Over the past few years (and with the upgrade of Highway 1), Golden has become an increasingly popular destination to visit for Canadians and international travellers alike – and for good reason…

Golden is a beautiful mountain town located in the Rocky Mountain Trench near 6 national parks.

It is known for its incredible snow, beautiful mountains, logging and train history, as well as mountaineering and climbing. It’s no wonder why people love this place!

Given that it is such a small mountain town, it is extra important to think about the impact we have on the destination – and how to be a responsible traveller.

Tourism Golden (the local DMO) has done a great job at promoting their beautiful mountain town and creating lots of resources on how to visit Golden in a responsible way that respects both the land, the Indigenous Peoples, and the locals.

This makes it easy for people like you and us to be able to enjoy Golden without leaving a negative impact and taking away from the locals – while also adding to the value of the destination and supporting the local businesses and economy that keep Golden the way it is.

After spending some time in Golden and doing lots of research, we’ve put together this guide to help make it easier for you to make sustainable and responsible choices for your next visit to this amazing town tucked away in BC.

Golden, BC is an incredibly unique destination and one of the coolest places for outdoor and adventure lovers. We hope you’ll enjoy it and take as good care of it as the locals do!

Disclosure: This post has been created in collaboration with Tourism Golden. Everything in this post is based on our personal opinions and experiences. This post also contains affiliate links which means if you decide to use the links and make a valid purchase, we will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Responsible & Sustainable Tourism in Golden

In this post, we’ve highlighted some of the locally owned businesses & experiences as well as some of the hotels and accommodations in Golden that have made an effort to limit their negative impact.

We’ve also included some best practices on how to visit Golden responsibly and what you can do to make sure your visit will be a positive one both for you and the locals.

Since Golden is a small mountain town in BC, even small efforts on how you explore go a long way in helping the town keep up with the impact of the tourism they get year after year.

Of course, it’s on the local people, businesses, and DMO to do their part as well – and they’re already doing lots – but they can’t do it on their own.

It’s important that we, as visitors of their home, do our part as well to keep Golden the beautiful small mountain town that it is.

For more information on what the local DMO is doing, you can check out their resource library here.

Sustainable Hotels in Golden, BC

One of the easiest things you can do when it comes to travelling sustainably around Canada (and the rest of the world) is to find and book hotels and other places of accommodation that do their part to support the local town and the environment.

Thankfully, Golden is (for the most part) pretty aware and proactive when it comes to being sustainable – which in turn has made a lot of the accommodations aware of the importance as well.

From small family-run hotels to some of the bigger hotel brands, a lot of them have taken action steps to minimize their carbon footprint and reduce, reuse, and recycle where they can.

It’s not about being perfect from the beginning but learning as we go, taking actions based on the information we have, and putting our money where our mouths are. That’s all anyone can really ask for.

Below you will find 3 hotels that we recommend if you’re looking for responsible and sustainable hotels in Golden.

These aren’t the only hotels that have taken some sustainable initiatives and are giving back to the local community but these are our best suggestions.

Depending on what type of adventure you’re looking for in Golden you’ll be able to find the perfect hotel to stay at for your visit.

Rooms at Riveredge Golden

Stunning view of a bridge downtown Golden, BC.

💰 Price: $190-220 CAD per night
📍 Location: Downtown Golden, BC
⭐️ User rating: 10
🌿 Sustainability? Family-owned and run (for generations)
👉🏼 Check out Rooms at Riveredge prices & availability here

We stayed at Rooms at Riveredge for 4 nights right in downtown Golden (literally by the Riveredge) and it was great!

You’re right in the heart of Golden and a short walk away from all the cafes and some of the best restaurants in Golden – and your private riverfront patio opens up to the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in the distance!

This hotel is great if staying in Golden for a few nights and want to explore the area and hike up the mountains nearby.

Rooms at Riveredge is family-run and has been in the same family for multiple generations!

The rooms are spacious and beautifully decorated, and there’s a yummy breakfast and lunch cafe connected to it right next door run by the same owners.

Location-wise you can’t beat this spot! If there’s room available during our next visit to Golden we’ll be booking the Rooms at Riveredge again, no doubt!

Check out the Rooms at Riveredge in Golden, BC here.

DAYS INN by Wyndham Golden

Outdoor patio view from the Days Inn by Wyndham in Golden, BC.
PC: Days Inn

💰 Price: $150-220 CAD per night
📍 Location: 5-minute drive to downtown Golden, BC
⭐️ User rating: 7.6
🌿 Sustainability? N/A
👉🏼 Check out Days Inn by Wyndham Golden prices & availability here

If you’re looking for a more traditional hotel in Golden, BC then Days Inn by Wyndham is the place you’re going to want to stay.

This hotel is located just east of Golden, roughly 5 minutes from downtown Golden, and it offers a stunning view overlooking Golden and the mountain range surrounding this town. 

