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Ward’s Ferry Trail

Ward’s Ferry Trail connects the communities of Blewett and Glade with scenic riverside hiking. Before the highway and railroad were built, Ward’s Ferry was the main option for travellers in the 1880’s to cross the Kootenay River. This historical trail passes by the site of the old ferry landing and traces remnants of wagon roads.

Trailhead: McPhee Forest Service Road or Glade Road
Distance, one way: 9.98km
Elevation: +335m (Glade to McPhee)
Season: mid-April to early November
Difficulty: Moderate

Trailhead & Driving Directions

There is a trailhead at either end of the trail – look for the Trans Canada Trail signs as Ward’s Ferry Trail is part of that route.

  1. Rover Creek FSR – Drive 1.5km up from Blewett Rd and watch for the Trans Canada Trail sign on the right.
  2. Glade Road – Turn left after taking the Glade Ferry and drive 1.7km. Park at the Trans Canada Trail sign as the road turns to gravel and begin following the road.

If you’re hiking the entire thing, consider leaving a vehicle in Glade and then shuttling over to Rover Creek FSR. This will allow you to hike the route mainly downhill. Otherwise, considering doing the hike as an out-and-back from Glade and shortening the trail to hike the riverside portion. This will cut off the big ascent and maximize scenery.

Sections of this trail cut along the riverbank with narrow footing and a drop into the strong Kootenay River current.

To Rover Creek

Starting from Blewett, follow the Trans Canada Trail signs through the forest. You’ll edge along some recent clearcuts and then the trail will start to descend towards Rover Creek.

At 1.7km, pass by the fenced Forest Research Plot on the left and then watch the signed junctions as the trail criss-crosses ATV paths and descends to Rover Creek at 2.2km.

Bridge Over Rover Creek

Below the Power Lines

Continue through the forest and then the area opens up to wide fields beneath the power lines. There is a network of routes here, so follow the signed junctions, heading north-west.

Below the power lines

Looking ahead, you’ll see Kootenay River swirling down below and you need to loose that 130m drop in elevation. Follow the trail carefully on its steep descent. You’ll catch views of South Slocan through the trees.

Views along the descent

At 4.05km, the trail levels off in a cedar-hemlock forest and then passes through some marshy sections full of ferns and horsetails.

Along the Kootenay River

Finally, scenic Kootenay River! Follow the trail as it traces the shore and look across at the farms of South Slocan. On calm days, the water is like a mirror here.

There are overgrown fields and abandoned orchards along this side of the river. At 5.7km, a new boardwalk has been constructed to safely pass over the slippery river bank. Stop here and look for the interpretive sign about the mining history and old ferry.

Boardwalk along the Ward’s Ferry Trail


If you’re looking for a lunch spot, watch for the faint junction at 6.7km where a spur on the right goes down to a campfire pit by the river. There are no facilities here, but this is a level spot marked as “campground’ on the trail maps.

The campground

Ending in Glade

Continue following the trail as it edges along the Kootenay River, interchanging with forest and meadow. At 8.10km, the trail ascends to follow an old wagon road as it nears Glade. Follow the signed junctions. You’ll eventually come out to meadows near Glade and reach the end of the trail.

Trail kiosk near Glade, this is down the trail from the parking area

Castlegar Parks & Trails Society

The Castlegar Parks & Trails Society maintains the Ward’s Ferry Trail. If you’ve enjoyed the hike, consider becoming a member, making a donation, or volunteering with them.

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3 years ago

hiked this trail
today. what an adventure. the blow down! there were a least 100 trees down along the trail. we had to scramble over, crawl under, traverse along fallen trees and bush wack around. lost the trail a bunch of times. some spots were
like a giant beaver dam. took about 3
1/2 hrs. (i did it 6 months ago in 2

Trip Date
Last edited 3 years ago by cat
3 years ago

Did this hike today, trail is not maintain at one point. Be prepared to get lost, scramble, jump around trees and get full of scratches because of tree branches. We did this hike in about 4 hours up & down. We parked at Rover Creek and hiked to Glade, then back to Rover. An about 18km round trip. I wouldn’t no recommend to do this trail at the moment.

Trail Conditions
Wild, lots of deadfall, dangerous.