Panorama on Jumbo Pass and Horseshoe Glacier hike in West Kootenays
Scenery of hiking trail in West Kootenays, BC

hikes in West Kootenays

Region in British Columbia, Canada
West Kootenay trail map.

The best hikes in the West Kootenays take you to some pretty epic scenery, and this pretty region of the B.C. interior is sure to grow in popularity in the coming years. The West Kootenays include places like Nelson, Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park and more great places to hike.

THE TOP WEST KOOTENAY HIKES

The top hikes in the West Kootenays offer great variety, from remote backcountry wilderness to family-friendly routes right from Nelson. The stunning country in the West Kootenays provides a backdrop of forest, flower filled meadows, and stunning peaks, not to mention a large amount of wildlife (particularly bears!)

  1. Macbeth Glacier/Icefield (13.9km, 1343m, 7-9h): This is the best challenging hike in the West Kootenays. Hike through an enormous variety of terrains until you reach the epic Macbeth Glacier towering above you. Rarely visited by tourists, this is as beautiful a hike as you will find in the West Kootenays.
  2. Mount Loki (11.1km, 1166m, 6.5-8h): Mount Loki is another exceptional hike in the West Kootenays. Mount Loki is best attempted in the height of summer, when it is snow-free. From the summit it feels like you are on top of the world, with the West Kootenays stretching out below you.
  3. Jumbo Pass (12.0km, 942m, 5-7h): The hike to Jumbo Pass is stunning. This is a pretty famous hike thanks to Patagonia’s Jumbo Valley documentary and the indigenous history of the Northern Purcell Range. Here is one of the last remaining wild mountain ranges in B.C. This hike takes you through a stunning valley full of glaciers, meadows and mountain peaks. It is an extremely beautiful place for a hike.
  4. Whitewater Canyon (12.0km, 836m, 5-6.5h): Another classic West Kootenay hike is situated along the inside of Whitewater Canyon. Here you walk through a deep Selkirk valley, up through the meadows and finally reaching alpine lakes. This is a beautiful hike to do during wildflower season in July, or in fall (mid September).
  5. Gwillim Lakes (11.3km, 693m, 5-6.5h): This is a beautiful West Kootenay alpine hike, and is popular thanks to the backcountry campsite located here. Passing by many impressive lakes cradled by mountain peaks the whole way up, this is one of the most beautiful hikes in the Valhallas.
  6. Gimli Ridge (7.3km, 694m, 4-5.5h): Gimli Peak and Ridge is one of the shorter hikes in the Valhallas and has beautiful views throughout. This hike has stunning views of Mulvey Basin, a chance to explore the old forest, enjoy the view of Gimli Peak and bump into a Mountain Goat (or two!).
  7. Kokanee Glacier (16.8km, 614m, 4.5-6h): Hiking to Kokanee Glacier is another classic hike in the West Kootenays. This hike is a beautiful way to explore the wilderness, not too far from the towns of Nelson or Kaslo. Enjoy a swim in the cool Kokanee Lake, the pretty views down valley and wide open meadows filled with marmots.
  8. Idaho Peak (3.4km, 276m, 2-3h): Idaho Peak is a popular West Kootenay hike to do with kids. Enjoy this relatively easy walk along the ridgeline to an old fire lookout. From the top you are rewarded with exceptional views of Slocan Lake and panoramic mountain ranges – you can see as far as Kokanee Glacier just outside of Nelson.
  9. Fry Creek Canyon (8.3km, 414m, 3-5h): Fry Creek Canyon is a great shoulder season hike in the West Kootenays. This trail goes through the forest, ending where Fry Creek pours into Kootenay Lake. The canyon itself is impressive and can be followed for as long as you like.
  10. Pulpit Rock and Flagpole (5.4km, 648m, 1-3h): Pulpit Rock and Flagpole is an easy hike when staying in Nelson. This is a popular hike for a workout or family trip.
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The best hikes in West Kootenays

Scenery on Macbeth Icefield hike in West Kootenays, Canada

01. Macbeth Icefield
Difficulty

13.9km 1,343m 7-10h

The Macbeth Icefield hike in the West Kootenays, is the best hike for those who… Read More

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9.5Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Great scenery on Mount Loki hike in West Kootenays

02. Mount Loki
Difficulty

12.8km 1,166m 7-9h

The Mount Loki hike is a classic West Kootenay Hike. Mount Loki is the highest… Read More

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Scenery of Jumbo Pass and Horseshoe Glacier hike in West Kootenays

03. Jumbo Pass and Horseshoe Glacier
Difficulty

13.0km 942m 5-7h

The Jumbo Pass hike is spectacular. Jumbo Pass, famous from Patagonia’s Jumbo Valley documentary and… Read More

User Rating

9.7Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Great scenery on Whitewater Canyon hike in West Kootenays

04. Whitewater Canyon
Difficulty

16.0km 836m 5-6.5h

The Whitewater Canyon hike take you along the inside of the canyon wall, through a… Read More

User Rating

9.5Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery on Gwillim Lakes hike in West Kootenays

05. Gwillim Lakes
Difficulty

12.5km 789m 5-6.5h

The Gwillim Lakes Hike is a beautiful hike with a large backcountry campsite located at… Read More

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9.7Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery on Gimli Ridge hike in West Kootenays, the Canadian Rockies

06. Gimli Ridge
Difficulty

8.0km 694m 4-5.5h

The Gimli Ridge hike is one of the shorter hikes in the Valhallas, but has… Read More

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9.5Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery on Kokanee Glacier Cabin hike in West Kootenays, the Canadian Rockies

07. Kokanee Glacier Cabin
Difficulty

17.5km 614m 4.5-6h

The Kokanee Glacier Cabin hike is a stunning hike in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. Starting… Read More

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Scenery from Idaho Peak hike in West Kootenays, BC

08. Idaho Peak
Difficulty

3.4km 276m 2-3h

Important Notice: The road leading to Idaho Peak trailhead is currently washed out by a… Read More

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Scenery of Fry Creek Canyon hike in West Kootenays

09. Fry Creek Canyon
Difficulty

8.3km 414m 3-5h

The Fry Creek Canyon hike is a great shoulder season hike through the impressive Fry… Read More

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Scenery of Pulpit Rock & the Flagpole hike in West Kootenays, the Canadian Rockies

10. Pulpit Rock & the Flagpole
Difficulty

6.0km 648m 1-3h

The Pulpit Rock hike, and the optional extension to the Flagpole, is a great hike… Read More

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Yes, there are more than 10

West Kootenays is so beautiful that we can not give you only 10 hikes. So here is a list of bonus hikes in West Kootenays that you should take a look at as well

Plaid Lake and Mt Crawford

11. Plaid Lake and Mt Crawford
Difficulty

13.4km 1,194m 4-5h

Plaid Lake is a beautiful hike with an optional extension to summit Mount Crawford for… Read More

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