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Elephant Mountain Traverse (CBC Tower)

Going up and over Elephant Mountain is a big day. But sometimes that’s just what you need to break in those boots! This is 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 unfold from the distant valleys.

Summary
Trailhead: Pulpit Rock Trailhead or Lyon’s Bluff Trailhead
Distance, round trip: 13.5km
Elevation: +1120m
Season: mid-May to late October
Difficulty:  Difficult
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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.

Summary
Trailhead: Garrity Creek FSR
Distance, round trip: 4.14km
Elevation: +153m
Season: mid-May to late October
Difficulty:  Easy
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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.

Summary
Trailhead: McPhee Forest Service Road
Distance, round trip: 7.66km
Elevation: +215m
Season: mid-April to early November
Difficulty:  Easy
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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.

Summary
Trailhead: Aaron Road
Distance, round trip: 5.7km
Elevation: +182m
Season: late March to late November
Difficulty:  Easy
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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.

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Sentinel Stomp

The trail up Mount Sentinel is a scenic choice for strong hikers. Edging between rock bluffs, ponderosa pine, and wildflowers, the steep trail leads to a series of stunning viewpoints over the Columbia River Valley.

Summary
Trailhead: Terrance Road
Distance, round trip: 9.3km
Elevation: +863m
Difficulty: Difficult
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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.

Summary
Trailhead: Glade Road
Distance, round trip: 8.2km
Elevation: +184m
Season: mid-April to early November
Difficulty:  Easy
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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.

Summary
Trailhead: Pass Creek Road
Distance, round trip: 6.4km
Elevation: +330m
Season: mid-April to late October
Difficulty:  Moderate

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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.

Summary
Trailhead: McPhee Forest Service Road
Distance, round trip: 6.5km
Elevation: +350m
Season: mid-April to late October
Difficulty:  Moderate

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