The Kootenay Rockies Diamond Tour takes in dramatic views of the Rocky Mountains, crosses two major river systems, the St. Mary and the Kootenay, and traverses the ancient grasslands of the Columbia Valley. We'll begin this tour in the City of Cranbrook, the area's commercial centre, but you may begin or end the tour anywhere along the route. This route can be travelled in one day but you may like to stay a while at the various locations to enjoy the wonderful attractions and activities a bit longer. This area has a great selection of accommodation properties from lakeside camping to luxury resorts to backcountry lodges. The route highlights the cities of Cranbrook and Kimberley, Wasa Lake Provincial Park and Fort Steele Heritage Town.
Starting Milemarker or Town
Points of Interest and Highlights along the Drive
Cranbrook offers the Cranbrook History Centre, which celebrates the golden age of passenger rail travel with its collection of luxurious antique railcars and the Grand Café of the Royal Alexandra Hotel. The centrepiece of the train displays is the restored complete set of the TransCanada Limited, a million dollar train set built in 1929. Take a self-guided walking tour of the city's Baker Hill where elegant Victorian homes constructed for the railroad elite, line quiet streets. Cranbrook is also home to the Key City Theatre.
From Cranbrook, travel northeast on Highway 95 and follow the signs to Fort Steele Heritage Town; an approximate 15 km (9 mi) distance. Take yourself on a journey back through the pioneering history of the Kootenay Rockies at this completely reconstructed frontier town. Have a light lunch at the newly constructed lunch counter located in the Visitor Reception area or enjoy something more substantial at the International Hotel Restaurant. Don’t miss the popular rollicking and foot stomping musical variety and comedy shows staged in the Wild Horse Theatre during the summer. Hop aboard for a ride on an old steam train to a scenic viewpoint or catch a horse-drawn wagon tour down Main Street and around town.
Wasa Lake Provincial Park is a short distance further north on Highway 93/95. You'll enjoy the beaches of one of the warmest recreational lakes in the province. The 8 km (5 mi) paved Lions Way path, loops the lake, and is a wonderful outing - suitable for hikers, bikers or visitors in wheelchairs.
Shake the sand out of your shoes and continue on Highway 93/95 to the junction of Highway 95A where you will head south to Kimberley; a quaint alpine city 24 km (15 mi) away. Kimberley offers a variety of unique experiences. Enjoy one of the many music, art, theatre and festival venues offered in the summer. 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. Wander through the picturesque Platzl, the hub of Kimberley’s shopping, dining and social experience.
On your way back to Cranbrook, a short 28 km (17mi) from Kimberley, you might like to try your luck at the Casino of the Rockies or play a round of golf at the spectacular St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino located between the two cities.
The Kootenay Rockies Diamond Tour is a driving route along Highways 93/95 and 95A. The driving tour forms a diamond shape as you travel to the cities of Cranbrook, Kimberley, to Wasa Lake Provincial Park and to the historic Fort Steele Heritage Town. The tour can begin and end at any of the communities and can also be travelled in any direction. Total travel distance is approximately 100 km (62 miles).
Paved All-Season Highway