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    east kootenays

    Hikes in East Kootenays

    Region in British Columbia, Canada

    Nestled in the southeast corner of British Columbia, the East Kootenays are a vast region that is characterized by rugged mountain ranges, lush river valleys, and beautifully scenic meadows. Dominated by the Rocky Mountain Trench, and flanked by both the Purcell and Rocky mountain ranges, this is a dramatic landscape that offers a wealth of opportunities for exploring the wilderness.

    Located within relatively close proximity to a number of popular national, provincial, and regional parks; it is little wonder why the East Kootenays are such a great gateway for exploring this rugged corner of BC. Towns like Fernie, Cranbrook, Invermere, and Kimberley all provide easy access to great accommodations and countless outdoor activities, ensuring that your next trip to the East Kootenays will be an action-packed and memorable experience.

    The 10 Greatest Hikes in the East Kootenays

    While the terrain of the East Kootenays may seem a bit rough and daunting, the region as a whole offers a great selection of hiking trails that are suitable for all ages and skill levels. Whether you are looking to hike along the banks of the powerful Kootenay River, trek through the rugged mountains of Top of the World Provincial Park, or take a leisurely stroll to one of the relaxing hot springs in Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park, you will be sure to find countless trails that will perfectly suit your next adventure. If you aren’t sure where to get started, check out this list of some great East Kootenay hikes that we’ve put together below:

    • Lussier Hot Springs: This quick and easy trail isn’t really much of a hike, but it will take you to a relaxing set of hot springs along the Lussier River. Arrive early to beat the crowds and walk the short distance along the path to access the restorative waters of the thermal pools set in a picturesque woodland setting.
    • Ram Creek Hot Springs: This adventure to a different hot spring is longer and will require a bit more of an effort in the hiking department; however, the stunning views of nearby mountains makes for the perfect setting when you slip into the thermal pools to relax after a long hike.
    • Bee Line Trail: This quick hike in Cranbrook will take you through a charming forest to an awesome vantage point overlooking the town and nearby Rocky Mountains. The easy to navigate nature of the trail and favourable terrain make this great for a family adventure.
    • Fish Lake: The hike to Fish Lake is an amazing adventure that will allow you to take in the natural beauty of Top of the World Provincial Park. After hiking through the forest along the Lussier River, you will end up at the quiet shores of Fish Lake that are surrounded by rugged mountain peaks.
    • Dewar Creek Hot Springs: This lengthy out-and-back journey will take you through the rugged backcountry of the Purcell Mountains to reach a beautiful setting with hot springs. The trail might be a bit on the overgrown side, but the amazing views and relaxing thermal pools at the end are more than enough of a reward.
    • Lake of the Hanging Glacier: Hiking this trail is a technical adventure that will lead you uphill through challenging terrain to reach a stunning glacial lake with gorgeous views of nearby mountain peaks. You will need a 4x4 vehicle to access this route.
    • Moe's Canyon Loop: This quick hiking route near Kimberley is a bit overgrown, but the charming forest setting and rocky terrain of the surrounding area make for a fun day out on a network of trails that can be enjoyed by all.
    • Mount Stevens and Teepee Mountain: Although this relentless trail east of Wasa will see you work your way uphill through some gruelling terrain, the views of the surrounding alpine landscape will be an ample reward for your efforts. This is another route that is set in the backcountry, making a 4x4 vehicle necessary to reach the trailhead.
    • Chief Isadore Trail: Running parallel to the winding banks of the Kootenay River, the Chief Isadore trail is a fantastic hiking route that will provide breathtaking views of the mountains across the valley. This is a one-way adventure, so be sure to plan a pick up ahead of time.
    • Chisel Peak: This 13.8 km out-and-back is a rugged climb through some rocky terrain that will take you up to the summit of the peak. Here, you will experience amazingly scenic views overlooking nearby mountains and the Columbia Valley.

    When is the Best Time to Hike in East Kootenays?

