While the park is open all year, the major tourist season lasts from June to September. Most campgrounds are open from early May to late September, while limited winter camping is available only at the Dolly Varden campground. The park takes its name from the Kootenay River, one of the two major rivers which flow through the park, the other being the Vermillion River. While the Vermillion River is completely contained within the park, the Kootenay River has its headwaters just outside of the park boundary, flowing through the park into the Rocky Mountain Trench, eventually joining the Columbia River. The Banff-Windermere Highway, #93 follows the path of both rivers through the park.
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