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2022 Reflection

A great year for hiking the West Kootenay! We had warm, dry weather in October that extended alpine hiking season into an extra glorious, golden month.

New Trails Added

Just 2 new trails were added to the site, as I’ve been focused on hiking favourite trails closer to home. With a baby on board and the price of gas these days, it’s been much simpler to revisit trails then venture into the unknown. I’ve made countless updates to existing trail write-ups with access road conditions and trail updates, but only got to 2 new places:

It’s so encouraging to see new beautiful trails being built close to communities with reliable access roads. Whitewater Ski Resort now has the brand new Summit Trail in addition to White Queen. It’s been great to have more accessible alpine routes, especially in areas where there is already human disruption like around the ski resort.


Once again, West Kootenay Hiking made a small amount of money through merch sales. This year the $110 in profit will be donated to the Creston Valley Trails Society.

What’s Next?

I’ve loved working on West Kootenay Hiking for the past 7 years. It’s been a volunteer project and I’m glad so many visitors and community members find it helpful! I am finding though that with so much on my plate these days, I need to turn it into more of a paid part-time job and less of a volunteer side-project, otherwise it is always on the back burner and I am not doing it justice!

So in 2023, I’ll be continuing to make updates and will hopefully add a couple more trails, but also explore a vision for to WKH where I can dedicated a few hours a week to site maintenance and replying to visitors and adding more articles to the blog.

Hiking the bub in the Selkirk Range. It’s a heavy load, but we’re both so happy to be here together!

With that in mind, one of my great joys from 2022 has been hiking with fellow mountain mamas and babies. The transition to motherhood is tough, but there is an inspiring community here of parents that stay outdoorsy and active and bring their babies along for the ride.

One of my new mama friends has designed a fleece sweater for pregnant, postpartum, and nursing parents. This is something I needed so badly over the last couple of years on my adventures, and I’m so excited for her new local company. I’m a proud backer of the kickstarter campaign, and I am also sharing an affiliate link here:

That’s all for now! Looking forward to another hiking season and more adventures!


My happy alpine baby soaking in the sun and golden larches
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2021 Reflection

2021 was another unusual year with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing and everyone flocking to the great outdoors to stay safe and healthy. We also had extreme heat in the Kootenays followed by almost a month of thick wildfire smoke. A challenging time during the height of hiking season!

New Trails Added

Only a handful of new trails were added to West Kootenay Hiking in 2021. I brought a new tiny hiker into this world and we adventured on shorter trails, closer to home while navigating the new world of parenthood.

I also went back to re-hike many favourites and update the information on this site. A real gem is the Kalso River Trail which now has “Koot” sculptures to explore!


Once again, West Kootenay Hiking made a small amount of money through merch sales. Each year I pass the profits onto a local trail society and for 2021 I’ve donated to the Kalso Outdoor Recreation & Trails Society.

What’s Next?

West Kootenay Hiking has over 100 trails documented and gets over 300,000 visitors a year. Over the last few years, I’ve really tried to keep the site updated with new trails and changing conditions.

But looking forward, I won’t have the same capacity to get out and hike the big alpine grinds over the next few years. I’m starting to think about bringing on a co-editor or handing this project off to another local person with technical experience and an adventurous spirit who’d like to keep it going. I’ll start exploring possibilities in 2022 and see where it goes!

Hiking the baby to Kokanee Lake
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A quick reflection on 2020…

What a strange year 2020 was! Just as hiking trails were thawing out last March, the COVID-19 pandemic began and many parks and recreation sites were closed.

New Trails Added

With restrictions in the spring, I re-hiked many of the trails within a short drive of Nelson and added new photos and information to West Kootenay Hiking. A highlight this summer was finally hiking the entire Seven Summits Trail near Rossland! I’d done many segments over the years, but doing the entire thing in one epic day had been on my bucket-list.

The Seven Summits Trail near Rossland

New trails explored in 2020:

The West Kootenay saw increased visitors during the summer when local travel within BC was encouraged. This led to some trailheads becoming very busy and some concern among locals about overuse and crowding. It’s important to remember that trails are on public lands, often built with public funding, for everyone to enjoy responsibly whether they are a long-term local or first-time visitor. Some things we can all do to make our trails better are:

  • Follow Leave No Trace principles to reduce environmental impact
  • Be fully prepared for your adventure by following the Adventure Smart program. Leave a trip plan, take the essentials, and have the proper training/experience for your adventure.
  • Contribute to the local trail society that maintains the space you’re exploring. Make a donation, become a member, volunteer.
  • Advocate for increased funding to BC Parks as well as Rec Sites & Trails BC.
  • Be flexible in your plans. If you know a place is busy, go hike somewhere else or visit during off-peak times. Every season there are new trails being built by volunteer trail societies and there is no shortage of mountains.

