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    Pulpit Rock Hike

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    3.5 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    325 m
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    Directions to Trailhead

    Pulpit Rock is a 3.5 km out-and-back hiking route in Nelson, BC that climbs uphill through a serene forest of pine trees to reach a rocky bluff overlooking the city. Along the trail, you will be able to experience the peaceful forest setting and climb up a series of switchbacks before enjoying the sweeping views across the water, city, and surrounding mountains. This is a popular lookout, and parking is limited, so make sure to arrive early to beat the crowds.

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    Route Description for Pulpit Rock Hike

    The hike to Pulpit Rock is a great uphill route through the forest that will give you an amazing sightline over the city of Nelson and a bit of a leg burn in the process. While the trail isn’t overly difficult, there is a 325 m elevation gain that will give you a decent workout without making you feel too exhausted to enjoy the spectacular views. Along the trail you can expect to traverse some uneven forest terrain, making hiking footwear a necessity to keep the best footing along your hike. Make sure to arrive early, as the scenic views from the rocky bluff are a popular destination and parking is limited.

    As previously mentioned, this is an amazing hiking route that will provide you with some spectacular views overlooking the picturesque waters of Kootenay Lake, the city of Nelson, and the surrounding Selkirk Mountains. The trail itself passes through a tranquil pine forest and traverses a switchback trail until you reach the scenic lookout at the rocky bluff known as Pulpit Rock. While the trail does involve a bit of an uphill climb, the terrain is manageable enough to make this a great trek through the woods for hikers of almost every skill level, including families of young kids. If you are looking for breathtaking views of the Nelson area with a moderate challenge, then the hike to Pulpit Rock should be on your list.

    Setting out from Johnstone Road, enter into the thick forest cover and begin your climb uphill along the series of switchbacks that will take you to the lookout. Courtesy of the community, there are some hiking poles that can be used to help you throughout the trail, so long as you return them after you’ve completed your hike.

    Working your way uphill through the peaceful atmosphere of the forest you will need to traverse several steep and narrow sections of trail. Make sure to allow passing hikers plenty of room to make their way safely up or down the hill.

    When you reach the top of the last switchback, your direction will turn to the southwest and you will arrive at a series of junctions in the trail. Keep left at each of these forks in order to arrive at the rocky lookout point of Pulpit Rock. From here, you will have a breathtaking view of the city of Nelson and the western arm of Lake Kootenay below you, as well as the rugged beauty of the forested selkirk mountains. After taking in the views of “The Queen City”, make your way down the trail and remember to return your hiking poles if you’ve borrowed them, before arriving back at the parking area having completed the hike to Pulpit Rock.

    Insider Hints for Pulpit Rock Hike

    • Arrive early to secure parking.
    • Take advantage of the community-offered hiking poles and return them after your hike.
    • This trail has some uneven terrain, so make sure to wear hiking footwear.

    Getting to the Pulpit Rock Hike Trailhead

    To get to the parking area for Pulpit Rock from Nelson, head north on BC-3A for 1.8 km and turn left on Johnstone Road. Continue for 2.2 km to find the trailhead on the right.

    Route Information

    • When to do


    • Backcountry Campsites


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Pulpit Rock Hike Elevation Graph

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