The Kootenay Rockies have a well-earned, legendary reputation among outdoor adventurers, offering a combination of thrilling terrain and peaceful solitude. Adrenaline junkies can find incredible whitewater kayaking, elaborate mountain bike trails and some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world. Those looking to unwind and relax can choose from hundreds of secluded and scenic campsites, tucked away in the mountains and surrounded by wildlife. Outdoor adventure is ingrained in the culture of the Kootenays, and its many charming communities are hubs for like-minded individuals who live to play in the backcountry.
To help you experience the best of the Kootenay Rockies, Backroad Mapbooks is releasing a brand new, updated edition of our Kootenay Rockies Mapbook. This 8th Edition includes updated road coverage, tons of new multi-use trails and paddling routes, expanded written Adventure descriptions, new fish stocking and trail charts, marked private land and fish species for lakes, rivers and creeks. Improving on our already impressive previous edition, this is the most comprehensive guide to the Kootenay Rockies backcountry available on the market. Here a few of the adventures that this Mapbook can lead you on:
The Kootenay Rockies are full of fascinating places to stop while exploring the region’s highways, rural roads and backroads. Natural attractions include waterfalls, caves and hot springs, with gold rush-era ghost towns, old railway tunnels, historic sites and museums scattered throughout the region. In the 8th Edition Kootenay Rockies Backroad Mapbook you will find close to 70 detailed Backroad Adventures.
Fort Steele Heritage Town
Originally founded in 1864, this mining boomtown was abandoned just a few decades later and was left to be reclaimed by nature. Luckily, the government stepped in to preserve the history of Fort Steele and the site now functions as an open-air museum. The historic site features over 60 restored or reconstructed heritage buildings, a museum, blacksmithing demonstrations, gold panning, live theatre and even steam train locomotive rides.
Halfway River Hot Springs
Found 11 km down the sometimes rough Halfway River Forest Service Road, these natural hot springs feature boulder-lined pools set next to the rushing Halfway River, as well as a day-use and camping area.
Fishing in the Kootenays can be incredible, with big rainbow trout swimming the pools of crystal-clear mountain creeks and warmwater lakes offering some of the best bass fishing in the province. In the 8th Edition Kootenay Rockies Backroad Mapbook you will find 310 detailed listings for the region’s best fishing lakes and rivers.
Silver Spring Lakes
These three lakes, found east of Elko, offer good fly fishing and spincasting for stocked rainbow up to 1.5 kg (3 lbs). All three lakes are spring fed and have clear water, which allows fishing success to remain good throughout the summer.
The Bull River is a popular East Kootenay River that has good gravel road access along most of its length. Some of these roads may have restricted access during logging periods. Bull, cutthroat and rainbow trout are all found in the river system with some of the larger pools producing trout up to 1 kg (2 lbs).
The Kootenay Rockies are home to vast expanses of unpopulated wilderness, an abundance of fresh water and a massive network of logging and mining roads that you can follow deep into the backcountry. This all adds up for some spectacular hinting opportunities for a wide range of game. In the 8th Edition Kootenay Rockies Backroad Mapbook you will find detailed descriptions for all the region’s game species and Wildlife Management Units (WMUs).
Found west of Lake Koocanusa, this area offers some of the best hunting for deer (both mule and white-tail) and elk to be found in the Kootenays. This is also a consistent producer of black bear, cougar and wolf. Upland bird hunters do very well with all three species of grouse and this is a good bet for both ptarmigan and wild turkey.
This is a large management unit along the west side of the upper Columbia River drainage. This is a good bet for deer hunters for both mule deer and whitetails. Mountain goat hunters also do well here. Upland bird hunters find good numbers of ruffed grouse and ptarmigan while waterfowl hunters find success in the Columbia River marshes.
Canoeists and kayakers in the Kootenay Rockies can find everything from death-defying whitewater runs to peaceful lakes surrounded by incredible scenery. In the 8th Edition Kootenay Rockies Backroad Mapbook you will find 60 descriptions of the best places to paddle across the region.
Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area
The Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area covers 6,800 hectares (17,000 ac) and it possible to park just about anywhere and canoe and kayak along the expansive dyke system, keeping an eye out for the 400 species of wildlife that are found here.
From Kootenay Crossing in Kootenay National Park, the Kootenay River flows south through a remote mountain valley for 138 km (85 mi) to the town of Canal Flats. Much of this section is Grade II with the odd log jam and sweeper, but the middle section between Settler’s Road Bridge and Kootenay Bridge is more challenging, passing through steep-walled canyons.
From the famous national parks of the Rocky Mountains to the lesser-known provincial parks tucked away in remote valleys and mountain ranges, the Kootenays offer an expansive network of parks for outdoor recreationists to explore. In the 8th Edition Kootenay Rockies Backroad Mapbook you will find 110 detailed park listings.
Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park
With over 85 km (53 mi) of trails, 30 glacial fed lakes and located mostly above 1,800 metres (5,905 ft) of elevation, Kokanee Glacier Park is a gem of the Kootenays. Mount Conrad, at 2,820 metres (9,250 ft), is the dominant feature of the park, which also offers three cabins and 30 designated wilderness campsites.