During the summer of 2020, West Kootenay Hiking promoted new or lesser-known trails on social media to encourage people to explore new places and spread out.

Exploring the newer Salmo Ski Hill Trails – great hiking and mountain biking!

Donation to the Friends of Rossland Range

West Kootenay Hiking is a non-profit project, aimed at sharing helpful information and benefiting the outdoor community. The website made $147.09 in merchandise sales in 2020 and in turn, $150.00 has been donated to the Friends of Rossland Range (FORR). FORR maintain the awesome Rossland Range Rec Site, and although the day-use cabins were closed during COVID-19, the society is looking for donations to help cover the cost of plowing the winter parking areas and pullouts.

The Eagle’s Nest Cabin in the Rossland Range Rec Site
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Winter 2020 Updates

It’s February and already starting to feel a bit like spring with milder temperatures and returning daylight. Luckily, the West Kootenays got a record amount of snow in January, providing lots of opportunity of winter adventure.

Things slowed down on West Kootenay Hiking this winter, but I am working on a snowshoe guide and collecting some more routes. Snowshoeing can have higher risks than hiking with avalanche terrain, winter conditions, and more route finding. My focus has been on posting beginner-intermediate routes that stay in simple avalanche terrain.

Here are some new routes to check out:

Whitewater Snowshoe Trails

Whitewater Ski Resort maintains a network of multi-purpose winter trails. This area provides accessible winter…

Read More

Mount Crowe Snowshoe

A winter wonderland awaits! The snowshoe route up to Mount Crowe leads to amazing views…

Read More

2019 Financials

West Kootenay Hiking made a bit of money through donations and merchandise sales. Thanks to all who supported the project! You can view the 2019 financial statement on Google Docs.

The $136.24 of profit from 2019 will be donated to the Castlegar Parks and Trails Society. This local group has been doing some awesome work and I’ve really appreciated adventuring on their trails! Check out the Brilliant Overlook Trail, the Mel Deanna Trail, the Merry Creek Trails, and the Scattebo Reach Trail for some of their projects.

Want to support West Kootenay Hiking too? You can purchase merchandise online at Redbubble. All designs were created by me and are printed on demand when you order.

That’s all for now! Back to planning more 2020 adventures!

Happy hiking!


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West Kootenay Hiking – Fall Updates

2019 was a fantastic season! The cooler, wetter weather interfered with a few hiking plans, but it created wonderful wildflowers and prevented terrible wildfires.

A big highlight for me was backpacking the Earl Grey Pass Trail! It’s an epic trek across the Purcells and was definitely a challenging hike. I was also pleased to finally get to Woodbury and Silverspray cabins, and hope to do the traverse in 2020. Checking out Carlyle Lodge during peak-larch season was also a highlight and I hope to explore more of that area next summer and hopefully do the Sourdough Traverse.

Amazing scenery on the Earl Grey Pass

Site Improvements

Here is the the work I’ve put into the site over the spring and summer:

  • Added 23 new trails to West Kootenay Hiking.
  • Revisited many favourite places and added updated photos and GPS tracks to the trail posts.
  • Created the West Kootenay Hiking Facebook Page with over 500 followers.
  • Switched to new a WordPress theme and cleaned up site menus and pages.
  • Updated all of the “Resources & Safety” pages to align with AdventureSmart best practices.
  • Added new categories to find trails. Golden Larches, Old Growth Cedars, Wildflowers, Waterfalls!
  • Added a ‘Print Friendly’ button at the bottom of each post. Visitors can print a version of the page without images and can delete sections of text.
  • Started adding “Trail Angels” section to the bottom of posts to identify which Trail Societies maintain the trails with links to get involved or donate.

Growing Pains

West Kootenay Hiking is becoming a popular site! While it’s nice to see so many visitors, the increased traffic created a few challenges!

