A solid trek from the edge of Nelson up into West Arm Provincial Park. The trail winds up in a scenic clearing, looking past Nelson and beyond into the Kootenay River valley.
Distance, round trip: 10.1km
Season: early May to late October
Trailhead & Driving Directions
Take Elwyn Street in Nelson, up past Shambhala Music Hall, and up to the right as it turns into a gravel road. The trailhead is up by the Great Northern Trail on Svoboda Road. There is lots of parking, no worries.
The Svoboda network contains many trails, but in general it is best to stay off the Black Diamonds. These are challenging routes and there may not always be enough time and space to step out of the way of bikers. The Trailforks app is a great resource to have on this trail network.
To stay on easier trails, walk up Svoboda road about 1km, before turning right and taking the Squeeler trail up through the woods. This will steadily climb over a long diagonal until it rises to an opening and the Frog Jam trail begins on the right. Frog Jam contains several switchbacks and weaves around a wetland hidden deep in the woods.
After about 3km, you’ll reach a wide level trail running like a road in the woods. It’s the ‘Svoboda Traverse’ trail which follows Nelson’s waterline. Turn left.
The Svoboda Traverse crosses Hermitage Creek over the Bealby Trestle Bridge. It’s nice level walking a welcome break from the climb. Follow it East for about 1km. As you near the end of the Traverse, watch for a steep trail angling up through the woods on the right. You’ve gone too far if you’ve met up with Svoboda Road again.
That steep trail is called ‘Log Jam’ and is a mighty climb but it will take you out of the woods and up into an old clearcut, full of insects and huckleberry bushes.
The Scenic Viewpoint
The Log Jam trail circles through the logged clearing, until it reaches the final scenic bench.
The view west looks over the Nelson bridge and into the Kootenay River valley beyond. To the north, you can look down on Six Mile and see the distant patches of the 2015 forest fire.
And Back Again
You can hike a little loop at the end by carrying on along Log Jam until it ends at the Svoboda Road, way high up. From there, back to the Svoboda Traverse, Frog Jam, Squeeler, and back again on the Svoboda Road until the trailhead. Not a bad hike for half a day!
[…] returned to the bike trails at Svoboda Road today to do some more fall hiking. It was a cool, damp day, but the clouds slowly lifted off the […]
[…] old clearcut at the end of the Svoboda Road trail network contains a scenic bench that looks towards Nelson from the east. Most of the town is hidden at this […]
Any idea if this would make a good snowshoe?
Yes, it’s a great snowshoe when there are tracks to follow. Usually there are a few fat bikers that keep the trail broken in so it should be good all winter!
I prefer to go up the bluff above Anderson/Fell Creeks; that’s the trail that switchbacks above the sign post. It’s a lovely Doug Fir/Ponderosa forest dangling off the rocks above the canyon. It’s open and easy to see oncoming bikes (which i’ve never encountered). The climb is comparable to Pulpit Rock. Once you’re on top you get to enjoy the Svoboda Traverse for an extra kilometer or two. I didn’t know about the Log Jam spur though; thanks for that!