Ward’s Ferry Trail traces the Kootenay River and connects Blewett to Glade. A good chunk of it is scenic riverside hiking. A good chunk of it is also a long slog in the woods.
Trailhead: Rover Creek FSR (Blewett) or Glade Road (Glade)
Distance, One Way: 8km
In the 1880s, Tom Ward ferried people and supplies across the Kootenay River to the Nelson District mines. Ward’s Ferry Trail, opened in 2004, passes by the old ferry landing and also follows part of an old wagon route.
This is a connector trail, so there are trailheads at either end:
- Rover Creek FSR (1.5km up from Blewett Rd)
- Glade Road (2.2km after the ferry)
We came from Blewett and found just enough pullout to park the car off of Rover Creek FSR. The trailhead is simply a marker in the ground, but about 100m down, you’ll find some more information and a logbook.
First half: the Forest
The trail starts high above the Kootenay River and sticks to dense forest. We were the only ones on the trail and so we did plenty of bear calls. The trail is well marked, but does cover some very steep grades. I was happy to have my poles!
The trail crosses Rover Creek on a nice new bridge, before climbing up to open meadows under a hydro line. We kept hoping for scenic views, but the first half of the trail hides the river from sight.
Second half: the River
At last, the trail starts to descend. And it’s a long, steep descent! But peeking through the trees, you’ll finally start to see some scenery!
Finally the forest falls back and you’re walking across meadows above the river bank!
The river bank was a welcome break from the forest. We saw a female merganser carrying four chicks on her back. We saw a wild turkey that hurriedly got up and clucked away. We also saw the Kootenay River, whirling and swirling at high capacity.
Sections of the trail were very muddy once we left the forest. We ended up re-assessing our plan. Our original goal was to make the full 8km to the Glade trailhead, but we decided that getting to the campground at 6km would also be a worthy turnaround point. However, at about 5.5km, just past the meadows, we saw a warning sign for steep and slippery sections of the trail. And then we saw those steep and slippery sections: a wet and muddy rock face that slid straight down into the billowing Kootenay River. Ahhhh… nope!
We turned back to have lunch at the meadow, which was a nice spot! Across the river we could see Shoreacres with Mount Sentinel in the background:
If we were to do it again, I would start from Glade. The scenery is all in the southern half of the trail where the river is!