  • Maps – West Kootenay Hiking maxed-out its free license for maps on Open Cycle! As a result, I’ve had to change the map settings so that the default map is from another vendor. But don’t worry – you can still go to map layers and select the excellent topographic version while trip planning.
  • Sentinel Overlook Trail – I had to mark the Sentinel Overlook trail information as private to hide it from the site. The increased hiking traffic on this trail has created some access issues so the Castlegar Parks & Trails Society has asked that info about the trail be removed. It’s a fantastic shoulder-season hike and has some good climbing bluffs, so hopefully one day something official can be in place so that this area can be shared with the public again.
  • Tourist Info – I’ve had countless emails from tourists asking for help planning their vacations. How nice, but I’ve started sending them along to contact the Visitor Centres as I can’t keep up!
  • Hosting – And lastly, I’ve had to find a new web host! Red E Technology in Nelson, BC is now hosting this site and owner Stevland did a bunch of extra work to help me optimize the images on West Kootenay Hiking. Thank you!


Want to help support the site? You can make a donation through PayPal or purchase some West Kootenay Hiking merchandise online at Redbubble. 100% of all profits in the “West Kootenay Hiking” collection will go to the maintenance of this site and extra proceeds are donated to local trail-building or SAR organizations.

What’s happening over the winter?

I’m still working on reformatting and cleaning up older trail information. I’ll also be adding more info about snowshoe routes and winter safety.

Happy Hiking!


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Best Hiking Viewpoints over Nelson, BC

Nelson is surrounded by forested mountains with hidden viewpoints. It’s a hikers paradise – if you know where to go! Here are some of the best viewpoint trails that will let you gaze out over our mountain town.

Continue reading Best Hiking Viewpoints over Nelson, BC
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75 Trails Giveaway!

West Kootenay Hiking has hit some big milestones in the last few days

Let’s celebrate with a giveaway!


A unisex t-shirt from the West Kootenay Hiking collection in the colour, size, and design of your choice:

Kootenay Hiking T-Shirt


Do any of the following for one entry in the draw. Maximum of 3 entries per person:
1. Like the West Kootenay Hiking Facebook page
2. Tag a hiking buddy in the comments of the contest Facebook post.
3. Share the West Kootenay Hiking Facebook page with your friends


  • contest closes Friday, May 10th at 4pm PST
  • winner will be contacted through Facebook messenger
  • winner must reside in Canada or the US, and must provide name and address to receive prize in mail
  • prize is a unisex t-shirt from the West Kootenay Hiking collection on Redbubble, in the size and colour of the winner’s choice. Prize is not cash transferrable.

Happy hiking!

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West Kootenay Hiking – Winter Updates

March is here and it doesn’t feel like winter will be over for a while! But despite the cold, the days are lengthening and the sun is brightening and hiking season is just around the corner.

My goal over the winter was to edit and re-format all of the 60+ hikes on this site. And while I made some progress, I also got caught up in some other community initiatives (hello, Cottonwood Lake Preservation Society!) and still have more work to do!

Work Completed – Winter 2018/2019

Snowshoe Trips

Winter backcountry travel can have much higher risks with avalanche terrain, route-finding, cold temperatures and short days. I’ve had a few requests to post snowshoe routes on this site, but I’m reluctant to post trips that could lead inexperienced snowshoers into trouble.

The snowshoe trips I’ve shared all stay in simple avalanche terrain. I’ve added yellow safety boxes to highlight some of the additional hazards on these routes (see White Queen – Snowshoe Route). I welcome feedback about how to handle snowshoe routes and the trips I’ve posted so far! Please contact me if you have any suggestions!

Snowshoeing up White Queen

2018 Financials

West Kootenay Hiking made a bit of money in 2018 through merchandise sales on Redbubble – thanks for supporting the project! You can review the 2018 Financial Statement on Google Sheets.

The $112.30 of profit from 2018 will be donated to the Friends of Pulpit Rock Society. Pulpit Rock is one of the most popular hikes in the region and was the first trail that I explored when I moved to Nelson in 2016.

Next Steps

Hiking season is around the corner! What’s next for the project?

  • Continue editing and re-formatting older hikes.
  • Expanding and re-organizing Resources section.
  • Improving site navigation and search functionality.
  • Lots of trip planning! Continue expanding the site with new trails in 2019, especially focusing on exploring West Kootenay places that are a little further afield!

Happy hiking!


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West Kootenay Hiking – Fall Updates

Well, the 2018 hiking season is over and it’s time to get down to work!

On July 1st, I launched and posted my vision and plan for the site: Introducing…

Since then, I’ve had so much positive feedback from the local hiking community and the site has had over 23,000 views. There has been an incredible response to this project, and I’m so grateful to everyone who’s offered feedback and support. Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism reached out over the summer and re-designed their hiking page with links and content from this site. They’ve made a donation to Nelson Search & Rescue on my behalf – thank you!

