Terminator Peak on Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is one of those hikes that will leave you absolutely speechless.
From the second you get on the trail after riding the gondola up the mountain to the moment you’re up on that peak overlooking Golden you will be blown away by the views.
The view from the top of Terminator Peak has to be one of (if not the) best views overlooking the town of Golden! The full panoramic view is out of this world!
The fact you can see Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, and Kootenay National Park is incredible! (on a clear day of course).
There are a ton of beautiful hikes near Golden but if you plan to visit the Grizzly Bear Interpretive Centre, have lunch at the Eagle Eye Restaurant, or just explore the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort then Terminator Peak is the perfect short and sweet hike to add to the day full of activities!
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What you need to know about hiking Terminator Peak near Golden
In this post, we dive into everything you need to know before hiking to Terminator Peak and enjoying the day at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.
We will go over how to get to the trailhead (taking the gondola), what you can expect, and share some awesome photos of the view from the top of the mountain!
We also share some information about the Grizzly Bear Interpretive Centre, the Eagle Eye Restaurant at the top of the gondola, and how you can add this hike to your full-day itinerary up on the resort.
The hike itself isn’t that long and only takes 1-2 hours so it’s worth adding a few other things to do up on the mountain while you’re here!
There’s also the option to hike to some other peaks once you’ve hiked up Terminator Peak. You can always see how you feel after the hike and decide from there.
It really is a short and sweet (but challenging) hike that offers up some pretty incredible views of the area.
Practical information about Terminator Peak in Golden
Distance: Roughly 1.5 km return / 0.95 miles return
Elevation: 75 m / 250 ft. elevation gain
Type: In-and-out trail
Length: 1 hour return (1.5 hours if you take lots of photos)
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
(Please note that this trail map shows both Terminator Peak and Terminator 2 Peak. In this post we’re talking about Terminator Peak).
Here’s a picture of the beginning of the Terminator Peak hike
We want to acknowledge that the Terminator Peak hike is on the traditional territory of The Ktunaxa People, Secwepemc Shuswap Nations, and Metis Nation.
Starting the hike next to Eagle’s Eye Restaurant
Before we get into the details of the hike, if you have the time and don’t pack a lunch we recommend eating at Eagle’s Eye Restaurant (the highest restaurant in Canada) before or after the hike.
We went to the Grizzly Bear Interpretive Centre in the morning and then rode the gondola up to the trailhead. At this point we were getting hungry so we had lunch at Eagle’s Eye before starting the hike up to Terminator Peak!
Unless you want to hike all day, you will need to ride the gondola up the mountain resort to do this hike. You might be better off using your energy to visit one of the other peaks as well instead!
Anyways… Once you’re at the top of the gondola and next to Eagle’s Eye you’ll be able to see the trail quite clearly. You can even see Terminator Peak which you’re hiking to to get one of the best views overlooking Golden!
The best part is, the trailhead is literally right in front of the restaurant so either when you get off the gondola or when you leave the restaurant you’re right on the trail and ready to smash out this peak!
Hiking Tip: Look up the trail on AllTrails before starting your hike 🗺️. You can find important trail information such as recent wildlife sights and trail closures. Check out the free version here or get a 7-day free trial of AllTrails Pro here.
Along the ridge to the Terminator Peak ascent
As you hike along the ridge, you’ll be able to tell, that there used to be an old trail that led to the base of Terminator Peak where you start the ascent.
Now, the majority of the hike takes place on the Terminator Ridge which takes you to Terminator Peak 1 and 2. This post is just about Peak #1 since we didn’t have time to make it to Peak #2 (the last gondola went down at 4 pm that day).
The ridge is beautiful to walk on as you get a stunning panoramic view of Golden, the mountains, and up to 5 national parks on a clear day.
We got lucky and had the perfect weather which just made this hike and experience even more epic!
The whole time on the ridge you’re above 2000 meters and you can really feel it in your lungs. This is why the hike takes longer than expected because the oxygen up here is just a bit thinner!
Continue until you see the sign for Terminator Peak
The ridge section of this hike isn’t that long unless you also hike to the second peak!
Speaking of the ridge, it’s super safe to walk on and super wide as you can see in the photos. It’s not some tiny narrow ridge so there’s nothing to worry about there…
There is a ton of loose rock along the ridge though so wearing proper footwear and bringing your hiking poles is probably a good idea!
As you continue to walk along the loose rocks you’ll see a sign and a trail that starts to lead up a mountain!
As you get closer you’ll see a few stairs made of rock set up nicely. That’s the start of the ascent up towards Terminator Peak.
As you make your way up the stairs and ascent to the peak you’ll see that the view only gets better and better!
The last stretch up to Terminator Peak
This last stretch is the most challenging part of the hike!
Thankfully it’s not that long (maybe 20 minutes) but if you’re afraid of heights you might not enjoy this section too much.
