Established in 1810 as a trading post, this is a thriving tourist centre and a great place to stop and enjoy the hot summer months. Nestled in the valley between the Rocky and Purcell Mountain ranges just outside Kootenay National Park, and situated along the sandy shores of Windermere Lake, this community offers a full spectrum of outdoor activities to visitors.
Swim or windsurf in the morning, hike the trails in the afternoon or simply relax on the beach and enjoy the breathtaking mountain scenery.
Location: Invermere is located at the northern end of Windermere Lake on Highway 93/95 in the Kootenay River Valley, 12 miles (19 km) south of Radium Hot Springs and 12 miles (19 km) north of Fairmont Hot Springs.
Enjoy a hands-on look at the history of the Windermere Valley and its settlers at the Valley Pioneer Museum. On display are extensive archival materials, a large historic photograph collection, mining cabins and heritage buildings, and even a dug-out canoe made by an early Shuswap Indian.
Shops, cafés, museums, art and cultural centres round out the attractions. Invermere is a rather unique town in a delightfully unique area.
Throughout the year Invermere also offers a variety of fascinating events, including the ever-popular Wings Over the Rockies Bird Festival and the annual Fall Fair held here each September.
Golf: The Invermere area offers superb golf courses in spectacular settings: Eagle Ranch Golf Resort is a spectacular 18-hole championship course in Invermere. The prestigious par-71, 6,400-yard Eagle Ranch has been skillfully sculpted from a meandering network of rolling canyons and elevated bluffs, winding around ravines, with panoramic views and lush greens, where golf and nature coexist in perfect harmony. Nearby golf courses includes Spur Valley Greens and Radium Hot Springs Resort (Radium Course and Springs Course) in Radium Hot Springs, Greywolf at Panorama Resort, Windermere Valley Golf Course in Windermere, and the 2 courses at Fairmont Hot Springs; Riverside Golf Resort and Mountainside Golf Course. There’s something special about the 2 Fairmont courses. Maybe it’s the terrific vistas of the Columbia Valley that challenge you to focus on the view instead of the ball? Golf Vacations in British Columbia.
Skiing: Due to its remote location in the Toby Creek Valley of the Purcell Mountains, Panorama Mountain Ski Resort is more of a mountain retreat, comfortably able to handle 7,000 day-skiers – only 3,000 skiers and boarders show up on a busy day. Panorama has all the trappings of a tremendous destination resort: walk-to-lifts accommodation, high-speed quad chairlifts, 4,300 vertical feet (1,320 m) of skiing, and even several outdoor hot tubs located right at the base of the lifts for soaking your weary bones after a day on the slopes.
Skiers looking to improve their form need go no farther than Panorama’s famous ski school. There’s also great cross-country skiing on a network of 19 miles (30 km) of trails that winds its way through the woods at the base of the mountain. Panorama Ski Resort is located 11 miles (17 km) west of Invermere on Toby Creek Road, and 20 miles (32 km) north of Fairmont Hot Springs. Invermere and Fairmont Hot Springs are well located to provide accommodation for Panorama Ski Resort.
Snowmobilers should head to the logging roads of Forster Creek, northwest of Invermere, or west on the Toby Creek Road to Panorama and Jumbo Creek.
Windsurfing can be an especially elevating experience when it takes place between the towering peaks of the Rockies and the serrated ridges of the Purcells. Windermere Lake is the place to go for this serene activity. Launch from the wide, sandy beach in James Chabot Provincial Park in Invermere where strong winds arise with regularity on summer afternoons. Nearby at Canal Flats Provincial Park to the south of Invermere, windsurfers can breeze along on Columbia Lake, getting a head start on the same waters that eventually flow through the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, one of the preeminent windsurfing spots on the continent.
Fishing: Windermere Lake in Invermere has good trout fishing. You’ll find a boat launch at James Chabot Provincial Park.
Biking: For an easy, scenic ride, West Side Road is perfect. It’s more than 16 miles (26 km) of paved road running along the west side of Windermere Lake. The road starts just north of Columbia Lake on Hwy 93/95, just south of Fairmont Hot Springs, and heads north to Invermere. Take Toby Creek Road west out of Invermere to explore the Panorama Resort trails.
Whitewater rafting is one of the most popular guided adventure vacations in the BC Rockies. You’ll find extreme waterways in beautiful wilderness settings, offering stomach-churning thrills. Of course, many rivers run slower, allowing you a more leisurely experience. To experience the power of this whitewater, contact one of the local operators.
Beach: The broad sandy beach fronting Windermere Lake at James Chabot Provincial Park, 2 miles (3 km) west of Hwy 93 at Invermere, attracts travellers searching for a pleasant, landscaped environment.
Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park is a favourite destination for anglers. Campsites are spread out among four locations in the park, primarily at Alces Lake Campground, Packrat Point Campground, and Inlet Creek Campground, all easily accessed from the Whiteswan Forest Road. More sites are located at Homebasin Campground, reached via the Moscow Creek Forest Road, which branches away from Whiteswan Forest Road at the northwest corner of Whiteswan Lake. To reach the park, go south from Canal Flats on Hwy 93/95 and go east on Whiteswan Forest Road for about 12 miles (20 km) east.
Camping is also available at Dry Gulch Provincial Park, just north of Invermere on Hwy 93. Dry Gulch is frequently used as an overflow campground for the popular Kootenay National Park nearby.
Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Park is in a class of its own. Early in this century, Earl Grey, then Governor-General of Canada, crossed the Purcell Mountains from Invermere in the Columbia Valley to Argenta on Kootenay Lake. His route followed a trail up Toby Creek and down Hamill Creek over a 7,401-foot (2257 m) pass. This route, later named the Earl Grey Pass Trail, had already been well defined by the Shuswap Indians. Despite Grey’s urging to set aside this magnificently scenic area as a park, not much was done until the 1970s, when the area was designated as a roadless tract in which the natural environment would remain undisturbed by any development. Consequently, there’s no road access, and all forms of mechanized access are prohibited, including helicopters. Over 85 miles (137 km) of hiking trails, challenging mountaineering, horse riding, and winter recreation await backpackers in the five biogeoclimactic zones spread throughout this central portion of the Purcell Mountains. Access the park via the Toby Creek Trail from Invermere.
Kootenay National Park blankets almost 350,000 acres (140,600 hectares) north of Fairmont Hot Springs. Its lands were ceded to the federal government from British Columbia in 1919. In return, the federal government built the Banff-Windermere Road (Hwy 93) – the first motor road through the Canadian Rockies. Situated on the west side of the Continental Divide, Kootenay National Park extends across the valleys of the Vermilion and Kootenay Rivers, touches on the Rocky Mountain Trench at Radium Hot Springs (north of Fairmont), and straddles the Main and Western Ranges of the Rockies. Some of these peaks rise to 11,000 feet (3355 m). The park features three major campgrounds: Redstreak Campground, McLeod Meadows Campground and Marble Canyon Campground, with a total of over 400 campsites. Kootenay National Park also offers fabulous backpacking and great hiking trails, including the Floe Lake/Hawke Creek Trail and the Stanley Glacier Trail.
Circle Tours: See the best of the area on the Okanagan and Kootenay Rockies Circle Tour or the Kootenay Rockies Hot Springs Circle Tour. Travel the sunny interior of British Columbia, north through the Okanagan to Sicamous, following Highway 1 into the mountains of the BC Rockies. From Golden, head south through the Columbia Valley to Creston, and west through Boundary Country and the Southern Okanagan to complete the loop. Circle Tours in British Columbia.