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.
Trailhead: Garrity Creek FSR Distance, round trip: 4.14km Elevation: +153m Season: mid-May to late October Difficulty: Easy
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.
Trailhead: McPhee Forest Service Road Distance, round trip: 7.66km Elevation: +215m Season: mid-April to early November Difficulty: Easy
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.
Trailhead: Aaron Road Distance, round trip: 5.7km Elevation: +182m Season: late March to late November Difficulty: Easy
A scenic trail that contours through open slopes full of flowers and huckleberries, edging towards stunning Glacier View Peak and the Woodbury Glacier. This trail is well worth the trip if you book a night at Woodbury Cabin.
Trailhead: Woodbury-Fletcher FSR Distance, round trip: 16.7km Elevation: +868m Season: mid-July to late September Difficulty: Moderate
A challenging wilderness trail across the Purcell mountain range. The Earl Grey Pass trail is a historic route featuring glaciers, waterfalls, cable cars, and massive old growth cedars. This epic trek is not for the faint of heart – with rough and hazardous terrain, you need to be a tough backpacker, ready for the kind of suffering that comes with a big adventure.
Trailheads: Toby Creek FSR (Invermere) and Argenta Road (Argenta) Distance, one way: 70.4km Elevation: +1896m (East to West) or +2331 (West to East) Season: mid-July to late September Difficulty: Challenging
The trail to Silver Spray Cabin just goes up and up and up. Up through the forest, up along Silver Spray Creek, up around Clover Basin. The reward is an alpine cabin situated in a beautiful basin of lakes and meadows and peaks.
Trailhead: Woodbury-Fletcher FSR Distance, round trip: 14.4km Elevation: +1072m Season: mid-July to late September Difficulty: Difficult
The Fry Creek Canyon Trail has suffered from recent mudslides along the canyon wall, significantly shortening the route during spring run-off. But it’s still a worthwhile destination if you’re already visiting the north end of Kootenay Lake!
Trailhead: Houston Road, Johnson’s Landing Distance, round trip: 10.9km Elevation: +370m Season: mid-April to early November Difficulty: Easy
Tighten your hiking boots and prepare for an incredibly steep trail that ascends to a panoramic overlook of Kootenay Lake. Head further up the trail to explore an old growth cedar forest and reach Fishhook Lake.
Trailhead: Highway 31 Distance, round trip: 8.8km Elevation: +700m Season: late May to late October Difficulty: Difficult
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.
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.