Snowmobiling (also known as sledding) is one of the most popular winter activities in Castlegar and there are two good reasons for it. Firstly, upwards of 12 metres (40 feet) of snow can fall in the mountains surrounding the city meaning at higher elevations the season is very long. People start snowmobiling in late November and continue until April. Secondly, there’s plenty of terrain to choose from. Whether you’re into exploring decommissioned logging roads, steep mountain passes or groomed trails, Castlegar offers something for everyone.

Plenty of logging roads and trails can be accessed right in town but the most popular spots for snowmobiling are maintained by the Castlegar Snowmobile Association. Formed in the early 1990s, the non-profit Association promotes the sport as well as safety on sleds, avalanche awareness and backcountry ethics and its volunteers maintain two areas that boast over 70 kilometres of groomed trails and three cabins with free firewood and barbecues on hand. In exchange for these services, the CSA charges $120 for a seasonal membership or $15 for a single-day trail pass. Below are listed some of the best snowmobiling areas near Castlegar.

Goose Greek

Goose Creek is one of the most family-friendly snowmobile areas near Castlegar. The groomed trails follow safe terrain into the alpine past two warming huts including Shaw Cabin and Frosty’s. The latter was donated by the Frost family in 2017 and, because it has beds, it can be booked for overnight excursions. Click on the map below to learn more about the trails in the area and in Norns and Lady Bird.

Access: From Castlegar cross the Robson Bridge and turn left (north) onto Pass Creek Road. Follow this for 15 kilometres and turn left (west) onto Goose Creek Road. Follow this to the parking area and trailhead. There are two lots in which to park but typically the lower one is used by those with big trailers.

Information: Visit the Castlegar Snowmobile Association.

Lady Bird and Norns

Ladybird and Norns have the same access and both are considered advanced riding areas, especially Norns as its access trail isn’t groomed and it passes through an avalanche path on its way into the alpine. That said, they lead to some of the best backcountry skiing in the region. The Lady Bird Cabin is in the zone and is excellent for mid-day warming.

Access: From Castlegar cross the Robson Bridge and turn left (north) onto Pass Creek Road. Follow this for 19 kilometres and turn left (west) onto Lady Bird Road. Follow this to the parking area and trailhead. From here there’s one groomed trail that takes you to a definitive junction. Follow the trail to the left to reach Norns and the trail to the right to get into the Lady Bird area.

Information: Visit the Castlegar Snowmobile Association.

Bombi Pass

Bombi Pass, located just south of the city, is a popular area with snowmobilers because it’s easy to access and there aren’t any fees to sled here. The common staging area is at the 1,214-metre Bombi Summit just off the highway where the power lines cross the road. There are plenty of service roads in this area so you can choose your own adventure.

Access: From Castlegar follow Hwy 3 east from the city for 17 kilometres and park at the staging area and the Bombi Summit.

Paulson Summit

The Walker Creek area, where the province maintains a recreation site and cabin, is located 40 kilometres east of Castlegar near the Paulson Summit of Highway 3. That is the only maintained snowmobiling area in this particular zone but the Paulson Summit offers endless day touring potential. Simply find a spot to safely pull off the highway, unload the sleds, and head through the cut blocks to explore the many alpine lakes, meadows and glades of the area.

Access: From Castlegar follow Hwy 3 west towards the Paulson Summit.