When we think of Golden, we are almost immediately drawn to the mountains.
And, getting out into those mountains is important for pretty much everyone who lives here. But, if you’re looking for a leisurely activity on top of a mountain that doesn’t take any physical endurance, the gondola at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort will get you there.
Heading up, it is nice to see the resort get smaller and smaller. You will travel over the grizzly bear enclosure, and secretly hope the gondola will stop high above Boo, the resident bear, so you can get a longer look. If you’re lucky, like I was last week, he may have a giant animal carcass he is preparing for his next big meal. The temperature begins to drop as you ascend the mountain, taking the edge off the heat of summer.
From the top, you will bask in the glorious views of the surrounding mountain ranges. From one side, you can look down at the town of Golden and take in just how humble our town is. From another angle, you can see right down the valley, with a winding river taking shape in between the ranges.
Once you’ve disembarked from the gondola, there are a few options. If you’re feeling active, and you’re wearing good shoes, there are multiple trails and hikes to choose from. You can even hike back down to the bottom if you have the energy and time. Last summer, I took a walk with my mom to the top of Terminator 2 peak. It’s a fairly easy walk, and it was nice to enjoy the scenery and the crisp breeze. If you’ve worked up an appetite, the Eagle’s Eye Restaurant offers a small but mighty food and cocktail menu to choose from. Entering the restaurant, there are washrooms conveniently located near the entrance, and you don’t have to be a patron to use them.
Heading in for a meal, the remarkable building greets you with high ceilings and a sturdy log cabin atmosphere. The higher class dining room features tables alongside endless windows to enjoy the views from indoors, or patio tables and chairs outside on the edge of the mountain top, surrounded by the great outdoors.
The mix of people at the top of Kicking Horse shows the great range of all the activities available. Mountain bikers, hikers, sight seers, and employees all bustle around to their destinations. Everyone seems to have a different agenda for the day, but they are all there for the same reason: enjoying what Golden has to offer from its most accessible mountain peak. It is also one of the most luxurious places to host a wedding, and each summer is packed with couples getting hitched at the top of the mountain. Sometime, if you hear booming off in the distance while you’re in town, look up and you might get to see a grand display of fireworks celebrating a newlywed’s nuptials.
Of course, there are other mountains in the area that enthusiasts travel to on a regular basis, but nothing beats the ease of access at Kicking Horse. Anyone looking for an adventure can wrangle the horse, whether it is for a short lunch or cocktail at the top of the mountain, enjoying many of the events and activities hosted up there, hiking, biking, or sight seeing.