Within a Four-Hour Drive

Looking for something different to do this summer? Something a bit out of the ordinary? You don’t have to look far. We have a variety of summer adventures and options available in our area that are not available anywhere else in the world.

We live in the middle of a World Heritage Site named the Crown of the Continent that covers 10 million acres of BC, Alberta and Montana. The Columbia, Saskatchewan and Missouri Rivers begin here high up in our mountains and drain into the Pacific Ocean, Hudson Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The Crown, extending from south of Calgary to Missoula, Montana is full of streams, rivers and lakes that make it perfect for hiking, biking and camping. A drive around the Crown is full of spectacular scenery, history and recreation. Plan your own trip as a circular drive that could be anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

A day historic drive is just east of us with stops at Frank Slide Interpretive Centre in Blairmore, Lundbreck Falls, Fort MacLeod to see the RCMP Musical Parade and Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo Jump Interpretive Centre, heading back southwest to Waterton National Park to have afternoon High Tea at the Prince Edward Hotel before wandering around the townsite. This is a packed itinerary with a very tight schedule if you are up to it.  

To the west is the 450 km International Selkirk Loop, North America’s only multi-national scenic drive and one of only 32 National Scenic Drives in the USA. Our nearest entry point is Creston and up Kootenay Lake but stop at the Kootenay-Columbia wildlife centre first which is a great spot for a picnic and to watch birds in the marshy area. This is the flyway for thousands of birds during their migrations.

Along the loop you will find charming towns like Kaslo and New Denver with historical backgrounds that are joined by unbelievable scenic byways surrounded by nature. Most of the loop follows rivers and lakes and are in National Forests and Provincial Parks. There are interesting stops along the way with many side trips to explore. Just north of Ainsworth Hot Springs is the Cody Caves Provincial Park with just under a kilometre of trails through caverns full of calcite structures of stalactites, stalagmites, ribbons, and draperies.

Farragut State Park in northern Idaho does not allow vehicles in the mossy tenting area nestled in among the towering Ponderosa Pines. It is magical in the evening to see dozens of colourful tents scattered through the trees with the lights on. Close by is Silverwood Theme Park full of all types of amusement rides including a Lazy River water feature.

Just a few miles away is the beautiful harbour town of Bayview. The colourful marina on Lake Pend Oreille is full of sailboats making for a picturesque scene as you come down the hill to the town site. The lake is so deep, the US Navy used it to train submariners in World War II. 

It is a scenic lake that has breathtaking views either on the water or driving around the lake. Rent a boat for the day and cruise around. For sport cars and motorcycle enthusiasts, the road around the lake is full of great windy roads. I would count on spending at least three or four nights in the area. Plan at least a week to explore the International Selkirk Loop. 

There are so many interesting things within a four-hour drive from here that it literally would take years to see and do all that is offered. For more extensive details of these driving trips browse my website - budgetslowtravel.com.