Whether you prefer long strolls beside the river or high alpine treks, Castlegar has it all.

Thanks to the hard work of such local organizations as the Castlegar Parks and Trails Society and the Kootenay Mountaineering Club, there are dozens of well-maintained hikes from casual strolls to multi-hour treks. Browse popular Castlegar hiking trails below:

Waldie Island

West Access:

Drive north across the bridge connecting Castlegar and Robson. Turn right onto Old Mill Road, a gravel road 500m after the bridge. Pass under the railroad bridge to the parking lot

East Access:

Drive north across the bridge connecting Castlegar and Robson. Take your 2nd right onto Makayev Road into the community of Brilliant. Quick right on Brilliant Road and park at the dead end

Access from Pass Creek Regional Park:

Take short trail from southeast end of soccer field up to Broadwater Road. Cross Broadwater Rd and proceed down Waldie Lane. Follow signs to Waldie Island Trail; cross under bridge and trail is marked. The Waldie Island Trail is easily accessed on foot from Pass Creek Park.

Visit the Friends of Trails website

Difficulty: Easy.

Distance: 1.5km.

Elevation Gain: 0m.

Dog Friendly: On leash only.

Bike Friendly: Not allowed.

Facilities: Bird viewing platform.

Season: Year-round.

Pass Creek

Pass Creek is also a very diverse watershed, the Rainbow Trout can be seen spawning in the spring; Kokanee (September), and Mountain Whitefish (October) in the fall.

Directions
  • Drive north across the bridge connecting Castlegar and Robson
  • Turn left on Broadwater Road into Robson
  • Turn right on Bayview Road before the Pass Creek Bridge
  • Quick left on Parkside Road which dead ends in the campground
Visit the Friends of Trails website

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1.5km loop
Elevation Gain: 0m
Dog Friendly: Yes
Bike Friendly: Yes, please dismount at stairs
Facilities: Interpretive signs
Season: Year-round

Merry Creek

This network contains three trails – Big Cedar Trail, Merry Valley Trail and the Columbia Trail. A pleasant 5km walk through a dense forest followed by a climb to a fine view of Castlegar and the Columbia Valley.

Leave Castlegar on Hwy 3 heading towards Grand Forks
Turn right 2 km past the Cozy Pines Motel on Merry Creek Forest Service Road
Drive 2km to parking lot on the right

Visit the Friends of Trails website

Difficulty: Easy.

Distance: 5km Total trail network
Elevation Gain: 60m.

Dog Friendly: Yes.

Bike Friendly: Yes

Facilities: Pit toilet at trail head, benches, interpretive signs.

Season: Year-round.

Mel DeAnna

A level shaded walk that loops around Champion Ponds. This is a great trail for birdwatchers with many opportunities to stop and enjoy the view of the Columbia River valley. The Poplar and Larch trees make this a spectacular hike in the fall. Thanksgiving meals can enjoyably be walked off by the whole family on this beautiful loop trail! Once the snow arrives this trail is a popular snowshoe loop. At the 1.5km mark on the trail, there is a junction. This is a 2 km loop so it doesn’t matter which way you go.

Please exercise caution above the numerous cliffs along this trail.

Head towards Salmo on Hwy 3
5km east of Castlegar turn into the viewpoint/rest area on the right
Follow trail past viewpoint and through the gate towards the Champion Ponds

Visit the Friends of Trails website

Difficulty: Easy/Intermediate.

Distance: 5km loop.

Elevation Gain: 0m.

Dog Friendly: Yes.

Bike Friendly: Yes.

Facilities: Pit Toilets at the parking area and the first picnic area (1.5km; junction)
, two picnic shelters, benches.
Season: Year-round.

