Quirky Attractions in the Kootenays
Unique, historic, and cultural gems to visit.
The Kootenay Rockies, with its massive peaks and endless trails, is a hiker’s dream. From alpine scrambles to meandering valley walks, this region offers something for everyone. It’s home to four mountain ranges and four national parks, with more than 75 provincial parks scattered in between. Around every mountain bend, across every glacial stream, and through every wildflower meadow, there is wilderness to be found.
We asked our Facebook fans to recommend their favourite hiking trails in BC’s Kootenay Rockies, and below are their top five choices:
In the number five spot is Idaho Peak, sitting atop the Slocan Valley. Nestled between the small mountain communities of Nelson and Nakusp, this hike is easily accessible. Drive 17 km (10.5 mi) up an old gravel road from the village of Sandon and you’re practically there. It’s only a short 1.5-km (0.9-mi) hike to the summit, where views overlook the lush green valley below. If that isn’t enough, there are over 40 other trails scattered about the valley to choose from.
Coming in fourth is Kokanee Provincial Park, just north of the eclectic mountain town of Nelson. The park is home to two glaciers which feed over 30 lakes, and endless streams that trickle between mountain pathways. This is a perfect mountain paradise to explore, with over 85 km (52 mi) of hiking trails, backcountry camping and several cabins maintained by the Alpine Club of Canada.
Coming in third is the Iceline Trail in Yoho National Park. Beginning at the impressive Takakkaw Falls, this 20.8-km (12.9-mi) hike wanders through one of Canada’s most famous national parks. The Cree First Nation use the term Yoho to express awe and wonder and this park’s name is no coincidence. The trailhead for the Iceline is located 17 km (10 mi) east of the town of Field via the Trans-Canada Highway and the Yoho Valley Road. You won’t regret turning off the highway and taking the time for a little walk in the wilderness.
A classic BC Rockies trail worthy of an addition to any hikers bucket list, the Rockwall Trail in Kootenay National Park comes in a close second. It’s located off Highway 93 just north of Radium Hot Springs and south of Banff, Alberta. Any number of trailheads will lead you toward “The Rockwall”, coined for the massive limestone cliffs that tower more than 900 metres (29 feet) above the trail. This epic 55-km (34-mi) trail is well worth spending a few days. The views won’t disappoint.
Sitting in the number one spot is Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, located west of the BC-Alberta border. BC’s very own “Matterhorn” is a colossal peak sitting amidst a sea of snow-covered mountains. There are popular day hikes leaving from Mount Assiniboine Lodge and longer trails that lead adventurous hiker deeper into the park. Any option offers incredible views and stunning scenery.
Did we miss one of your favourite Kootenay Rockies hikes? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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