A solid trek from the edge of Nelson up into West Arm Provincial Park. The trail winds up in a scenic clearing, looking past Nelson and beyond into the Kootenay River valley.
Trailhead: Svoboda Road
Distance, Round Trip: 11km
Take Elwyn Street in Nelson, up past Shambhala Music Hall, and up to the right as it turns into a gravel road. The trailhead is up by the Great Northern Trail on Svoboda Road. There is lots of parking, no worries.
The Way Up
The Svoboda network contains many trails, but in general it is best to stay off the Black Diamonds. These are challenging routes and there may not always be enough time and space to step out of the way of bikers.
We walked up Svoboda road about 1km, before turning right and taking the Squeeler and Frog Jam trails, weaving up through the woods, until reaching the Svoboda Traverse.
The Svoboda Traverse is a relatively flat trail where most of the other routes branch off. The Traverse crosses Hermitage Creek over the Bealby Trestle Bridge. After about 1km, we took the Log Jam trail, branching off as a steep path to the right.
Log Jam is steep, but it carried us up and out of the woods until we were walking through a hot sunny clearing, full of insects and huckleberry bushes.
The Scenic Viewpoint
The Log Jam trail circles through the logged clearing, until it reaches the scenic bench! We sat for along while up here. The view west looked over the Nelson bridge and into the Kootenay River valley beyond. To the north, we could look down on Six Mile and see the distant patches of last summer’s forest fire. To our disappointment, there were no swooping bluebird darting around the bushes today, but we did see lots of orange butterflies.
And Back Again
You can hike a little loop at the end by carrying on along Log Jam until it ends at the Svoboda Road, way high up. From there, back to the Svoboda Traverse, Frog Jam, Squeeler, and back again on the Svoboda Road until the trailhead. Not a bad hike for half a day!