Whether you prefer long strolls beside rivers or treks far into the mountains, Castlegar offers something for everyone.
And because the trails are so easy to access, the city is quickly becoming a popular hub for hikers. The Valhalla and Selkirk mountains are on Castlegar’s doorstep and there are many trails along Arrow Lakes, the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers and, well, everywhere!
The TransCanada Trail winds its way past the city and the local Castlegar Parks and Trails society is very active maintaining, upgrading and developing new trails throughout the region.
There are a dozen popular hikes within the Castlegar area that afford beautiful views of the Columbia and Kootenay rivers as well as the mountains. For example, the start to the 5-kilometre Mel DeAnna trail loop is only a 10-minute drive from downtown. It wanders through poplar, larch and coniferous trees, past the Champion Ponds to various scenic viewpoints that look out over the stunning Columbia Valley. Right in town is a popular 1.5-kilometre hiking trail around Waldie Island located in the middle of the Columbia River. The trail is well-graded and passes through a “cottonwood jungle” to a Blue Heron bird sanctuary. Of course, those are easy day-time hikes that any age and ability can do. If you’re looking for something a bit more challenging, the Valhallas and Selkirks won’t disappoint.
One of the most popular hiking trails in the region is in Valhalla Provincial Park, which is about a 1.5-hour drive from Castlegar. The Gimli Peak trail starts at the end of a logging road and winds it’s way to Gimli, which looks like the prow of a giant ship, and the 13 other peaks of the Mulvey Basin area. The hike itself takes about 1.5 hours one way but you’ll want to allow for my time to take photographs and soak in the unbelievably beautiful surroundings. And that’s only one example of the hundreds of hikes you can enjoy in and around the city of Castlegar.
How to Get Here: Hiking trails are located within and all around Castlegar. There are a dozen smaller hikes in the city or within a 15-minute drive and then innumerable hiking trails in the surrounding mountains that can take anywhere from one to three hours to get to depending on the quality of the access roads.
Weather: Because Castlegar enjoys so much sun throughout the year, the hiking season in the valleys can start as early as March and go right through to November. Higher elevation hikes are typically free of snow by June.
Types of Hiking: Castlegar offers everything from mellow day hikes on flat, well-maintained terrain to multi-day adventure treks in the surrounding mountains.
More Info: For information regarding hiking trails near the city, go to Castlegar Parks and Trails society website.