This is a special pet friendly section created just because we all love our four-footed family members. We often hear from people planning to bring their pets with them when they visit the Columbia Valley. They say, “We want them to be safe and have fun too. What do we need to know?”
Here you will find information about animal by-laws, pet-friendly accommodations, places where dogs can run free and swim, boarding kennels, daycares, dog groomers, where to buy pet food and who to call in case of an emergency.
All dogs must be licensed and it would be a good idea to add a contact number where you can be reached if yours becomes lost. If your dog doesn’t have a license, please get him one before you leave home. You can find out about licensing in the District of Invermere here.
Dogs are NOT allowed in any parks or on beaches in Invermere (even if leashed). The District of Invermere has strictly-enforced bylaws in place, with fines of $50 at Kinsmen Park to $100 at James Chabot Park for dogs found in these areas.
Do NOT leave your dog in a locked car while you are enjoying your day at the beach or browsing in the shops downtown. While it may be a comfortable temperature of 70F (21C) outside, your dog will be battling for his life in a sealed car that is 100F (38C)! One would think this would only be common sense; however, in a conversation with Invermere Dog Control Officer, Mark Topliff, we learned that just about every weekend during the summer, he finds at least a half dozen family pets locked in vehicles while their owners are enjoying themselves elsewhere.
If you are planning a day at the beach in Invermere or another family activity, please leave your dog behind. He’ll be much safer and happier at home where it’s cool.
Hiking with your dog on a forest or mountain trail can be a great outdoor adventure for both of you. Please be aware that Kootenay National Park and all the provincial parks are pet friendly, although your dog must be leashed at all times.
After your hike, examine your dog closely for ticks (check yourself as well) as they can easily hide in the hair of the animal. Read about ticks in the Columbia Valley here.
None of the smaller communities in the Columbia Valley has an official off-leash area where your dog can run free. Each community, however, has a good pet friendly spot where he can exercise off-leash or perhaps splash in the water, provided you clean up after him.
Invermere’s Dog Control officer, Mark Topliff, says that dogs are welcome to swim in Dorothy Lake, which is the small body of water on the north side of Pynelogs Cultural Centre at Kinsmen Park. You can park your vehicle in the Kinsmen Beach parking lot or if that is full, there is more parking available at the tennis courts and ball diamond on 4th Ave. Then, with the dog on a leash, walk along the path to the dock at Dorothy Lake.
Radium Hot Springs
The Radium Hot Springs Village Office suggests that the very best off-leash area with water to splash and swim in is the Sinclair Creek Trail.
Sinclair Creek Trail
The Sinclair Creek Trail is about 2 km in length, with an entrance and kiosk at each end. The closest entrance and kiosk is at the trail head near the Radium Rotary Park across from the Best Western Prestige Inn. There is street parking adjacent to the park, and all along the main frontage road.
There is also a parking area at the other end of the trail. To access it, turn west at the flashing red light (the intersection where Hwy 93 meets Hwy 95) onto Forsters Landing Road. Follow the road to the bottom of the hill and make a sharp right turn at the mill. You will see the parking lot at the trail-head kiosk.
Fairmont Hot Springs
Pet owners have several options to choose from in Fairmont Hot Springs.
You can turn west off the highway onto Wills Road and follow it to the end. There are a couple of large green open areas. The northeast corner, by the river, is where rafters end their float trips. Note: The water is very deep (strong undercurrent) at this point and not a good place to let your dog swim.
Spruce Grove Frontage Road by the Bridge
Another choice is to turn east at Spruce Grove (one turn past the fire hall), make an immediate left onto Spruce Grove Frontage Road alongside of the highway, then continue on to the small parking area by the River next to the bridge.
Columbia Lake Provincial Park
Turn east at the fire hall (Fairmont Creek Road) and turn right onto Columbia River Road. The road becomes a dirt road and goes down a hill. You will come to the Columbia Lake Provincial Park sign. Keep going for about 10 minutes. You will see an unmarked right turn. Follow that down and you will end up at a small parking area about 50 feet from the water.
