Visit this small pulp milling town along the Kootenay River before swimming, hiking and boating in the surrounding provincial parks.
Skookumchuck means “strong water” in the Chinook language, a reference to the large rapids on the Kootenay River, where it is joined by the Lussier and Skookumchuck rivers. Skookumchuck is a small pulp milling town in British Columbia, not to be confused with the unrelated sights of Skookumchuck Narrows, River, Creek, Hot Springs and Rapids.
The Skookumchuck prairies were settled when grants of land were handed out to early European loggers and farmers at the end of the 19th century. Today, still very few people call Skookumchuck home. From here, you can explore the natural wonders of the rest of the East Kootenay region
Premier Lake Provincial Park, just to the east, is flanked by the Canadian Rockies. Hike to the park’s emerald green lakes and go fishing or spot birds such as ospreys, herons, eagles, fowl and king fishers.
Enjoy the views of the Rocky Mountains from the Tilley Memorial Park north of Skookumchuck and try windsurfing or go boating on Columbia Lake.
To the east, discover the archeological treasures within Top of the World Provincial Park, the traditional home of the Upper Kootenay First Nation people. Look for alpine flowers on the plateau and spot the birds around Fish Lake.
Drive south to the TaTa Creek area. In Wasa Lake Provincial Park, hike or bike along an easy lakeside trail or go swimming and camping in summer. Follow a self-guided interpretation trail to learn about the park’s unique ecosystem of wheatgrass and ponderosa pines.
Visit Fort Steele to step back in time to the days of the gold rush. Now a national heritage site, the town preserves its late 19th-century buildings and steam train for all to enjoy.
Skookumchuck is located directly south of Columbia Lake, along the Kootenay Highway, some 34 miles (54 kilometers) north of Cranbrook. The biggest nearby airport is in Calgary to the northeast.
To get to Skookumchuck, you’ll be driving into the Rocky Mountain Trench, a unique geological setting. Bears, badgers, deer and birds of prey roam this part of the Kootenays, so keep your binoculars and camera handy at all times.