theme is “Adventurers of Yesterday and Today” and three days of activities will showcase the adventurers, the stories and the town. 

Totally Spoked is a summer cycling festival that strings together a number of cycling events including the Western Open downhill mountain biking event and a stop on the BC Enduro tour.  Golden has long had a reputation as a top mountain biking destination and these events are a culmination of that effort.

September brings the first Golden Ultra to town.  The Golden Ultra is Golden’s first major trail running event and will bring new visitors to the town during a time when the tourists are less plentiful, but the trails are still in great condition. 

The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC from September 18-20, 2015.  Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or on a relay team, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately.

Elite Runners Encouraged to Apply for Golden Ultra Scholarships

Golden's Dogtooth Range in winter.

Golden's Dogtooth Range in winter.

The Golden Ultra, the newest trail-running stage race in Canada, is encouraging elite runners to apply for its scholarship program.  The scholarship program will provide race entry, meals and accommodation, and a travel bursary to five top runners from around the world.

“We really want to attract top runners to the Golden Ultra in its inaugural year to get them talking about the fantastic trails we have in Golden, BC.  Golden has long been recognized as a fantastic whitewater rafting, mountain biking and skiing destination, so we’re trying to build out the running and trail culture this year," said Tourism Golden manager, Joanne Sweeting.

Runners interested in receiving a scholarship to attend the Golden Ultra must apply before January 31, 2015.  More details on the program and how to apply are available at www.goldenultra.com.

The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC from September 18-20, 2015.  Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately.

Two Stages of Golden Ultra Named Part of Skyrunner® Series Canada

(Golden, BC) One of the newest ultramarathon events in Canada now has another reason for participation.  The Golden Ultra will be part of the 2015 Skyrunner® Series Canada, a national event series that recognizes off-road running events that include both significant distance and vertical ascent.

Skyrunning was introduced in Canada in 2014 and nine events were on the national calendar, including four in British Columbia.  In 2015 approximately 15 Skyrunning events will be hosted across Canada.  The Golden Ultra will host both a vertical kilometre event and a SkyUltra event.

To be recognized as a vertical kilometre an event must be a maximum of 5 km in distance with an elevation gain of at least 1000 m.  The route planned for Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, the first stage of the Golden Ultra dubbed “The Blood”, meets this criteria. 

The second stage of the Golden Ultra, nicknamed “The Sweat,” will exceed the minimum distance of 50 km and elevation gain of 2500 m to qualify as a SkyUltra.  This stage will start in the Town of Golden and climb to the summit of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort before descending again to Golden.  The course features the beautiful views into the Canyon Creek drainage and the incomparable Terminator Ridge.

The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC from September 18-20, 2015.  Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately.

For more information on the Golden Ultra, please visit www.goldenultra.com

For more information on Skyrunner® Series Canada visit www.skyrunning.ca