This is one of a group of Canadian Rocky Mountain parks that are collectively on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park covers 39,013 hectares – a bit bigger than the Isle of Wight. It is a place of lakes, glaciers, mountain peaks and alpine meadows. Mount Assiniboine, at an elevation of 3,618 metres, is on the continental divide near the southeast corner of the park.
No roads penetrate this unspoiled wilderness, with trails providing the only land access. Camping, hiking, mountain climbing and viewing spectacular mountain scenery are the main activities here, as well as fishing, horseback riding, and ski touring in winter.
The park is roughly triangular in shape. The apex of this triangle is at the junction of the boundaries of Banff National Park, which forms the eastern boundary, and Kootenay National Park, which marks the boundary to the west. The southern boundary follows the height of land above Daer Creek and Extension Creek from Kootenay National Park to the Mitchell River, then easterly to Banff National Park and the Continental Divide.
Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park lies within the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa or Kootenai First Nations people.
This area was well known to the indigenous peoples of the foothill and mountain country. Occasionally interrupted by wars, there was much trading between the tribes from the different sides of the Rockies. The Peigans, the Assiniboines, the Blackfoot and the Kootenai travelled the routes over many mountain passes through the Rockies.
G.M. Dawson, of the Geological Survey of Canada, named Mt. Assiniboine in honour of the Assiniboine people when he visited the area during the summer of 1899. Assiniboine means “stone boiler” a name that comes from the Aboriginal practice of putting hot rocks into animal paunches or holes filled with water in order to cook food.
Upon the urging of the Alpine Club of Canada, British Columbia set aside 5,120 hectares of the area on February 6, 1922 as Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, the seventh in a fledgling park system. In 1973, the park area was increased sevenfold to its present size of 39,050 hectares
Mt. Assiniboine is the seventh tallest mountain in the Canadian Rockies and its massive covers 80 km².
The park aims to protect a large variety of species. Eighty-four species of birds inhabit the park environs, based on sightings. Columbian ground squirrels are very common in the core area of the park. Ten species of carnivore including wolves, black bear, grizzly bear, weasel, cougar, lynx inhabit the park. Six species of ungulates: elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose, mountain goat, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep roam within park boundaries.
Boreal forests of spruce, intermixed with stands of alpine fir and lodgepole pine, cover the lower elevations. In more open areas, scattered patches of false azalea, buffalo berries, twin berries, white rhododendrons and, occasionally, red elder may be found. Between the elevations of 2,100 and 2,400 metres, open stands of alpine larch occur alongside alpine fir and Engelmann spruce, with a ground cover of red and white heather and grouse berries. Dense thickets of various species of low-growing willows associated with bog birch can be found along mountain streams and in boggy areas.
Large areas of rocky slopes and ridges are covered by stonecrop, white flowering avens, moss campion, cinquefoil, arctic willows and several species of saxifrage. Alpine meadows blaze with colour thanks to an abundance of western anemones, alpine arnica, columbine, Indian paintbrush, spring beauty, alpine fleabane, mountain daisies, and hundreds of other species of wildflowers during the midsummer blossoming period.
Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park is west of the British Columbia-Alberta border 48 km southwest of Banff.
There are no fees for day use. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.