The rooms at the Wyndham are great and have all the typical amenities you’d expect at a good hotel. 

From fitness facilities to a yummy breakfast buffet you’ll have everything you need here at the hotel. 

There are also plenty of walking trails nearby. Plus you’re close to the famous Golden Skybridge (Canada’s highest suspension bridge) which is worth the visit if you’re up for a bit of an adventure.

Days Inn by Wyndham is a great place to stay during your trip to Golden!

Check out the DAYS INN in Golden, BC here.

Basecamp Lodge Golden, BC

Stunning view of Basecamp Lodge during the winter months in Golden, BC.
PC: Basecamp

💰 Price: Starting at $130 CAD per night
📍 Location: 2-minute drive to downtown Golden, BC
⭐️ User rating: 8.2/10
🌿 Sustainability? Reforestation Projects (250.000 trees🌲)
👉🏼 Check out Basecamp prices & availability here

Basecamp is an awesome lodge to stay at just on the outskirts of town located next to the river on the north side of Golden.

This lodge is a great place to stay if you plan to explore Golden and the surrounding area!

It has a beautiful view of the mountains and it’s already on the way to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort (where you can meet Boo the Bear).

Inside the hotel, you’ll find a cozy fireplace where you can snuggle up with a book after a day of skiing or hiking (Terminator Peak is an awesome hike). 

Check out Basecamp in Golden, BC here.

Sustainable experiences in Golden, BC

As we’ve mentioned before, Golden is an outdoor lover’s paradise!

There are a ton of different types of tours or outdoor activities you can do in Golden from epic white-water rafting trips to mountain biking at Kicking Horse Mountain. 

On top of that, there are lots of local shops you can visit, cafes in Golden to try out, and a weekly farmer’s market, so there’s always something going on in Golden.

As you might know, sustainability goes beyond just greenhouse emissions and saying no to plastic – it also means being responsible, putting your money where your mouth is, and supporting local and family-run businesses (this is something we really try to do).

Since Golden is quite a small town, this is rather easy to do as most tour operators and companies are family-run and/or locally owned which is great.

It makes it fun to support the local businesses because you pretty much know where the money is going. and that it’ll be supporting local families instead of big corporations

Rent bikes from a local shop

If you’re into mountain biking, Golden may become one of your new favourite places!

There are over 150 km of single-track cross-country trails near Golden spread out between three different areas.

The difficulty levels range from beginners (green) to advanced (double black diamond) so there’s something for everyone.

If you’re like us and don’t travel around with your mountain bike your best option is to rent one from one of the shops in town (which is a good way to support locals too).

Derailed Sports is right in town and has an awesome bike shop where you can rent bikes, get repairs done, and buy bike clothes!

You can find more information about mountain biking in Golden on the Golden Cycling Club website including trails and grooming reports.

Lastly, you can also find tons of info about mountain biking in Golden on Mountain Biking BC’s website here

Explore the Columbia Wetlands

The Columbia Wetlands is a bit of a hidden gem near Golden. Honestly, we don’t think a lot of people know about this but it’s a must-visit if you love nature.

At the wetlands, you can go on a self-guided paddle adventure through the Columbia Wetlands Outpost. You can rent either kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, or pedal boats!

At the outpost, you can also play disc golf or walk around the corn maze.

We rented canoes and went on a self-guided tour of the wetlands on one of the routes that a local guide recommended to us.

Everything around the wetlands is so beautiful and peaceful and it’s a great place to spot wildlife.

We saw a ton of different birds including a few eagles (that we think were Bald Eagles). The guide also told us that he had seen 7 black bears (!) down by the wetlands a few days before we went there!

The nature here is incredible and it’s crazy how something like this is so close to Golden yet so many tourists will never find it.

So if you get the chance and want to do something unique, check out the wetlands. It’s a beautiful area right next to Golden that’s worth exploring!

You can learn more about the Columbia Wetland Outpost here and their environmental policies here.

Visit Boo the Bear

Boo the grizzly bear waiting to be fed by the park rangers.
Boo the grizzly bear hanging out in his habitat!

You might’ve heard about Boo the Bear before but in case you haven’t, let’s give you a quick introduction…

Boo the Bear is the local resident at the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden. Boo is a rescue bear who’s been living at the resort almost his entire life.

His story is pretty tragic as sadly his mom was poached back when Boo and his two siblings were too young to take care of themselves.

The story of Boo and what the people at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort have done for him (and other bears around the world) is quite remarkable!

We went on the ranger assist program and got to see Boo in his environment and it was absolutely incredible.

It’s a great way to see a grizzly bear safely out in nature while also learning about and debunking a lot of myths we think we know about bears.

In our opinion, this is one of the coolest experiences you can do in Golden!

Also read: Meet Boo the Bear at the Kicking Horse Grizzly Bear Refuge

Go rafting down the Kicking Horse River

Another awesome outdoor activity you can do here in Golden is to go rafting down the Kicking Horse River!