Summer 2018 was a record wildfire season. We had several trail closures and weeks of heavy fire smoke. My goal was to really use this last summer to explore more trails and expand the hikes on this site, but the fires limited where we could go and what we could see (summited Mount Reco twice but never saw the view!). Nevertheless, trails did get hiked and things are moving along on schedule…

Work completed Summer 2018

  • 12 new hikes added
  • Redesigned trail review pages: added interactive GPS maps, driving directions, and trip rating system
  • Added trip report form so visitors can rate hikes
  • Expanded the Resources page with info about hiking safety, access roads, and more!
  • Updated site to HTTPS (secure)
  • 9 graphic designs added to Redbubble to support

Next steps

So what is happening over the winter? Here is my to-do list over the next few months:

  • Improve post categorization and search functionality.
  • A few tweaks to the site design and layout. I find the font a bit small – anyone else?
  • Reformat old hikes with the new trail review template – post new photos and GPS files.
  • Add ‘Guest Post’ option for locals to contribute hikes and tips.

Revenue Model

I’d like this site to make some money! My hope is to cover the monthly webhosting costs and then contribute in a meaningful way to local trail initiatives and Search & Rescue chapters.

Over the last few months, I’ve created a collection of Kootenay hiking designs that can be ordered as prints, t-shirts, tote bags, mugs, and more through Redbubble. Redbubble is a print-on-demand site and a share of each purchase will go back to support this project! Check out the Shop & Support link for more info.

I’m also thinking of putting up a bit of online advertising on the site to help boost revenue. Right now the web traffic is too low to be worth the effort, but long term it could be a good option to help support the project. What do you think?

Trail Review Pages

The “Trail Review” pages have been redesigned to include interactive maps. I’ve also started adding detailed driving directions based on your comments. Check out Mount Jardine for a sample of the new layout and please send me any feedback any time!

Happy hiking!


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Happy Canada Day! Today is the launch of!

When I moved to Nelson in April 2016, I started a personal hiking blog called “The Kooteneer” to capture trail reports and adventures on our West Kootenay hiking trails. Since then, I’ve written nearly 100 posts and had traffic to the blog steadily increasing to over 10,000 visitors.

Seeing the interest in a West Kootenay online hiking resource (and also how I was almost maxed out on my free space!), I began making plans in 2017 to expand The Kooteneer into something bigger that could go beyond one person’s adventures in the mountains and capture information for our entire hiking community. I wanted to create an online hiking guide that could be used and maintained by locals and had the most up-to-date info about hiking trails and access.

I’ve looked at many hiking sites for inspiration! One of my favourites is the Washington Trails Association!

Designing this kind of website takes quite a bit of time and energy and so I’m using a phased approach to slowly expand the scope and functionality of this site. See below!

Phase 1 – Complete

  • Transfer to
  • Set up basic site design and SEO, keep it mobile-friendly!
  • Summer 2018: continue adding new hikes and collecting GPS data

Phase 2 – Fall 2018

  • Reach out for feedback from local hiking community
  • Introduce new “trail” templates to standardize trail information (stats, map, GPS, pictures, access road). Reformat a lot of old content!
  • Add interactive maps and elevation profiles to each trail with GPS download
  • Expand the “Resources” section

Phase 3 – Winter 2018-2019

  • Set up ‘User Generated Posts’ for trip reports so that visitors can submit info.
  • Set up functionality for users to rank trails.
  • Improve post categorization and search functionality.
  • Expand admin access to a small team of local editors to help add new trails, monitor user trip reports, maintain the site, and expand the Resources section.
  • Establish revenue model to cover the costs of webhosting (grants, ads, merch) – profits to go back to local hiking clubs/conservation societies.

Hopefully the site will be ready to go for Summer 2019 hiking season! In the meantime, there is lots of information posted that I’ve collected over the past two years and I’ll keep adding content.

If you have any thoughts or feedback on this project, please contact me!

I’ll be reaching out to the local community periodically for feedback throughout this process (especially on designing trail templates and trip reports)!

This site is a passion project and I’m happy to dedicate the hours to building and developing If you’re an experienced web developer who would like to volunteer mentorship and feedback (and possibly some trouble-shooting!) throughout this process, please get in touch. 🙂


See Part 2: West Kootenay Hiking – Fall Updates