On this last ascent, there is a small stretch with some steep drops. There’s a short section where it gets a little narrow with a ledge on the other side but there is a rope you can hold on to.
While this section can feel scary to some, we still found it relatively safe. Jo is afraid of heights and she still managed to get through this so that says something.
As long as you go carefully and take your time you should be fine.
It really is fine but we do want to warn you if you don’t like heights so you come prepared! If anything, you can still take in the epic views from wherever you’re comfortable.
You’ll see there’s a part of a Via Ferrata near the Terminator Peak trail.
So when you are hiking up just make sure you stay on the right trail as the Via Ferrata is a paid activity at the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort – and it won’t take you to the peak.
The trail to the top of Terminator is quite obvious though so it’s easy to stay on the right path. It starts on the rocks and will very briefly take you through some trees as well.
Don’t forget to look back every time you need a breather. The views from up there are absolutely stunning!
The fact that you start the hike already above 2000 meters and only go higher just shows the sheer elevation of where you’re at.
Every step you take you’ll feel it. At this altitude, you definitely move a little bit slower than you do down in Golden.
Soon enough you’ll see the peak and from there you’ll get that magical panoramic view we were talking about!
Take in the view from the top of Terminator Peak
Looking back at our trip to Golden, standing on top of Terminator Peak was one of the highlights of our trip. We hope you get to experience this same feeling.
We’ve done a ton of hikes in Kananaskis and Banff in Alberta and a lot in Revelstoke, BC as well so we have a fair bit of experience in the mountains. But this view from the top of Terminator Peak was one of the best views we’ve ever seen.
On a clear day, you get a 360-degree view of all the mountains around you which includes 5 Canadian national parks.
We’re so fortunate to have these incredible mountains around us and it’s a pretty unreal feeling being up above them!
If you bring some snacks or lunch for the hike, this is the place to enjoy them if it’s not windy.
There’s plenty of room up at the peak to sit down and enjoy some food while taking in the awesome view of the mountains.
Back down from Terminator Peak
After you’ve taken it all in, you’ve seen Golden from above, and you’ve enjoyed some of that fresh mountain air from the top of Terminator Peak, you have a few decisions to make…
Depending on what time it is of course you can either hike up to Terminator Peak #2 or go enjoy a delicious meal at Eagle’s Eye Restaurant.
You’ll also have to take into consideration what time the last gondola goes down (you can check the hours here).
If you hike early enough in the day you may even have time for peak #2 and a yummy meal or drink at the restaurant after!
We’ve never done the second peak but we can imagine it’s just as beautiful as the first.
We have been to the restaurant though and it was a cool experience. After, you can say you dined at Canada’s highest-elevated restaurant!
So once you’ve reached the peak, if you decide to go to the restaurant or back to the gondola, you simply just follow the trail back where you came from.
That’s the full in-and-out trail for Terminator Peak. It’s short and a little challenging, but very rewarding!
It’s 100% a highlight for anyone coming to Golden who loves the outdoors and wants to see these vast mountains!
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What to bring on the Terminator Peak hike
The nice thing about Terminator Peak is that you’re not far from things since you’re at the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Whether you need coffee, food, or assistance there are always people relatively nearby.
At the end of the day, though, it’s still a proper hike in the mountains and good hiking shoes and proper equipment is recommended.
We have a list of things you can bring if you want/need! This hiking packing list may also be helpful if you plan to hike other trails around Golden or anywhere else in Canada.
Packing list for Terminator Peak
- Water! We always fill up our LifeStraw bottles before hikes or day trips and even during them when we can. You can fill these up at Eagle’s Eye Restaurant as well if you go there.
- Sunscreen! Please pack sunscreen for this hike. You will be completely exposed for the whole hike along the ridge and at the summit of Terminator Peak.
- A power bank is nice to bring because you don’t want to run out of battery while hiking in the mountains. Golden is basically right there but it’s still nice to have a charged phone just in case you need it for pictures, directions, etc!
- Bring some snacks or lunch to enjoy during the hike. It’s a nice way to enjoy the views overlooking Golden while you’re hanging out at the summit.
- Hiking poles are great to have on this hike! There’s a decent amount of elevation so having your hiking poles with you is a good idea.
You can check out this great list of hiking gear to get some more inspiration!
The best affordable camera for beginners
If you’re looking for the best and most affordable camera for beginners, check out the Sony Alpha a6000 Camera.
This is the camera we’ve been using for years and still use to this day.
It’s perfect for travelling and super easy to use – even if you’re a beginner.
Before you hike Terminator Peak
Check the weather
As a rule of thumb, you should always check the weather before you go hiking.
It’s always good to be prepared even though the weather is pretty consistent during the summer months in Golden.
Even though summer is the busiest time to visit Golden it’s probably the best time to hike in the mountains here at the resort.