    As with most areas in and around the Canadian Rockies, the best time to hike in the East Kootenays is during the summer months. During the early June to end of September window, most of the higher-elevation trails in the region will be free of snow and the hot conditions will be sure to keep trail conditions safe and dry. This also means that the hiking routes will be busiest at this time, so if you don’t mind taking a chance on the weather, you could always aim for the late spring/early fall. At these times, temperatures will be a bit cooler and weather will be more of a factor; however, the opportunities for viewing wildlife and other natural phenomena like waterfalls will bring a whole other level of excitement to your hiking adventure.

    Other Outdoor Activities in the East Kootenays

    The East Kootenay region covers a massive area in southeastern BC and as a result there will be no shortage of amazing outdoor activities that you can take part in. Summer here will provide access to countless hiking and mountain bike trails, canoe/kayak excursions, mountaineering treks, and fishing expeditions. If you are more interested in winter sports, you will no doubt be happy with the amazing selection of ski slopes, snowshoeing trails, and ice climbing opportunities on offer here. No matter the season, you will always be able to relax after a long day of exploring in the East Kootenays with a soak in one of the region’s many hot springs.

    Frequently Asked Questions About the East Kootenays

    What is considered the East Kootenays?

    The East Kootenay region in southeastern British Columbia is generally accepted to include the valley of the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers, stretching from Golden to the Canada-United States border. On its east and west sides, the region is flanked by the Rocky and Purcell mountain ranges respectively.

    What are the Kootenay Mountains?

    The Kootenay Rockies aren’t a single range of mountains in themselves, rather, they are comprised of the Rocky, Purcell, Selkirk, and Monashee mountain ranges.

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    Best Hikes in East Kootenays

    Showing 21 to 40 of 51
      Open details for Magic Line Trail

      Magic Line Trail

      Moderate
      7.2 km
      278 m
      2-3h

      The Magic Line Trail is a 7.2 km lollipop hiking route in Kimberley, BC, that will take you along some undulating terrain with spectacular views overlooking the valley and the Rocky Mountains off in the distance. This trail is well-work, making it easy to traverse and navigate; however, a strong network of intersecting trails means that you should bring a GPS to stay on the correct path. This hike is a great way to experience the natural beauty and picturesque scenery of Kimberley.

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      Open details for Findlay Falls Trail

      Findlay Falls Trail

      Very Easy
      1.0 km
      33 m
      0.5h

      The Findlay Falls Trail is a 1.0 km out-and-back hiking route near Canal Flats that will take you through the forest to reach a viewpoint overlooking the rocky and rugged waterfall. Along the trail, you will experience a peaceful forest setting and hike alongside the rushing waters of Findlay Creek, making for a fun day of sightseeing. Try timing this hike for the spring when water levels are higher and the falls seem to almost burst from the torrent rushing downstream.

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      Open details for Boivin Creek Trail

      Boivin Creek Trail

      Moderate
      8.5 km
      580 m
      3-4.5h

      The Boivin Creek Trail is an 8.5 km out-and-back hiking route in Elkford that follows a cross-country skiing route through the woods to explore the natural beauty to the west of the town. The route is made up largely of old logging roads, making it an accessible route that is easy to navigate. If you are looking for a longer journey, try exploring some of the different trails that branch off from the main route.

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      Open details for Spirit Trail Loop

      Spirit Trail Loop

      Moderate
      16.3 km
      450 m
      4-6h

      The Spirit Trail Loop is a 16.3 km hiking circuit in the East Side Columbia Lake Wildlife Management Area, near Fairmont Hot Springs that will take you through beautiful forests and meadows along the eastern shore of the water. Along the hike, you will experience an amazing forest setting, as well as stunning views across the lake with the rugged Purcell Mountains in the backdrop. This hike is a perfect option if you are looking to stroll through nature for a few hours without any real difficulty.

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      Open details for Wasa Lake Campground Loop

      Wasa Lake Campground Loop

      Easy
      2.9 km
      106 m
      1h

      The Wasa Lake Campground Loop is a 2.9 km lollipop hiking route in Wasa, BC that will take you up a gentle slope through the forest to experience some scenic views overlooking Wasa Lake. Along this family-friendly trail, hikers will experience a peaceful forest setting and an amazing view from the top of the trail that stretches across the valley with the lake in the forefront. Make sure to grab a brochure near the trailhead for some interesting information on the local plant and animal life.