Dove Hill/ Elk Cut-Off

Access from the Brilliant Substation Parking Lot:

Leave Castlegar heading towards Nelson on Hwy 3A
Before the Brilliant Bridge, turn right on Ootischenia Road and head up the hill
Follow signs to the golf course, turn left on Corrigan Road turning into Columbia Road
Turn left on Aaron Road
Turn right on gravel road with gate (note gate closure times), follow for 4km, keep left at 2km fork in road
Turn left into parking lot before the Substation
Trailhead is just before the parking lot on the left

Access from Castlegar Golf Course:

Leave Castlegar heading towards Nelson on Hwy 3A
Before the Brilliant Bridge, turn right on Ootischenia Road and head up the hill
Follow signs to the golf course, turn left on Corrigan Road turning into Columbia Road
Turn left on Aaron Road
Turn left onto a dirt road at the Dove Hill Trail sign, after golf course gate 1/2 kilometer before the clubhouse
Park the in pull out to the left

Visit the Friends of Trails website

Difficulty: Easy/Intermediate.

Distance: 5km loop.

Elevation Gain: 0m.

Dog Friendly: Yes.

Bike Friendly: Yes.

Facilities: Pit Toilets at the parking area and the first picnic area (1.5km; junction)
, two picnic shelters, benches.

Season: Year-round.

Little McPhee Waterfall

This trail follows the original Doukhobor workers’ trail from Brilliant Dam. The trail drops into the creek bed, which is followed upstream for a short distance. A short extension of the trail ends at the plunge pool of the scenic waterfall. The waterfall is best in spring and early summer when water run-off is high; later in the season the creek flow is significantly reduced.

Access from the Brilliant Substation Parking Lot:

Leave Castlegar heading towards Nelson on Hwy 3A
Before the Brilliant Bridge, turn right on Ootischenia Road and head up the hill
Follow signs to the golf course, turn left on Corrigan Road turning into Columbia Road
Turn left on Aaron Road
Turn right on gravel road with gate before the golf course (note gate closure times) and follow for 4km, keep left at 2km fork in road
Turn left into parking lot before the Substation
Follow Skattebo Reach trail for 2.25km passing the Brilliant Overlook and Doukhobor Waterline trailheads
Turn right at Little McPhee Creek Waterfall trail junction

Hikers Access from Park and Pool:

Follow signs for Skattebo Reach Trail from park and pool
Follow Skattebo Reach for approx. 4.5km passing the Brilliant Substation, and the Brilliant Overlook and D. Waterline Trailheads
Watch for trailhead on the right

Visit the Friends of Trails website

Difficulty: Intermediate.

Distance: 2.3km.
 (one-way from Substation to Waterfall).
Elevation Gain: 20m.

Dog Friendly: Yes.

Bike Friendly: N0.

Facilities: Pit toilet on Skattebo Reach/McPhee Canyon junction.
Season: Year-round. Be aware of extremely hazardous conditions that may arise in winter.

Castlegar Parks and Trails

Castlegar Friends of Parks and Trails Society is a non-profit charitable, volunteer organization that maintains trails and builds new trails for hiking and biking in the Castlegar area for non-motorized use. We hire a small seasonal crew to undertake trail maintenance. We encourage the use of parks and trails while respecting the natural environment and the area’s cultural heritage.

Visit the website: https://friendsoftrails.org/

To read about the personal favourites of Doug Clark, past president of the Kootenay Mountaineering Club and the Castlegar Parks and Trails Society, visit our article, “The Best Hiking Trails in Castlegar.

Related Stories

Tips on paddling safely in the Castlegar area

When your on the water please consider these safety tips: Even on the flat, calm waters surrounding Castlegar, there are important safety precautions and regulations all paddlers should abide by. Firstly, Transport Canada mandates that, by law, all paddlers, whether in a canoe, raft, kayak or on a SUP must have the following: Keep in mind leash use, is not an alternative to a lifejacket or personal floatation device.


The Best Ways To Get Out And About in Castlegar

One of the best ways to get out and about in Castlegar is to explore the thriving river culture, specifically fishing. Throwing out a line into one of the many nearby lakes and rivers is joyful and talking about it with friends over beer afterwards even more so.


11 Reasons To Move To Castlegar Right Now

Castlegar was just showcased on MSN for its low cost of living and high paying jobs. Here are 10 other reasons why you should move here.