With summery temperatures pushing +30, the snow-line is finally receding higher into the mountains and more shoulder-season hikes are opening up.
The wildflowers on the Flagpole trail above Nelson are absolutely fantastic right now. Red paintbrush, blue delphinium, and huge clusters of yellow balsamroot, as well as many more are blanketing the open sections of the trail!
Looking down along the Kootenay River
Hiking back towards Nelson
The Deer Point Trail is an incredibly scenic hike that traces the high bluffs above Christina Lake. The trail is smoothly graded and winds through ponderosa forest, opening up to big views of the lakeshore below.
Trailhead: East Shore Road, Texas Creek Provincial Park
Map: Gladstone Provincial Park
Distance, Round Trip: 13.8km
The Montrose Antenna Trail is a short shoulder-season hike with scenic views of the Columbia River Valley. The trail network includes options to make a smaller loop on the Antenna Trail or to climb higher on the Flagpole Trail extension.
Trailhead: 5th St, Village of Montrose
Distance, Round Trip: 3.2km (Antenna Loop) or 5.1km (Flagpole Trail & traverse)
Elevation: +217m (Antenna Loop) or +307m (Flagpole Trail)
The snow is going fast at lake-level with the mild spring temperatures, and that has opened up a couple of great shoreline hikes! These two trails are now snow-free and ready for exploring:
View along Pilot Peninsula Trail from March 17, 2018
Following the CBC Tower trail takes you to the very summit of Mount Nelson (or Elephant Mountain as some locals affectionately call it). It’s a difficult hike with significant elevation, but it’s scenic and close to home! At each milestone, the City of Nelson shrinks further below and more and more peaks enfold from the distant valleys.
Map: Pulpit Rock Trail Network
Trailhead: Pulpit Rock Trailhead, Johnstone Road, Nelson
Distance, Round Trip: 14.1km
It was a beautiful day to hike up to the flagpole above Pulpit Rock. The fall leaves are at their peak right now and Nelson is full of colour!
The flagpole trail has had a number of improvements this season, including the development of new switchbacks to ease the moderate route. I took the difficult route up just to change things up. The grade is much steeper, and there are sections that involve scrambling up rocky bluffs! Nevertheless, the views up the difficult trail are very good with a constant panorama of Nelson below.
Looking down the Kootenay River Valley towards the Playmor Junction
It was a good plan. We were going to hike Jumbo Pass and Monica Meadows over the Thanksgiving long weekend, ending the hiking season in a blaze of glorious, golden larches. Sadly, Air Canada had other ideas.
I spent a summery September day hiking Gimli Ridge! We hiked this trail last year under ominous active weather, but today the Valhallas were sunny and warm and cheerful.
Some other improvements over last year’s excursion:
- More goats! We met a large, male mountain goat gallomping down the trail to Mulvey Basin.
- Bannock Road is freshly graded, accessible by 2WD low clearance, thanks to a new logging operation near the trailhead. The car-sized boulder has been removed from the road.
- BC Parks has installed a new and exciting toilet at the campsite on the saddle. Nice to see some upgrades, worrisome to see a conveyor-belt used in such a manner.
Welcome to the West Kootenay’s latest and greatest hike! The Lost Mountain trail offers highway access and a steady workout. Most of this hike is done in the forest, but the final ridge and summit are worth the effort!
Trailhead: Highway 3 (Crowsnest), Kootenay Pass
Distance, Round Trip: 10.6km
Ymir Mountain is renown for its powder, but it’s also a perfectly hike-able summer excursion. Achieving the summit involves getting off trail to traverse the boulders and scree in the Ymir Bowl, but the reward is ridge-line hiking with spectacular views!
Trailhead: Whitewater Ski Hill Road
Distance, Round Trip: 6.7km