Adventure through the Ktunaxa Hoodoos

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Golfing, biking, hiking or taking a scenic trip, the Hoodoos of #KtunaxaHomelands create a spectacular landscape to adventure and appreciate.

Enormous sculptures protrude from the earth, subtly shifting with the wind and the water, over time. It’s a dance that’s gone on for centuries. Many travellers and locals know these formations as the Hoodoos, but to those who have occupied the area for more than 10,000 years, these are the ribs of the water monster Yawuʔnik̓, and they can be found throughout the Ktunaxa Homelands. 

“The Hoodoos are an important site, tied to our Creation, and significant to our way of life,” explains Janice Alpine, tourism engagement lead for the Ktunaxa Nation Council. “The nature of this connection is not one of ownership, but one of stewardship.”

“We depend on the land. And the land, in turn, depends on us. It’s a symbiotic relationship that we deeply respect, value, and feel an immense sense of responsibility to protect.” 

How the Hoodoos were formed

Since time beyond the reach of memory, the homelands of the Ktunaxa People were ruled by spirit animals. Yawuʔnik̓, a huge water monster, bothered many of the animals. 

With news of the human race coming to earth, it was decided by the Chief spirit animal, Naⱡmuqȼin, that Yawuʔnik̓ must be killed. A Big Chase ensued, which formed the region's waterways, ultimately ending when Yawuʔnik̓ was caught and butchered by Naⱡmuqȼin. Yawuʔnik̓’s ribs were scattered across the region, forming the Hoodoos. 

These iconic landmarks are found throughout the ʔaq̓am, Kukamaʔnam (Kimberley), Columbia Valley and ʔa·kisk̓aqǂiʔit (Cranbrook) regions. Hoodoos can be spotted while enjoying many of the area’s golf courses, as well as from regional biking and hiking trails, roads and waterways.

When you visit here, you are connecting to the landscape formed by Naⱡmuqȼin, Yawunik, and the Big Chase. Here is a hoodoo-themed itinerary featuring hikes, golf, rivers and bike rides.

Hoodoos form a unique part of your surroundings as you travel through Ktunaxa Homelands.

#KtunaxaHomelands Hoodoo Adventures Itinerary

As a traveller within #KtunaxaHomelands, pay attention to the landscape, and the stories it tells. You don’t have to go far to find yourself in the presence of the hoodoos, and there’s so much to do!

Here is a hoodoo-themed itinerary that you can use to build your own adventure, with activities including golf, cycling, rafting and more. For more ideas of what to do and where to explore in Kimberly/Cranbrook, check out their visitor websites at Tourism Kimberley or Cranbrook Tourism

We encourage you to share what you find using the hashtag #KtunaxaHomelands.

Where to: Golf with the Hoodoos 

Ktunaxa-owned St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino’s 18-hole, par 72 championship golf course borders the St. Mary River, with expansive views of the Purcell Mountains. But perhaps the best view is found on St. Eugene's signature Hole 13, where, if you look left off the tee box, you can spot the hoodoos. Each of the 18 holes at St. Eugene has been named by Ktunaxa Elders, and signed in Ktunaxa and English.

A women golfing at St. Eugene Golf Resort & Casino outside Cranbrook
Photographer: Kyle Hamilton
Enjoy 18 holes of golf overlooked by the hoodoos.

Where to: hike the Hoodoos

Clocking in at only 3.2 km round-trip, the easy to moderate Hoodoo Trail is well-marked with interpretive signage and can be completed in under two hours. From atop the hoodoos, enjoy stunning panoramic views down the Rocky Mountain trench to Columbia Lake, the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River. The best place to access the viewpoint at the top of the Hoodoo formation is via the parking lot located off Westside Road.

A hike at Columbia Lake Provincial Park
Photographer: Kyle Hamilton
Enjoy the beauty of Ktunaxa Homelands from atop the hoodoos.

Where to: raft through the Hoodoos

The ʔaq̓am ʔa·kinmituk (St. Mary River) is a favourite for whitewater rafting and kayaking. Whether you're looking to experience it through a guided tour, or are a veteran rapid rider on a self-guided adventure, this river is highly rewarding with scenic backdrops, canyons of whitewater and hoodoo views.

A photo of a sunny day at St Mary's River
Photographer: Kyle Hamilton
The St. Mary River is a great place to paddle or fish.

Where to: bike with the Hoodoos

North Star Rails 2 Trails, adopted into the Trans Canada Trail in 2012, is a paved path that stretches 28 km, linking the cities of Kimberley and Cranbrook. An easily accessible place to begin your journey is the Wycliffe Parking lot. Along the way you can enjoy wide, spectacular views of the hoodoos.

The North Star Rails 2 Trails links the cities of Kimberley and Cranbrook
Photographer: Kyle Hamilton
Hit the bike trails and explore the local scenery

Where to: enjoy a scenic ride through history and the Hoodoos

Visit Fort Steele Heritage Town, and ride the 100+ year old steam train along a four kilometre-long track that loops above the Kootenay River and the hoodoos.

Whether hiking, rafting, cycling, golfing or touring the region, when you are here you are standing on Ktunaxa creation. Through sharing this story and exploring this landscape, you are invited to develop your own deeper connection to #KtunaxaHomelands.

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