Dogs are NOT permitted on the beach at Tilley Memorial Park. The best spot to exercise your pet is by the bridge at the Kootenay River.
The Bridge by the RV Park
Turn off Hwy 95 at the gas station by the Kootenay RV Park and Campground. Turn left and follow the frontage road past the gas station right down to the river by the bridge.
Here are a couple of great spots in the City of Kimberley where your dog is welcome to explore off-leash.
Kimberley Nature Park
The 1800-acre Kimberley Nature Park is one of the largest inner city parks in Canada, featuring several dozen multi-use trails linking small ponds over the area. Dogs need not be leashed in the park as long as they are non-aggressive. Aggressive animals must be muzzled. You can find more information and an excellent trail map at: http://kimberleynaturepark.ca.
Mark Creek Trail
Mark Creek Trail runs from Kimberley to Marysville along the Mark Creek with lots of spots for pets to splash in the water.The trail is easy to follow with plenty of signage. You can access it at:
- Beale Avenue
- Marsden Street
- Black Bear corner
The town of Golden has a pretty laid-back attitude toward pets and aside from the downtown core, there are no established rules about leashing your dog.
Many people take their dogs to run and play in the water at Confluence Park, where the Columbia and the Kicking Horse Rivers come together. The park is located at the Golden Municipal Airport on Fisher Road.
If you are feeling like an easy hike, there is a 1 km trail which runs along the eastern edge of the Columbia River from the park.
Note: Just a reminder that the current in the river is strong enough to possibly endanger your pet. You allow him in the water at your own risk.
Another Note: During extreme high water on the Columbia, there may be parts of the trail which become inaccessible. Here’s how to get there:
- From the lights in Golden, turn west on 9th At the dead end, turn right onto 5th Avenue and drive about 5 blocks to Fisher Road. Turn left, cross the railroad tracks and park at the north end of the runway. There is also a concrete vault toilet at the trailhead.
If you want to take your dog hiking, camping or fishing in the back-country, the forestry areas all over the East Kootenay are great places for adventures. These areas are managed by the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resources Operations. Their great website with an abundance of information for you to explore can be found here.
Basically, as long as your dog is well-behaved and quiet, he is welcome to explore these areas off-leash. You will be wise not to let him get too far away from you, though, because of the plentiful wildlife.
Note: Exceptions are national and provincial parks where dogs must be leashed unless otherwise posted.
Contacts - Pet ServicesHere is a handy go-to list of services your pet might need while you and he are enjoying your vacation in the valley. You'll find dog walkers, groomers, daycares and contact numbers for animal rescue societies, veterinary services and dog by-law officers.
Stay - Pet BoardingYour much-loved four-footed family member deserves to enjoy his stay in the Columbia Valley too. The accommodations listed here either mention on their websites that they are pet friendly or when contacted, have said they have special rooms or cabins for guests with pets. In all cases, it is recommended that you phone ahead to request a reservation.
|Rocky Mountain Pet Resort & Spa||Edgewater||250-347-9911|
|Shannonbrook Boarding Kennels||Windermere||250-342-6188|
|Unleashed Pet Care Services||Radium||250-347-9933|
|PET FRIENDLY ACCOMMODATIONS|
|Crystal Springs Motel||Radium||250-347-9759|
|Radium Park Lodge||Radium||250-347-9582|
|Rocky Mountain Springs Lodge||Radium||250-347-9548|
|Best Western Invermere Inn||Invermere||250-342-9246|
|Best Western Prestige Inn||Radium||250-347-2300|
|Fairmont Hot Springs Resort||Fairmont||250-345-6070|
|Copper Point Resort||Invermere||250-341-4000|
In this section, you will find Columbia Valley shops that specialize not only in quality food for your pet, but also dog beds, grooming products, special treats and maybe a new toy to keep him happy.