Hiking in the Columbia Valley

Looking at a map of the Columbia Valley, you can’t help but notice the expansive network of trails that spider across the vast terrain. For many locals in the Columbia Valley, exploring valley bottoms, over mountain passes and across alpine meadows have become more than just a pastime.

Hiking provides an opportunity for individuals to interact and experience the environment in an immersive way. We have curated a collection of local trails for individuals looking to embrace nature and all its wonder.

COBB LAKE TRAIL

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Length
: 5.4km roundtrip
Time: 2 hours
Directions to Trailhead:
Head East from Radium Hot Springs onto Highway 93 for 29km near the Kootenay Valley Viewpoint. Signage for the trailhead will be on the right-hand side.

Cobb Lake is considered a hidden gem by many of the Locals in Radium Hot Springs. Located just off of Highway 93, this trail offers gentle switchbacks down the side of the valley to Swede Creek. Here you will roam through an open forest of lodgepole pine and white spruce, and take in the pristine views of Cobb Lake and Sinclair Mountain.

SINCLAIR CANYON

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Length:
6km
Time:
2 hours
Directions to Trailhead:
This hike begins from an obscure and exposed trail-head tucked into the side of Sinclair Canyon near the Park’s West Gate or above the Radium Hot Springs Pools main parking.

This interpretive trail offers a series of stunning vistas showcasing the Village of Radium Hot Springs and the Purcell Mountains. The full loop is roughly around 12-kilometres, but with a wide variety of diverse and interconnected trails you can adjust the distance, elevation and time spent to suit the needs of your group.

Image Courtesy of Tourism Radium

 

DOG LAKE TRAIL

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Length:
5.2km roundtrip
Time: 1.5 hours
Directions to Trailhead: Head East from Radium Hot Springs onto Highway 93 for 30km. Signage for the trailhead will be on the right-hand side.

If you’re looking for an easy hike – Dog Lake trail is the trail for you! Starting at McLeod Meadows Campground the trail crosses the raging Kootenay River over two suspension bridges, then takes a forested route overlooking a scenic lake and the peaks of Mitchell range.

PAINT POTS

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Length:
2km roundtrip
Time: 40 minutes
Directions to Trailhead:
Travel North on Highway 93 from Radium Hot Springs for 86-kilometers to the Paint Pots parking lot.

This trail is a great way to stretch your legs. This short and sweet 2km hike takes you over the crystal-clear waters for Vermillion River through a lush forest to a meadow. Soon after you will discover interpretive signs describing the history of the First Nations who used the iron-rich ochre for body paint.

OLD COACH TRAIL

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Length:
9km
Time: 3 hours
Directions to Trailhead
: The northernmost access is located in Radium at the southern end of Main Street West, accessible to hikers and bikers. A small parking area is available to vehicles, accessible right off Highway 93/95 just a moment’s drive south of the village.

Winding along the Columbia River, the Old Coach Trail runs between Radium Hot Springs and Dry Gulch; offering expansive views of evergreen forests and sandstone bluffs (also known as hoodoos). Perfect for the whole family to bike or hike, it winds along with the benchlands of the Columbia River, offering picturesque views of the Columbia Valley Wetlands.

Image Courtesy of Tourism Radium

STANLEY GLACIER

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Length:
9km
Time: 5-7 hours
Directions to Trailhead:
Take Highway 93 east from Radium Hot Springs for 91 kilometres to the Stanley Glacier parking lot.

There’s something spectacular about getting close to ancient compacted ice and snow. After you cross the Vermillion River you then switchback through the pine forest. The benefits of this hike are that you can see the glacier from almost any vantage point on the hike, but as you get closer you will spot mini-waterfalls cascading down the cliffs of the south wall. There is a fantastic spot at the top of the bluff to eat lunch and marvel in the panoramic view of mountain peaks.

SWANSEA SUMMIT


Level of Difficulty:
Moderate
Length:
6.23km – 14km
Time: 3-5 hours
Directions to Trailhead:
From the traffic lights on Highway 93/95 at the Invermere junction, travel 6km south on Highway 93. Turn left on Windermere Loop Road. Turn right on Swansea Mountain Forest Service Road. Cross over Westrock Mine Road and you will see a parking area on your left about 200 meters up the road.

The first trail to the summit of Mount Swansea was originally constructed to service a copper mining operation just below the summit of the mountain. There are two variations that can be on Swansea: The south ridge trail and the loop to the communications towers. The communications tower trail offers a shorter 6km round trip, while the south ridge trail is approximately 14km with a 745-meter elevation gain. The summit offers 360-degree panoramic views of the surrounding lakes, valley and mountains. If you’re lucky, you may witness a paraglider as they launch to catch the thermals from the valley below.

Image Courtesy of Destination BC and Kari Medig

LAKE OF THE HANGING GLACIER

Level of Difficulty:  Moderate
Length:
17.2 km
Time: 7-9 hours
Directions to Trailhead:
From the traffic lights on Highway 93/95 at the Invermere junction, go west into Invermere. In 2.6 km, turn right onto Panorama Drive. Just after the Toby Creek Bridge, turn right toward Wilmer. In 7km, turn right on to Main Street driving through Wilmer onto Westside Road. In 17.8km, turn left onto Horsethief Forest Service Road. In 56km turn right at the fork (besides the 27K marker sign). Follow the road for 49km and take the right fork to cross over the bridge. The trailhead parking lot is located at 57km.

If you are looking to experience a classic wilderness hike, The Lake of the Hanging Glaciers is for you. This is one of the most popular hiking trails in the area, taking you across numerous creeks, moderate switchbacks, and gradual climbs through alpine meadows before you reaching the north shore of the lake with the sharp glacier on the opposite short.

Image Courtesy of Destination BC and Kari Medig

KINDERSLEY PASS TRAIL

Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Length:
17.5km
Time:
6 hours
Directions to Trailhead: Take Highway 93 east of Radium Hot Springs for 11 kilometers to the Sinclair Creek Parking Lot.

This hike takes about 4-5 hours and features fabulous views of the local mountains, including Devil’s Tooth, Mount Sinclair and Mount Kindersley. The initial part of this trail is heavily wooded, but after 2.2km, an avalanche chute opens up the trail to a kaleidoscope of brightly coloured flowers.

JUMBO PASS

Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Hiking Time:
11km
Time:
5-7 hours
Directions to Trailhead:
Head west on Athalmer Road toward Invermere. After you cross the railway tracks overpass at 2.6 km, turn right on to Panorama Drive/Toby Creek Road and continue on past Panorama Mountain Resort. At 41km take the right fork on to Jumbo Creek Forest Service Road 15km until reaching the trailhead parking lot.

Located on the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa Nation, the Jumbo Pass trail head offers beautiful views of alpine ridges covered in larch and surrounded by peaks and glaciers. You will find that the trails are covered with a number of logs and planks to keep your feet dry and protect the fragile ecosystem. Continue on to the Jumbo Pass Cabin, which is located another 10 minutes down the trail for unapparelled views from Horseshoe Glacier to the Lieutenants and Jumbo and Karnak Mountains.

Image Courtesy of Tourism Radium and David Gluns

With so many ways to take in the outdoors, this region of British Columbia, no doubt, will ignite your passion for nature.  We look forward to welcoming all visitors to Bighorn Meadows Resort.