The weather is fantastic during the summer in Golden, and with long days you have what feels like endless sunlight to go out and enjoy the mountains.
Wear hiking shoes
We always recommend wearing hiking shoes or trail shoes on almost every outdoor adventure we do.
This trail in particular has lots of loose rocks up until the ascent to the peak. As you hike to the peak where it gets more steep, hiking shoes will also come in handy!
If you don’t have any hiking shoes, we highly recommend the Newton Ridge hiking shoes from Columbia. Jo just got these shoes recently and she loves them!
Leave no trace
When you go hiking (and do other outdoor adventure activities), always remember to follow the 7 principles of leaving no trace.
- 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.
When is the best time to hike Terminator Peak?
Late spring through early fall is the best to hike Terminator Peak. There’s a chance if you come too early or too late into the season there can be snow up on the mountain!
Also, the Kicking Horse Gondola doesn’t run all year. It usually runs from the spring through the end of September and then it is closed in October and November. It reopens for the ski season in winter from December through April and then it is closed until the summer season starts.
In terms of the time of day, it’s a good idea to do the hike earlier in the day because the last gondola leaves sometime in the afternoon (at 4 pm when we went).
So for this hike, you’re kind of dependent on the gondola unless you want to spend multiple hours hiking down the mountain. (Which can be fun too!)
But since the peak is at 2400 meters the weather is probably going to be the most important factor when you do this hike.
We’d personally wait for a nice sunny day to go. If the weather isn’t great there are plenty of other great things to do in Golden like checking out the Northern Lights Wolf Centre or checking out the local coffee shops in town!
However, keep in mind that, because of the elevation, there can be cloud inversions here. When we went, the mountain looked super cloudy from down in Golden but when we took the gondola up, all the clouds were down below!
You can check out the mountain webcams here to confirm what the conditions are up on the mountain!
How to get to the Terminator Peak trailhead
To get to the Terminator Peak Trailhead you first have to get to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.
It’s a short 15-minute drive from Golden to the resort unless you get stuck at the train crossing!
We got so unlucky and had to wait about 10 minutes (both ways) for the train to pass, which it does a few times a day. Golden is a huge hub for freight trains and CPR Rail train yards so trains come by quite often – but that’s just part of the fun.
Once you pass the train track it’s a smooth drive to the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.
It’s actually an absolutely stunning drive and, as you gain some elevation, you start to see more and more of the valley and surrounding mountains.
Once you’re at the resort you have two options!
Option 1: The fun and long way
Once you park your car at the bottom of the resort you can hike up all the way to the trailhead.
With almost 1000 meters of elevation gain and 10 km uphill you can make it to the top of the gondola.
There isn’t really a name for the trail since you basically hike up a bunch of ski slopes but you can follow the trail on Alltrails here.
There are plenty of markings and it’s relatively easy to follow!
Option 2: The quick and easy way
The second option is quick and easy but costs a few dollars! You can either buy a gondola pass online or you can purchase it in person at the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.
We personally recommend this option since it saves you a bunch of time and energy.
It’s an extra $50 per person but it’s money well spent. And you might be able to spot Boo the Grizzly refugee from above. Keep an eye out between posts 7 and 9!
Of course, if you have all day and want to get out and explore the mountain it can be super fun to hike up. But if you only have a few hours it might be best to pay for the gondola.
Other related questions about hiking at Kicking Horse
How long is the gondola ride at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort?
From bottom to top, the gondola at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort takes roughly 17-18 minutes.
What is the closest town to Kicking Horse?
The nearest town to Kicking Horse is Golden, BC which is just at the foothills of the mountain and roughly a 15-20 minute drive from the resort.
What is the highest-elevation restaurant in Canada?
Eagle’s Eye takes the prize as Canada’s highest-elevation restaurant. Located on the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort this restaurant is situated at an elevation of 7,700 ft (2346m).
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Recap of hiking up to Terminator Peak in Golden
As you can see, we absolutely loved this hike! It’s by far one of the best views we’ve seen on any hike in Canada. The fact that this trail is situated on a mountain resort and easily accessible by the gondola made it even cooler.
Kicking Horse in itself is a beautiful place to visit. There are tons of activities to do such as the Grizzly Bear Interpretive Centre, Via Ferrata, mountain biking, and (of course) hiking!
If we had more time we definitely would have spent more time up here! If you love the outdoors and want a place to do outdoor activities this is the place.
Terminator Peak is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to peaks to bag up here in the mountains.
We hope you have an awesome time on this incredible hike near Golden and hopefully, the weather turns out to be as good as it was for us!
If you have any questions about this hike, Kicking Horse, or Golden, feel free to reach out. Leave a comment below or send us a DM on Instagram and we’ll get right back to you.
Enjoy Terminator Peak and everything else you get up to in this mountain resort!