White water rafting is such a fun adrenaline-packed activity, and Golden has a wide variety of different rafting experiences for all levels.

There are a few great local companies in town like Glacier Raft Company and Wild Water Adventures (based in Alberta).

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Explore the local farmer’s market

Every Wednesday from mid-June through the end of September, Golden has a local farmer’s market at the Spirit Square, right by the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge.

At the Golden Farmer’s Market, you can find fresh fruit and vegetables, homemade tea, and artisan products, learn about the local wildlife and how to be bear-aware, and grab a yummy lunch from the food truck!

If you’re in Golden on a Wednesday during summer, make sure you stop by the market! It always starts at 10 am and finishes at 3 pm.

The farmer’s market also runs once a month on Saturdays during winter at Mount 7 Rec Plex. You can find the full schedule here.

Other things we can do to travel more sustainably

Golden is awesome because it already has quite a few initiatives in place to help travellers be more sustainable.

You can see it on Tourism Golden’s website but you will also notice it when you go into the local businesses and shops. The people in this town truly care.

Some of these practices are simple practices that most of us already do but in the long run, they go a long way in preserving the places we love, including small mountain towns like Golden.

As more and more people visit these towns and national parks it becomes increasingly important to be conscious of the footprint we leave.

It’s something they’re genuinely trying to do and not just as a “we are sustainable” marketing tactic. Again, it’s just one of the many reasons why Golden is a special place.

Respecting everything local 

Golden is a small mountain town and that means it doesn’t have the infrastructure that a big city has.

That means it’s a good idea to plan ahead before your visit and bring some of the things you know you need for your stay – because it’s not everything you can find here.

At the same time, it also means supporting local businesses and going to the local farmers market instead of only supporting big corporations.

It is these small shops and the local people who run them that make Golden the way it is.

You can check out this article from Tourism Golden on respecting everything local as you travel here! 

Responsible camping

Camping is a very popular summer activity here in Golden and rightfully so because the nature around here is beautiful (did we mention that Golden is surrounded by 6 national parks?)!

The bad thing about camping is that it can leave quite a negative impact on the environment when people don’t take responsibility and clean up after themselves.

Thankfully, the majority of people are smart and know how to camp and understand that it’s our job as recreationists to leave the campsite the way we found it.

This guide from Tourism Golden is great for understanding how to camp responsibly.

It includes a list of things to bring, an overview of what responsible recreation is, and other valuable information that comes in handy when camping near Golden. 

Responsible hiking

Since hiking is one of our favourite activities (and since it’s a popular outdoor activity to do in Golden) we only thought it was fitting to include it in this post as well.

We consider ourselves responsible hikers but there are definitely some things we’ve learnt over the years that we didn’t know when we first started out – for example that you aren’t supposed to throw an apple core in nature even though it’s degradable.

But as we’ve gained more experience, we’ve learnt more about responsible hiking and now we always follow the 7 principles of leave no trace.

Another thing we didn’t know when we first started hiking is that it is important to hike on designated trails as those are the ones that are being maintained to handle the crowds.

It’s simple things like this that make a difference and help preserve these beautiful places.

Tourism Golden has put together this guide to responsible hiking that you can give a quick read before you head out on your next hike!

Also read: Hiking the Epic Terminator Peak – Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Respect the environment and leave no trace

When hiking in Golden (or anywhere else for that matter), please always be respectful of the environment and don’t leave anything behind.

When you go hiking (and do other outdoor adventure activities), it’s best always to remember to follow the 7 principles of leaving no trace.

This means:

  • Plan ahead and prepare
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  • Dispose of waste properly
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimize campfire impacts
  • Respect wildlife
  • Be considerate of others

Please be respectful of the local land on which Golden is located which is the territories of the Ktunaxa People, the Secwepemc Nation, and the Metis Nation. You can learn more about the Indigenous Peoples here.

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Recap of exploring Golden in a sustainable way

Stunning picture of the Golden Skybridge.
The famous Golden Skybridge

We hope this post has given you some valuable insights into how you can visit Golden in a responsible and sustainable way and that it’s also given you some inspiration for what you can do in this beautiful mountain town in BC. 

As you can see, it doesn’t take a lot to be a more conscious traveller and it can actually be quite easy to make sustainable choices while you travel.

Thankfully lots of businesses and travel websites where we book stays and tours are slowly starting to show what initiatives they take to be more eco-friendly while encouraging us all to do the same.

We aren’t claiming to be experts in this area but it is something we truly care about as we love travelling (so much that we’ve turned it into our profession). That’s why we share the knowledge that we do have and we keep learning as we grow.

We hope you have an amazing time exploring one of Canada’s best small towns – Golden, BC!

If you have any questions about visiting Golden or anywhere else in British Columbia or Alberta, feel free to leave a comment below or DM us on Instagram.

Golden is an incredible place and we’re so happy you’re planning to visit this beautiful part of Canada!

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