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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 41 to 51 of 51
      Open details for Mount Sabine Lookout Trail

      Mount Sabine Lookout Trail

      5.0 km
      209 m

      The Mount Sabine Lookout Trail is a 5.0 km out-and-back hiking route in Canal Flats, BC, that takes you along the forested southern slope of Mount Sabine to reach a scenic viewpoint overlooking the Kootenay River Valley. From there, you will have a great sightline over the town of Canal Flats, Columbia Lake, and the Purcell Mountains off in the distance. This trail offers quick access to some spectacular views, without the grind of a more difficult hiking route.

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      Open details for Columbia Lake Lookout

      Columbia Lake Lookout

      13.7 km
      285 m

      The Columbia Lake Lookout is a 13.7 km point-to-point hiking route northwest of Canal Flats, BC, that will lead you through a variety of terrain with nice views overlooking Columbia Lake and the Kootenay River Valley. This intermediate-length trail features easy-to-navigate terrain through forested and cleared areas with only small changes in elevation, making this route suitable for hikers of all skill levels. As this is a point-to-point trail, you will need to either arrange a pick up at the end of your journey or hike along the road for about 3.0 km to reach the trailhead.

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      Open details for Baldy Lake Trail

      Baldy Lake Trail

      9.8 km
      546 m

      The Baldy Lake Trail is a 9.8 km out-and-back hiking route in British Columbia near the Canada-United States border that will take you uphill through the forest to the tranquil waters of a small subalpine lake. Along the route, you will hike through picturesque meadows, serene forests, and exposed trails with mountain views before you arrive at the lake. As with most backcountry hikes in BC, make sure to bring bear spray and create noise while out on the trail in order to avoid any potentially dangerous encounters with bears or mountain lions.

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      Open details for Moose Creek Loop

      Moose Creek Loop

      8.9 km
      236 m

      The Moose Creek Loop is an 8.9km lollipop hiking route through the forests south of Cranbrook that features easily traversable terrain and a wonderful forest atmosphere. Located within the South Star Recreation Area, this trail features a small gain in elevation and is suitable for hikers of most skill levels. Make sure to bring a trail map or GPS, as there are a lot of intersecting trails along the route and it can be easy to take off on the wrong course.

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      Open details for Moyie Lake Area Trail

      Moyie Lake Area Trail

      2.3 km
      56 m

      The Moyie Lake Area trail is a 2.3 km lollipop hiking route south of Cranbrook that takes you on a winding path through the forest with some nice views overlooking Moyie Lake from the trailhead. Featuring easy-to-navigate trails and fairly flat terrain, this route is perfectly suited for hikers of all skill levels. Combine this hike with an overnight stay in the Moyie Lake Campground and you have a recipe for a great weekend of adventuring in the outdoors.

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      Open details for Cooper Lake Trail

      Cooper Lake Trail

      4.0 km
      138 m

      The Cooper Lake Trail is a 4.0 km out-and-back hiking route near Cranbrook, BC, that follows closely along an old logging flume from the 1920s to reach the heavily wooded shores of Cooper Lake. Along the trail, you will experience an amazing forest atmosphere as you make your way through the dense tree cover to the tranquil shores of the lake. This trail is great for those who love meandering through the forest, as well as anyone with an interest in the logging history of the area.

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      Open details for Pyramid Creek Loop

      Pyramid Creek Loop

      19.6 km
      1,626 m

      The Pyramid Creek Loop is a challenging 19.6 km lollipop hiking route west of Kimberley, BC, that will take you into the subalpine terrain for some spectacular views of the surrounding mountain peaks. From the top of the ridge, you will have a sightline that reaches across the valley and town of Kimberley below. With a large amount of elevation gain and technical terrain, this route is best left for more experienced hikers.

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      Open details for Marysville Falls

      Marysville Falls

      Very Easy
      0.5 km
      15 m

      Marysville Falls is a short 0.5 km out-and-back hiking route in Marysville, BC that offers a pleasant stroll along a forested creek that eventually brings you to the picturesque sight of a cascading waterfall. With a short overall distance and flat terrain, this trail is suitable for hikers of all skill levels. Make sure to bring microspikes and/or hiking poles in the shoulder seasons as the trail can become very icy.

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      Open details for Kimberley Nordic Centre Trail

      Kimberley Nordic Centre Trail

      8.4 km
      202 m

      The Kimberley Nordic Centre Trail is an 8.4 km hiking circuit in Kimberley, BC, that will take you through a fun stretch of rolling forest terrain to several vantage points with views overlooking the valley. While the overall elevation gain is pretty small, the route is made up of numerous climbs and drops that keep the hike interesting throughout. This trail is an option for catching some quick exercise and taking in the beautiful views of the landscape surrounding the city.

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      Open details for Mount Wapiti

      Mount Wapiti

      9.7 km
      1,122 m

      The Mount Wapiti Trail is a challenging 9.7 km out-and-back hiking route in Elkford, BC that will take you up to the summit of the most visible peak from the town. Along the trail, you will climb uphill along the ski hill before working your way onto the ridge and pushing up the rocky summit for some breathtaking views of the surrounding Rocky Mountains. There are two distinct peaks on Mount Wapiti; however, the taller north peak is the true summit and will allow you to get the best views possible of the surrounding landscape.

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      Open details for Saddleback Ridge Trail

      Saddleback Ridge Trail

      15.5 km
      1,656 m

      The Saddleback Ridge Trail is a 15.5 km out-and-back hiking route in Premier Lake Provincial Park that will take hikers on a steep uphill climb through the forest to reach the ridge. From the top of the trail, you will experience some breathtaking views that stretch out across the valley and look down on the blue waters of Premier Lake below. Make sure to bring bear spray, travel in groups, and make lots of noise along the trail, as bears are frequently spotted in the area.

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