White Queen is a scenic off-trail hike just outside of Nelson, BC. Starting at Whitewater Ski Resort, the route crosses familiar ski terrain before ascending to a stunning ridge-line ramble with big views of Ymir Peak and surrounding country. At the summit of White Queen, you can see Kokanee and the Valhallas, and many distant mountains fading to overlapping shades of blue.
Mount Grohman is a stunning ridge-line hike near Nelson, BC. Most of this hike is done off-trail, but the access road starts you way up in the alpine and the route is surrounded by prominent peaks and landmarks. You’ll see Gray’s and Esmeralda Peaks in Kokanee Glacier Park, the Bonnington Range peaks, the Valhallas, Old Glory Mountain, distant Mount Loki, the West Arm of Kootenay Lake and more!
Following the CBC Tower trail takes you to the very summit of Mount Nelson (or Elephant Mountain as some locals affectionately call it). It’s a difficult hike with significant elevation, but it’s scenic and close to home! At each milestone, the City of Nelson shrinks further below and more and more peaks enfold from the distant valleys.
Ymir Mountain is renowned for its powder, but it’s also a perfectly hike-able summer excursion. Achieving the summit involves getting off trail to traverse the boulders and scree in the Ymir Bowl, but the reward is ridge-line hiking with spectacular views!
Looking for a challenging day hike? The Keyhole trail climbs way up high to bring you through a hidden notch at the edge of the Kokanee Glacier. It’s a scenic route, but it’s also a bit of a sufferfest with boulders and scree and an endless ascent.
Just starting to venture off trail? Mt. Giegerich is a gentle giant with two easy ridge-lines, inviting you to walk on up! This loop follows the official Sapphire Lakes Trail, summits Giegerich, dips down to the Sapphire Lakes, and then returns to Kaslo Lake via the unofficial Commission Creek route. It’s a wonderful circuit for folks staying in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park – offering a day hike that’s moderate yet adventurous.
Ward’s Ferry Trail traces the Kootenay River and connects Blewett to Glade. A good chunk of it is scenic riverside hiking. A good chunk of it is also a long slog in the woods.
Let’s be honest. There are many hikes that end in climatic viewpoints all up and down the Kootenay River valley. This is yet another one, and although the lookout offers a big view of Crescent Valley and Playmor Junction, the trail itself is underdeveloped and underwhelming.
The trail circling Gibson Lake is short and splendid, wrapping along the lakeshore and crossing tributary streams. Most folks will want to venture onwards and upwards into Kokanee Glacier Park, but if you’re looking for an easy hike or something to pair with the Old Growth Trail, then Gibson Lake is worth the drive!
Legend has it that Toad Mountain got its name when a prospector was staking his land claim, looked down, saw a toad, and… that was that. Nevertheless, Toad is a legendary ridge-line hike just outside of Nelson. And the view from the summit? Toad-ally awesome.