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.
Distance, round trip: 6.4km
Season: mid-April to late October
The trail starts 2km up from Pass Creek Road, after crossing the bridge over the Slocan River. The trailhead is subtle. It’s a faint route climbing up into the woods marked by red tape.
Pass Creek Road crosses Goose Creek twice, and the trail starts between these bridges. There is a wide shoulder with room to park after the second Goose Creek bridge.
Follow the Red Tape
When was the last time you saw some flagging tape? Keep checking! The trail is well-marked by red flagging tape (orange or pink in some places), but it is easy to get turned around.
There is a trail, but it is faint and hard to follow on the ascent. We kept finding ourselves stepping off of it. No worries! Just following the flagging tape! After about 1.3km, a harder route marked with blue tape is offered as an option, but we ignored this and stuck to the red!
We had a tricky time with steep grades, uneven footing, deadfall, and a bit of bushwalking when we got off trail. This definitely isn’t a beginner’s hike and is best for those who feel comfortable and confident in the bush.
Once, when peering around for the next red flag, Andrew spotted movement in distance brush: two black bears went waddling by. They looked at us then hurried along their way.
The trail steepens to a final climb and then breaks into open forest and mossy boulders. At last, after 2.7km and about 1.5 hours, you reach the lookout!
The lookout is a mossy outcropping of rock that peers down over the Crescent Valley and Playmor Junction. No big mountain peaks are visible, but both Slocan River and Kootenay River are down below.
The hike back down was hard on the steep grades, but we had a much easier time spotting the trail and flagging tape leading down below. Slocan-Kootenay Lookout definitely wasn’t my favourite shoulder-season viewpoint hike – I’d much sooner go back to Brilliant Overlook or even the Smallwood Bigwood Trails – but this was something new and it’s always worth the adventure!