Stations of the Cross is a short, easily accessible walk in the Village of Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia, Canada.
The Village of Radium Hot Springs BC Parks Visitor Center is a short distance south of the junction of Highway 93 along Highway 95 south to Invermere and near the visually striking Roman Catholic Church of St. Joseph. An unassuming boardwalk near the BC Parks Visitor Center leads to a wooden platform and stairs which climb the hill to the parking area behind and above the church and visitor center.
A predominant attraction captures the attention immediately and a sign clearly identifies 'Our Lady - Queen of Peace - Stations of the Cross' with an accompanying pagoda near the entrance which provides historical insight and information.
The religious site provides the opportunity for a brief and meaningful experience (spiritual for many) in a beautiful location with expansive vistas across the Village of Radium Hot Springs to the spectacular Columbia River Valley and surrounding mountains.
Each station along the paved, gentle-grade path represents an important event in the history of the Christian faith and contains a brief description of the significance of the event. Although accompanying photographs do not provide access to the detail, an excellent reference at Stations of the Cross - Radium provides descriptive text for each station with specific biblical references.
The short, paved trail above and behind the Roman Catholic Church of St. Joseph is below Redearth Campround which occupies the top of the hill behind. There is a variety of nearby trail option for more aggressive hiking. The paved Stations of the Cross path turns around above the Village of Radium Hot Springs Columbarium and returns by gentle ascent to the trail beginning and pagoda.
The pathway away from the pagoda and behind the Roman Catholic Church of St. Joseph leads to the Village of Radium Hot Springs Columbarium which is a small immaculately manicured oasis of peace and tranquility carved into the hillside with benches beneath shade trees surrounding the first Memorial Wall. Space is currently allocated for two additional Memorial Walls in the future.
The visit to Stations of the Cross in the Village of Radium Hot Springs ends the single, full travel day from Calgary, Alberta, Canada through Banff National Park in Alberta and Kootenay National Park in British Columbia with stops along the way at the Continental Divide for hikes on the Fireweed trails, Paint Pots and Numa Creek along the way.
The beginning of any multiple day hiking agenda to previously unexplored terrain always begins with a well-researched and carefully constructed plan using several pertinent hiking guides and maps. When a Gem Trek Map is available for the area, this is always a valuable resource for selecting the best hikes in the area. This trip into Kootenay National Park, British Columbia involves the use of several popular, outstanding and easily acquired hiking guides over a planning elapse time of about a month.
Guides used for this project:
The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide, The Gemtrek Map #10 for Kootenay National Park and the Falcon Guide for Hiking in Yoho, Kootenay, Glacier and Mt. Revelstoke National Parks.
Preferred and suitable day hikes on trails of suitable distance and elevation are selected and meticulously organized on a spreadsheet by region. The short, easy hikes en route to the major destination are undertaken between Calgary and, in this instance, the initial accommodation destination at the Village of Radium Hot Springs.
The next, and most important step, is personal presentation of the plan and spreadsheet to the Park Ranger Visitor Center for review. The most knowledgeable and senior Park Ranger is a good choice to review the planned hikes. It is important to make them aware of general past years of experience and the status of gear although they are very good at sizing people up very quickly. What happens next is magical. The plan is critiqued. Some choices are unavailable. Others are less attractive than hiking guides may make them seem. Wildlife concerns and hazards are identified. Hiking guides may contain obsolete and currently incorrect information. It is not unusual for at least one trail to be closed for maintenance. The plan will be revised and improved with deletions and additions of superior but undocumented hikes.
The meeting with the professionals, who know the area like the back of their hand, is an important part of the overall mission. Asking for help is not a weakness but rather an indication of sensible maturity and experience. Furthermore, in the unlikely event of unforeseen circumstance where rescue services may be required, they know who you are and what you are doing. Contingency planning can improve the experience and reduce the level of risk.