kootenay river

Smallwood Lookout

The Smallwood lookout boasts one of the biggest benches with one of the biggest views. It’s part of a large mountain bike trail network, but hiking the Smallwood ridge-line as an “out and back” is an easy option with lots of reward.

McPhee Waterfall Loop

Everyone loves a good waterfall! And Little McPhee Falls is a two-tiered beauty that roars during the spring melt and quiets to a mossy trickle in the fall. This forested trail can be extended into a nice loop above the Kootenay River.

Dove Hill Loop

A short hike with panoramic views over Castlegar! This is a great shoulder-season trail as the main climb is snow-free in early April. You can also extend your hike to reach the Brilliant Overlook Trail higher above.

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.

Skattebo Reach Trail (Glade to McPhee Creek)

The Skattebo Reach Trail connects from Glade to Castlegar, contouring above the Kootenay River. It’s a pleasant forested route with the blue-green river peeking through the woods. McPhee Creek makes a good turnaround point if you don’t want to head all the way to the Brilliant Substation near Castlegar.

The CBC Tower

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 …

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Fall Colours at the Flagpole

It was a beautiful day to hike up to the flagpole above Pulpit Rock. The fall leaves are at their peak right now and Nelson is full of colour! The flagpole trail has had a number of improvements this season, including the development of new switchbacks to ease the moderate route. I took the difficult …

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Slocan – Kootenay Lookout

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.

Brilliant Overlook

An incredibly scenic hike just outside Castlegar! It’s hard work stomping up that trail, but the panoramic views overlooking the Columbia River Valley are well worth it.