Hello Kootz Family and hello Autumn! After an extra smoky summer and frightening wildfire season, we are not complaining about the crisp, fall weather. If you follow us on socials, you'll have seen that half of team Kootz (Leah + husband) spent a fantastic fall weekend in Radium, staying at the Radius Retreat. It was the perfect way to welcome the seasonal change and spend some time in the outdoors exploring the Columbia Valley.
Radius Retreat offers walk-in/hike-in yurt rentals on a back country mountainside with 1,000 acres of explorable wilderness. Off the beaten track, but within reach of town amenities, it's the perfect outdoor getaway.
So what's the deal with Radius? Why does it exist? These are not just yurts, but a complete concept of getting back to nature. Radius from Within is based on 3 main ideals: natural peace and beauty, open air life ("friluftsliv"), and giving back to the land. Read about it in detail here.
Radius has 6 yurts to choose from, each one situated in its own unique location. You can read a description of each yurt here. We had the privilege of staying in The Nest, one of the 2 most remote yurts. It was a 2.4 km hike through grassy fields and massive fir trees - pack lightly, as the hike is mostly uphill! It is well worth the effort once you set foot on the path leading to the yurt. Nestled right in the trees with a valley view below, the yurt was completely in tune with the landscape - compact and unobtrusive with a perfect little viewing deck off the front. All of the yurts have beds (bring your own bedding), a small table with chairs and a fireplace. With the drafty weather rolling in, we had zero issues with the cold. The wood stove worked efficiently and was the perfect backdrop for curling up with a book and a game of crib. After a day of exploring, coming back to the yurt and being able to strip off wet socks and shoes with a toasty fire ready to dry your gear was a total luxury.
The yurt is equipped with a small solar panel so we were able to have lights on in the morning and evening when the sun disappeared and keep a slight charge on our cell phones. If you're looking to be running any more electronics than just a smart phone - you better hope for sun! The yurts also have a dome roof that can be opened to circulate air and offers stargazing or a unique view of a rain storm all from the coziness of your 200 sq. ft. home. There are also a ton of hooks about which I found very handy to hang damp clothes, backpacks and hats, keeping items off the cold floor and generally looking tidy.
Outside the yurt there is a picnic table, fire pit and camp stove all ready and waiting for you. Cooking outside on even the foggiest morning was not only easy, but beautiful. The fire pits come with a grill so don't be afraid to pack some grill-worthy protein with you. Everything tastes better cooked over a crackling fire! (FYI: Cooking and eating in the yurt is a no-no... see below for notes on bears and other wild friends.) There is no running water at the yurt so pack enough to drink, and be sure to fill up at one of the non-potable water stations beforehand for cleaning, fire expulsion, etc.
Radius equips all yurts with bear hangs a few meters from the dwelling to make sure food and other scented goods, like toiletries, are out of reach of curious critters, keeping you and the yurt space clean and safe. I would personally like to thank the neighbourhood bears for keeping their distance this weekend! Despite not seeing any large four-legged creatures (aside from deer), it's recommended to travel to the remote yurts and the adjoining trails with bear deterrents. We had bear spray and an air horn on hand for all of our adventures throughout the weekend.
And yes, there are bathrooms. Each yurt is equipped with a vermaculture composting toilet. It's not something I would usually rave about (a toilet, that is) but I have to say the yurt's facility was an adorable wooden structure, exceptionally clean, and easy to use. And, yay for worms and sustainability! For even more details on the yurts, check out the Radius FAQ page here.
Enjoying morning coffee on the deck was probably one of my favourite parts when in residence at The Nest. Sitting with a hot coffee on a cool morning and just listening to the sounds of the forest was pure, meditative bliss!
We had a blast exploring around the area (the Radius property boasts its own multi-trail system) and also took off for 2 side trips. We headed South to Windermere to hike Pedley Pass and then hit up Radium hot springs to soak our weary hiking legs the next day. Pedley Pass was stunning and the weather was perfect. We ran into an adorable family of grouse on the trail and reveled in all the luscious seasonal eye-candy you could ask for on an Autumn alpine excursion. Pedley is a 7.6 km moderate/difficult rated hike that leads to a ridge, tarn, and lake at the top. Leave yourself lots of time for this hike as access is about a 30-40 minute drive on a mining road with very bumpy terrain. (Shout out to the bad-ass woman who we passed coming down with 2 large dogs in a tiny Volkswagon!) After the Pedley hike and another ascent back to our yurt, you better believe we were ready for a soak at Radium the following day! Radium is a commercialized hot spring that's cheap (under $7 for pool access) and super easy to get to (right off the highway). We soaked it up for all it was worth and emerged only when we'd reached the utmost level of prunie-ness (ha!)
Our experience at Radius was our first time camping in a yurt and we won't forget it. The thought that went into the yurts was above and beyond for a camping retreat, in my opinion, and well worth the hike to get there!
It's the perfect mix of off-grid rusticity and glamping convenience.
And with so much space to explore, we could have stayed longer! Whether it's a group of hardcore hiking friends looking to go off-grid for a few days, or you're a family wanting to run wild while still being able to get into town for a sit down meal or swim at the hot springs, Radius is a fun and unique accommodation that will work for both.
To experience the Radius from Within yourself, book here.
If you have more questions about yurt camping and our experience, hit is up in the comments!