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Ka Papa Cedars Trail

Driving over Kootenay Pass? Take a break and stroll the old growth Ka Papa Cedars Trail! It’s an easy loop that explores an ancient cedar grove. Enjoy the tranquility and magic that comes from wandering the timeless forest floor. The trail name “Ka Papa” means “my grandfather” in the Ktunaxa language and refers to the ancient cedars being like elders in the forest.

Trailhead: Highway 3
Distance, round trip: 2.6km
Elevation: +69m
Season: late May to early October
Difficulty: Easy

Trailhead and Driving Directions

From the top of Kootenay Pass, drive 8.1km East on Highway 3. After you pass the avalanche gates, turn into the second pull-out on the right and immediately see the green “Ka Papa Trail” signs. This trailhead is approximately 35km west of Creston.

Trail Kiosk

There is a second trailhead with an outhouse which you can reach by driving 1km down Cha Creek FSR (the first pull-out after the avalanche gates).

Across Summit Creek

Head into the forest and descend to a bridge crossing Summit Creek. The trail then crosses a series of boardwalks and ascends a short, steep section.

Bridge over Summit Creek

Quickly reach a mapped junction which is the start of the loop. The route described below hikes clockwise.

Ralph’s Grove

The trail winds along the rich forest floor, full of fern, Thimbleberry, and Devil’s Club. You’ll start seeing ancient cedars after a few minutes on the trail- towering and learning among the hemlocks.

Walking among ancient cedars

The scale of these trees is difficult to capture. In one place, a staircase has been erected to overpass a massive fallen cedar.

Crossing a fallen cedar

The trail will descend slightly until it comes to a bench at 1.1km, overlooking Summit Creek far below. Continue on as the trail begins to circle back on it’s loop towards Cha Creek FSR.

Old Growth Cedar

After about 2km, you’ll reach a signed junction for the second trailhead. Then shortly after, you’ll have completed your loop and be back at the spur across Summit Creek and towards Highway 3.

Creston Valley Trails Society

The Creston Valley Trails Society maintains the Ka Papa Cedars Trail. If you’ve enjoyed the hike, consider becoming a member, making a donation, or volunteering with them.

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Tom Johnston
Tom Johnston
4 years ago

Looks like a great spot for a travel break with energetic kids. Or “forest bathing” to refresh oneself for the road ahead. Thanks Abby,