Kimberley is a picturesque community with a European vibe in the heart of BC's mountains.
This four-season mountain destination offers something for every outdoor enthusiast no matter what time of year. In winter and spring, it’s all about the powder-covered slopes and expansive snowy backcountry—sandwiched between East Kootenay’s Purcell Mountains and BC's Rocky Mountain Range, the skiing is world-class. The main pedestrian streets of the downtown core have a flavour of a European alpine village and are often bustling with arts festivals and community celebrations. As the months warm up, the Kootenay and St. Mary rivers reveal plenty of salmon and trout waiting to be caught, and white-capped rapids waiting to be rafted.
Directly bordering the town, this 840-hectare nature park was shaped by glaciers millions of years ago and is BC's largest municipal park. With over 50 kilometers of nature trails (punctuated by interpretive plaques) to explore year-round, the diverse landscape is dotted with trickling streams, frog-filled ponds, and crystal-clear lakes. Imagine snowshoeing up to a Rocky-Mountain lookout, skiing across a frozen lake, or hiking across a meadow of wildflowers under ancient cedars—all of this happens here.
For nearly 85 years Kimberley was home to the world’s largest lead-zinc mine, the Sullivan Mine. After it shut down in 2001, the town transformed the underground rail line into a 230-meter-long interpretive experience, spearheading the community’s transition into a tourism and recreation destination. Above ground, hop on a train and take in scenic views of Mark Creek valley, and below ground, learn about the town’s mining history and how it shaped this neck of the woods.
High up in the Rocky Mountain region, this aptly named park provides stellar vistas of the glacier-capped Kootenays Ranges. The Top of the World Plateau sits above the 2,200-meter mark, affording clear sight lines to the Hughes Range to the west and Van Nostrand Range to the east, with its imposing Mount Morro peak. Backcountry camping is open year-round with ice fishing and cross-country skiing in winter, and hiking and cycling in summer.
While in the continental climate zone, Kimberley is protected from strong arctic fronts by the surrounding mountain ranges. They shelter the town from extreme cold but also create a rain shadow, which ups yearly precipitation—that means that even in the dry months (July and August), there will be rainy days. In December and January, the temperature dips down to -12°C, so if you want milder temperatures for camping, aim for the June-September window.