Kootenae House is a National Historic Site used between 1807 and 1812 in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada.
The early morning drive begins from accommodation in the Village of Radium Hot Springs with a left turn heading south at the major intersection of Highway 93 with Kootenay Highway 95.
The drive from the Village of Radium Hot Springs proceeds south on Kootenay Highway 95 with incredible views from turnouts over the Columbia River Valley en route past Dry Gulch along the 14 KM (8¾ mile) stretch to Invermere.
A quick stop at the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, a short distance south of the Invermere exit from Kootenay Highway 95, yields a wealth of information from friendly, knowledgeable and helpful staff for directions to Lake Enid and other fascinating, local hiking attractions. The area is unique and the opportunities are virtually endless.
From the downhill highway route, across the bridge over the Columbia River into Invermere, a right turn onto Panorama Drive just above the railway bridge crosses Toby Creek prior to a signed right turn towards the historic town of Wilmer, British Columbia, Canada, resident town of the infamous mountain climber, Conrad Kain.
Along gravel road, a glance to the right from a sweeping turn along a dusty section of washboard, gravel road reveals a small field of grassland bordered by wooden fence and hosting a stone monument and interpretive plaques. This will need to be investigated.
Very limited parking at roadside is near the entrance to the exhibit. Note: The road just past the exhibit leads to a private, non-associated residence. The stop to investigate becomes a fascinating learning experience which consolidates a lot of previously acquired information accumulated over many previous years of hiking at other historical locations.
Kootenae House occupied this small site from 1807 through 1812 as one component in a network of trade routes which linked other National Historic Sites of Canada at Rocky Mountain House, Jasper House, Howse Pass and Athabasca Pass in the Canadian north with Kullyspell, Spokane and Saleesh House in the early 19th century northwest USA.
The renowned explorer David Thompson in a group of 19 men, women and children navigated the Saskatchewan River over Howse Pass and along the Blaeberry and Columbia Rivers to establish Kootenae House on this site in 1807 as a trading post with the Ktunaxa (Kootenay) First Nation.
Although the ground is now barren with the exception of indigenous grassland, the sense of history is palpable and stands testament to risk and hardship assumed prior to current benefit and opportunity.