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      Open details for Cranbrook Mountain Trail

      Cranbrook Mountain Trail

      Moderate
      8.9 km
      766 m
      3.5-5h

      The Cranbrook Mountain Trail is an 8.9 km out-and-back hiking route near Cranbrook, BC, that will take you on a grind up the mountain for some views overlooking the Kootenay River Valley. Although the trail isn’t very technical or difficult, it does feature 766 m of elevation gain that is pretty near constant until you reach the summit. Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks to stay fuelled up while out on this tough uphill climb.

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      Open details for Idlewild Lake Loop

      Idlewild Lake Loop

      Very Easy
      1.1 km
      24 m
      0.5h

      The Idlewild Lake Loop is a 1.1 km lollipop hiking route in Cranbrook, BC that skirts around the edges of this charming woodland lake and provides the opportunity to spot wildlife. This is a family-friendly trail that features very little changes in elevation and is made up of paved pathways, making it ideal for hikers of every skill level. Make sure to arrive early for this hike, as it is a popular nature walk, and parking spaces can become limited.

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      Open details for Cranbrook Roller Coaster

      Cranbrook Roller Coaster

      Moderate
      14.5 km
      600 m
      4-6h

      The Cranbrook Roller Coaster is a 14.5 km lollipop hiking route that traverses the undulating terrain to the east of the city and provides some nice views looking out across the valley. Hikers along the trail will experience various terrain types, including rolling meadows, tranquil forest, and rocky pathways. This multi-use route is also popular with mountain bikers, so keep your eyes peeled and allow any cyclists to safely pass you along the trail.

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      Open details for Sylvan Trail Loop

      Sylvan Trail Loop

      Easy
      4.8 km
      147 m
      1.5-2h

      The Sylvan Trail Loop is a 4.8 km lollipop hiking route in Cranbrook, BC, that will allow you to explore the beautiful forests to the east of the city before arriving at the picturesque shores of Sylvan Lake. Once there, hikers will enjoy amazingly scenic views of the meadows surrounding the lake that are framed by thick forests and rugged mountain peaks in the backdrop. Make sure to arrive early or at off-peak times, as parking for this hike can be limited at popular times.

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      Open details for Chewbacca Rocka to Eager Hills Lookout

      Chewbacca Rocka to Eager Hills Lookout

      Moderate
      11.1 km
      397 m
      3-4.5h

      The Chewbacca Rocka to Eager Hills Lookout is a fantastic hiking circuit in Cranbrook, BC, that will take you through the Cranbrook Community Forest Recreation Site to an amazing viewpoint overlooking the Kootenay River Valley. The trail consists of well-maintained pathways that can be quite steep in some sections, making it a great trek for casual and experienced hikers alike. From the rocky lookout, you will be able to spot Mount Fisher and The Steeples to the east.

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      Open details for Eager Hill via Waterpark Trail

      Eager Hill via Waterpark Trail

      Easy
      3.4 km
      186 m
      1-1.5h

      The Eager Hill via Waterpark Trail is a scenic lollipop hiking route that winds 3.4 km through the Cranbrook Community Forest Recreation Site to reach a lovely vantage point with spectacular views. Hikers utilizing this trail will experience a peaceful forest setting, as well as a sightline that stretches across the Kootenay River Valley toward the rugged expanse of the Canadian Rockies. Although short and fairly easy, some steep sections of trail along this may restrict mobility for some hikers.

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      Open details for Isadore Canyon Loop

      Isadore Canyon Loop

      Moderate
      5.8 km
      133 m
      1.5-2h

      The Isadore Canyon Loop is a 5.8 km hiking circuit to the east of Cranbrook that traverses a mix of forested trails and rugged canyon terrain to reach two scenic viewpoints overlooking the valley. From the viewpoints, you will have a spectacular sightline that stretches east across the Kootenay River Valley towards the imposing Canadian Rockies that dominate the landscape. As parts of this trail are fairly new, hikers should make sure to bring a trail map or GPS in order to stay on the correct path.

