This is an alternate route to the Paint Pots starting at Marble Canyon. The trail parallels the highway, but there is no reason to be concerned about traffic noise. The trail runs along the Kootenay River which drowns out the highway noise and provides a scenic and cool environment. This area was hit hard by the Kootenay forest fires in 2003. The regenerating forest means you will be treated to clear views of the surrounding peaks over the tops of new growth. The Paint Pots themselves are an interesting addition to an already good hike. There are three small pools formed by cold, iron rich mineral springs bubbling up through the earth. The area around the pools is stained a deep red-orange. Almost as interesting are the animal tracks imprinted in the red dirt. The area has a long and rich history. The ochre was used by the Ktunaxa people in ceremonies and for trade. In the early 1900’s, the ochre beds were mined and the ochre was shipped to Calgary to be used as a colouring for paint. There are interpretive signs at the site explaining more of the history of the Paint Pots. If you want to shorten your trip back, hike out to the Paint Pots trailhead and catch a ride back to your starting point at Marble Canyon.
Set your odometer to zero at the traffic lights on Highway 93/95 at the Invermere junction. Head north 13 km to Radium. Turn right at the 4 way stop sign. Stop at the Park gates and buy a pass if necessary. Continue on Highway 93 into Kootenay National Park. At 97 km the trailhead is to the left of the highway.
Early Spring - Early Winter