Paint Pots Hike | Kootenay National Park

Hello friends,

Lets talk about paint! And no, not the product you use to paint your room a different colour, the natural paint pots found in Kootenay!

They are found in an area that has unusual physical and chemical activity in the ground, which gives this area the very intense colour you will see in the pictures below. These areas have a history of being used by both Aboriginals and Europeans in the past. The ochre was collected for important ceremonies or to trade for other goods. These areas are still considered sacred by many First Nations today, so just keep that in mind if you visit this area. Just as you should be respectful to any area in National Parks.

If you want more information about the history of these paint pots, click here.


Now in the upcoming pictures, you will probably think that the vibrant orange colour it photoshop… well it is not. If you ever go visit there you will see this exact colour on the ground!


This was a little waterfall on the side of the path. Here you walked on the orange ground on the right side of the picture, however later on when it gets more muddy they have wooden boards so you don’t completely dye your shoes orange!



Personally, I loved these mini green coloured lakes at the top of the hike. I thought they were beautiful in contrast with the bright orange ground.





At first I was like why would people leave garbage up here, but then we continued to read the signs and these were actually tools used in the past to help get the ochre out!



I found these cute little purple flours and of course I nearly got covered in the orange mud trying to take pictures of them! Whoops!




Well I hope you enjoyed this post. If there is any advice I will give you for this short hike it would be to bring your camera! But also wear your hiking shoes so you won’t care if they get dirty and also bring a plastic bag or have somewhere that is designated in your car for dirty shoes! We washed ours off in a puddle, but they will never be 100% clean…

Have you ever been to the paint pots? And if so, did you fall into the orange mud off the wooden beams like I did?!

Until next time,


12 thoughts on “Paint Pots Hike | Kootenay National Park

  1. Such beautiful hues of nature, also I wonder if there is a pungent aromatic smell in the air around those lakes and orange hills, as say compared to the smells of the woods in other parks and regions there? My wife is watching ‘Homeland’ as I write this, it is filmed in Alberta and makes me lone for the life in the most northern states region of the Pacific North west of the United states. As it appears that there is Alberta there is a resemblance to life in Northwestern Montana and Northern Idaho. Thank you for sharing these images.

    Liked by 1 person

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