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 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.
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.
Quickly reach a mapped junction which is the start of the loop. The route described below hikes clockwise.
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.
The scale of these trees is difficult to capture. In one place, a staircase has been erected to overpass a massive 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.
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.