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      Open details for Moyie Falls

      Moyie Falls

      Easy
      2.3 km
      107 m
      0.5-1h

      Making the trek to Moyie Falls will see hikers utilize a 2.3 km out-and-back hiking route near Cranbrook, BC, that follows closely alongside the rushing waters of the Moyie River until you reach the viewpoint overlooking the falls. The trail is relatively flat and short, making it accessible for hikers of almost any skill level. Timing this hike for the early spring will allow you to experience the full glory of the gushing waterfall, while doing it in the winter will allow you to view the cascading water after it has been frozen in place, encasing the massive rock formation of the falls with a sheet of ice.

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      Open details for Silver Springs Trail

      Silver Springs Trail

      Easy
      1.8 km
      102 m
      0.5-1h

      The Silver Springs trail is a 1.8 km out-and-back hiking route near Elko, BC, that will take you through the forest to the pristine waters of Silver Spring Lake. Here, hikers can explore the area around the lake or simply relax by the water and watch adventurous cliff jumpers vault themselves into the water. Hikers looking to extend their hike can continue along the trail to the south to visit two smaller lakes nestled further into the canyon.

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      Open details for Silver Creek Cliffs

      Silver Creek Cliffs

      Moderate
      8.9 km
      420 m
      2.5-4h

      The trek to the Silver Creek Cliffs is an 8.9 km out-and-back hiking route that will take you up to the edge of the cliffs with amazing views looking out over the Silver Spring Lakes and Mount Broadwood in the backdrop. The trail has a moderate incline, but the terrain is relatively easy to traverse, making this a great family hike with spectacular views. Ensure to wear proper hiking footwear, as there are some loose gravel/rocks on the trail that can be tough on the ankles.

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      Open details for Whiteswan North Shore Trail Loop

      Whiteswan North Shore Trail Loop

      Moderate
      20.0 km
      511 m
      5-7h

      The Whiteswan North Shore Trail Loop is a long but amazingly scenic hiking circuit that will allow you to experience the natural beauty of Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park by hiking along the shoreline of the lake. This 20.0 km loop will take you from the edge of Alice Lake on a route to the northeast that passes through the forest and features a sightline across the lake with the amazing mountainous scenery in the backdrop. Hikers should keep in mind that while dogs are allowed in the park, they are not allowed in the beach areas around the lake.

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      Open details for Cave Creek Campground via North Shore Trail

      Cave Creek Campground via North Shore Trail

      Easy
      2.9 km
      66 m
      0.5-1h

      The Cave Creek Campground via North Shore Trail is a 2.9 km point-to-point hiking route that will take you from the Home Basin Campground at the northern edge of Whiteswan Lake to the Cave Creek Campground on its western shore. Along the route you will experience beautiful views across the blue water of the lake, as you meander down this easy to traverse trail. Although dogs are welcome in Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park, they are not permitted in any beach areas, so take that into account when planning your trip.

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      Open details for Perry Creek Trail

      Perry Creek Trail

      Easy
      2.4 km
      132 m
      1h

      The Perry Creek Trail is a 2.4 km out-and-back hiking route near Cranbrook, BC, that will take you through the forest to visit a vantage point overlooking a waterfall. Along the trail, you will experience a peaceful forest atmosphere as you hike alongside the creek towards the powerful rushing water of the falls. Timing your hike for the spring will make the falls even more impressive with the higher water levels; however, the trail can sometimes become washed out, making travel difficult.

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      Open details for Richmond Lake Trail

      Richmond Lake Trail

      Easy
      3.1 km
      184 m
      1-1.5h

      The Richmond Lake Trail is a 3.1 km out-and-back hiking route near Cranbrook, BC, that will take you through a beautiful stretch of forest and over a small ridge to reach the shores of a picturesque woodland lake. Once at the lake, you will be surrounded by rugged peaks that can be explored to gain an impressive view over the surrounding area. This hike is a great family-friendly option to experience some amazing views and varied terrain.

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      Open details for Ptarmigan Lake Trail

      Ptarmigan Lake Trail

      Moderate
      11.4 km
      572 m
      3.5-5h

      The Ptarmigan Lake Trail is an 11.4 km out-and-back hiking route near Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park that climbs steeply uphill to arrive at the pristine shores of a small alpine lake. Along the trail, you will pass through meadows and forests, before arriving at the water’s edge with a dramatic backdrop of vertical mountain cliffs. This hike offers spectacular views for the moderate amount of effort required to complete it.

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