The highest city in Canada, at 1,120 metres, Kimberley is the classic mining town of the Rockies region. Named in 1896 after the famous South African diamond mine, Kimberley was incorporated as a city in 1968 and became the Bavarian City of the Rockies in the early 1970’s.
Nearby North Star Mountain attracts more skiers each year, and visitors will be charmed by the “Old Bavaria” feel of the downtown shopping area. There are plenty of cafés and boutiques for urbanites, and hiking, camping and two golf courses for those who prefer the great outdoors.
A charming collection of Bavarian styled buildings, cafes and shops surround The Platzl pedestrian mall, the downtown centre’s focal point. During summer, European music is broadcast from the bandstand, supported by a wandering minstrel accordionist.
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The Bavarian City of the Rockies has an endless summer of festivals, music, art, and theatre. Kimberley’s International Old Time Accordion Championship is held here in early July, so bring your lederhosen!
JulyFest is another long-running event that has traditionally been held each year during the third weekend in July. It’s a family fun fair with a parade, KidsFest at the Platzl and the Canadian Bocce Championships.
Take a ride on Kimberley’s Underground Mining Railway through switchbacks, a tunnel, and sharp curves as it winds its way through the steep walled narrow valley of Mark Creek. The authentic mining railway tour links the downtown with the old Sullivan Mine and Kimberley Alpine Resort. Experience life as a miner at the Underground Interpretive Centre; explore the Orpheum Theatre, the North Star School House, the Miner’s Cabin, the Powerhouse, and the Caboose, all part of the historic and informative tour.
Local history is the main theme of the Kimberley Heritage Museum, which also records the history of the Cominco Mining Industry, sports displays and old mining equipment adjacent to the Bavarian Railway.
Canada’s largest free standing operating cuckoo clock lives here, and is home to Kimberley’s mascot, Happy Hans. Every hour on the hour, Happy Hans greets visitors and locals in The Platzl with his Bavarian yodel.
Stroll through Cominco Gardens, where 45,000 flowers burst into bloom each year around the Victorian Gazebo, Memorial Rose Garden and Prairie Garden.
St. Mary’s Alpine Provincial Park is a rugged alpine area, located south of Kimberly. Experienced and properly equipped hikers will be rewarded with outstanding scenery – alpine lakes, icefields, creeks and waterfalls.
Golf: Kimberley offers three golf courses nestled between the Rocky and Purcell Mountain ranges: Kimberley Golf Club winds through towering ponderosa pines high above the St. Mary’s River, offering manicured fairways, flawless greens, and stunning mountain views from tee to green (18 holes, par 71, 5,540 to 6,251 yards). Trickle Creek Golf Resort is a thrilling course to play, as it weaves through the rugged alpine environment, crossing creeks and diving with the slopes of North Star Mountain (18 holes, 5,082 to 6,896 yards). Bootleg Gap Golf Course is a 27-hole public golf facility located off Highway 95A in South Kimberley (18-hole championship par 72, and 9-hole par 34). Neighbouring courses in Cranbrook include Cranbrook Golf Club, St. Eugene Mission Golf Resort, Shadow Mountain and Wildstone Golf Course. Golf Vacations in British Columbia.
Skiing: Whether you’re looking for night skiing, recently groomed runs, mogols, tree skiing, a half-pipe or an untouched fresh powder run, Kimberley Alpine Ski Resort has it all. Located 2.5 miles (4 km) from the centre of town, the resort’s challenging runs and friendly local ambience draw skiers and snowboarders of all abilities.
In nearby Marysville, stroll down the Mark Creek nature trail leading to the beautiful 100 foot high Marysville Waterfalls, a delightful photo spot waiting for a visitor to happen.
Take a side trip to Wasa Lake, one of the best recreational lakes in the East Kootenays, and one of the warmest in the province. It’s a big hit with families, as the sandy beaches and warm water are perfect for swimming, kayaking or canoeing. Other area lakes include Lazy Lake, Horseshoe Lake, Norbury Lake, St. Mary’s Lake and many more. The varied terrain of the B.C. Rockies region of British Columbia accommodates every outdoor recreation known to man.
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.