European fur traders and trappers passed through, as did George Simpson in 1841, through what would later be named Simpson Pass, during his circumnavigation of the world.
Likewise, James Sinclair led Red River colonists westward and Pierre-Jean De Smet traveled eastward, through the area.
The park's northeastern entrance, connects to Castle Junction in Banff National Park and the Trans-Canada Highway via Vermillion Pass, a mountain pass across the Continental Divide of the Canadian Rockies on the Alberta/British Columbia border, at an elevation of 1,651 metres (5,416').
However, the BC government under-estimated its cost, found itself over-budget and its work was suspended in 1913, while the federal government completed their portion in November 1914.Initially called "Kootenay Dominion Park", the park was created in 1920 as part of an agreement between the province of British Columbia and the Canadian federal government to build a highway in exchange for title to a strip of land, approximately 8 km (5.0 mi) on either side of the 94 km route, the Banff–Windermere Highway, to be used solely for park purposes.While the park is open all year, the major tourist season lasts from June to September.Kootenay National Park is a national park located in southeastern British Columbia, Canada, and is one component of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site.
The park consists of 1,406 km (543 sq mi) of the Canadian Rockies, including parts of the Kootenay and Park mountain ranges, the Kootenay River and the entirety of the Vermilion River.Just outside the park's southwestern entrance is the town of Radium Hot Springs.