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Vallelujah is a mountain biking trail that wanders high on a ridge between the Slocan and Kootenay River valleys. Hiking the trail takes you winding through an old clearcut with stellar views of the Valhallas and Bonnington Range peaks. The hike is short and sweet and friendly to new hikers.

Trailhead: Smallwood FSR
Distance, round trip: 6.4km
Elevation: +150m
Season: early June to early October
Difficulty:  Easy

Trailhead & Driving Directions

Smallwood FSR climbs high (over 1300m up!) and the final few kilometres are rougher. 4WD high clearance is recommended.

Starting from Beasley Road, turn onto Queen Victoria Road and ascend. After about 1km, Queen Victoria Road turns into Smallwood Creek FSR and is signed. Reset the odometer here.

At 2.1km, stay right on Smallwood Creek FSR (pullout with parking for Smallwood/Bigwood Trail is further on the right).  At 3.6km cross a bridge and then at 3.9km switch back left at the junction and keep climbing up. Follow the main road as it ascends higher. At 12.8km ignore the rough spur on the left, and then at 13.1km reach the trailhead on the right and park.

Trailhead at the top of Smallwood Creek FSR – it’s an empty sign!

Along the Trail

Once you reach the trailhead, cross the road and find the trail ascending north. Vallelujah winds back and forth through the clear-cut, tracing outcrops of rocks and weaving through huckleberry bushes.

Valhallas on the horizon

The Valhallas suddenly spike the horizon to the north-west with a stunning view of the Mulvey Basin peaks.

To the south, the gentler peaks of the Bonnington Range (Toad Mountain, Copper Mountain, and Mount Siwash) slowly rise above the river valley.

View towards the Bonnington Range

There isn’t a special destination to this trail – it’s just nice, gentle wandering along an old clearcut. As the trail winds, you’ll keep seeing the logging road just below on the northern slope. It doesn’t exactly feel like pristine nature, but it’s a great place for a shorter hike with kids or new hikers.

At about 1.7km, the trail winds past a nice lookout over the Kootenay River Valley – a great picnic spot:

Looking out over the Kootenay River Valley towards Castlegar

Heading back

After hiking for about an hour, the trail dips into the forest. Following it further will take you deep down into the valley where the mountain bikers rip. We decided to turn back and retrace our footsteps, staying high on the ridge.

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[…] trail to the viewpoint. If you continue driving up the right fork in the road, you’ll reach the scenic Vallelujah trail way up […]