This easy hike offers extreme scenery along the blue vista of Kootenay Lake. With access to multiple beaches of smooth pebbles and clear water, Pilot Peninsula is a choice day hike!
Map: Pilot Bay Provincial Park (note: the trail goes beyond park boundaries)
Trailhead: Pilot Bay Road, close to the Kootenay Bay ferry landing
Distance, round trip: 12.8km
Just five minutes from the ferry, south on Pilot Bay Road. There isn’t heaps of parking, but we saw only a handful of other park visitors on our sunny weekend hike.
Up and Along
The trail is a pleasant forest walk, keeping with sight of the lake. There are a few up-and-downs, but these are spaced out enough that it is a pretty easy hike.
At 1.8km the trail branches off down to the Sawmill Cove wilderness campground and not far beyond the junction is the first pebble beach. At 3.5km, you reach Boomer’s Landing, the second pebble beach. These are nice destinations for shorter hikes, but we pressed on.
The Final Beach
Just past Boomer’s Landing, you leave park boundaries but the trail carries on. In this last stretch, it is slightly more challenging, a little narrower, a little elevation gained and lost. The turn-off to the final beach at 6.4km is easy to miss, but well worth the journey.
We spent a good long break here, munching on lunch, watching fish swirl, skipping stones. Even dipping feet in the water.
The beach pebbles are smooth and round and glittery. The view is stunning.
Bonus: Pilot Bay Lighthouse
After our trek back to the car, we drove further up Pilot Bay Road to see the historical lighthouse that overlooks the lake. This was a worthwhile detour.
The lighthouse is charming and – most importantly – it isn’t all boarded up! It is open to explore! Yup, you can unlatch the door and climb your way up two sets of ladder-stairs to the lookout at the top.