Monashee Provincial Park
Known as the jewel of the Monashees, this remote park offers 22,722 hectares (56,147 ac) of pristine wilderness ideal for a backcountry trek or high elevation fishing. In addition to the 30 km (19 mi) network of maintained trails, there are several wilderness camping areas and lakes to test your luck in.
Rec Site Adventures
The Kootenay Rockies are full of remote and rustic recreation sites that offer camping with easy access to all sort of outdoor recreation. In the 8th Edition Kootenay Rockies Backroad Mapbook you will find 175 detailed listings for recreation sites across the region.
Bannock Point Recreation Site
On the eastern shores of the Slocan Lake, this small 10 site tenting area is accessed by boat or a 700-metre trail, which drops 70 metres from the road. This area abounds with water activities and features a pretty pebble beach overlooking the Valhalla’s.
Grizzly Creek Recreation Site
At the junction of Koch and Grizzly Creeks, this is a semi-open two unit site next to the rock ledges of Koch Creek. Rock climbing is a popular activity in the area as is swimming and brook trout fishing in the deep pools below the rock ledges. The surrounding area offers good huckleberry and mushroom picking.
From multi-day backpacking treks through the high alpine to leisurely strolls through valley-bottom nature preserves, the Kootenay Rockies have it all. In the latest edition of our Kootenay Rockies Backroad Mapbook you will find 480 multi-use trail adventures for hikers, horse-back riders, mountain bikers, cross-country skiers and snowshoers.
Asulkan Valley Trail
From the Illecillewaet Campground in Glacier National Park, it is a 14 km (8.5 mi/7–8 hour) hike round trip along the slowly rising trail through the Asulkan Valley bottom, gaining 870 m (2,855 ft) along the way. Hikers are treated to mountain scenery, waterfalls and glacier views.
Eva Lake Trail
From km 25.5 of the Meadows in the Sky Parkway, a 14 km (8.7 mi) return hike leads through some beautiful alpine terrain to Eva Lake, gaining 180 m (590 ft) along the way. The main attractions of the area are wildflowers in late July and August and fishing for small cutthroat trout.
Whether you are riding along an abandoned logging road or a designated ATV trail, there is lots to explore in the Kootenay Rockies. Many routes lead to scenic lakes or mountaintop lookouts, and there are over 90 detailed listings for ATV trails found in the latest edition of the Kootenay Rockies Backroad Mapbook.
Surrounded by mountains and incredible views, Golden is a great place to ATV and offers a wide range of roads and trails to explore. Riders can head south of town and across the Parson River Bridge to the Bobbi Burns area and its many mining roads. In the other direction, the Blaeberry River Trail leads you into the Mummery Glacier and Amiskwi Pass.
Gray Creek Pass
Famous for being one of the highest passes in Canada, the Gray Creek Pass climbs over 1,500 m (4,920 ft) of elevation to its 2,075 metre (6,500 ft) summit, with most of the elevation gain occurring in the first 16 km (10 mi) of the 80 km (50 mi) route. The route begins in the village of Gray Creek on the shores of Kootenay Lake and leads you all the way to Kimberley, providing the shortest distance link between the West and East Kootenays.
With generous dumps of snow and tons of mountainous terrain to explore, plus countless unplowed logging roads, snowmobiling in the Kootenays is a fantastic winter pastime. In the 8th Edition Kootenay Rockies Backroad Mapbook, you will find close to 70 listings for the best places to snowmobile in the area.
Bombi Pass Area
The Bombi Pass area of the Bonnington Range offers hundreds of kilometres of logging roads to explore. Most of these wilderness areas provide fairly easy riding along heavily forested roads and the occasional viewpoint from a mountain vista. This is a popular backcountry ski touring area, and some snowmobilers may wish to bring their skis or board along with them.
Located north of Kaslo near the community of Meadow Creek, the Meadow Mountain Snowmobile Trails provide sledding fun for the whole family as there are numerous user-maintained trails of various skill levels here. Difficult alpine ridge riding or tamer, scenic, wide-open meadows surrounded by small alpine lakes are available.
From big mammals like bighorn sheep, mountain goats and elk to hundreds of species of songbirds, the Kootenay Rockies are home to an incredible range of wildlife. In the 8th Edition Kootenay Rockies Backroad Mapbook you will find over 70 detailed listings for wildlife viewing areas throughout the region.
Elizabeth Lake Bird Sanctuary
Located in Cranbrook off Highway 3/95, the Elizabeth Lake wetlands provide nesting opportunities for many species of birds including, black tern, bufflehead, Canada geese, coot, goldeneye, grebe, ruddy and scaup ducks, Nashville warblers, northern hawks and northern orioles.
Valhalla Provincial Park
Located on the western shores of Slocan Lake, this magnificent 50,060 hectare (123,700 ac) wilderness park is home to black and grizzly bear, cougar, mountain goat and mule and whitetail deer. Birders can look forward to seeing alpine ptarmigan and golden eagle.
The Kootenays are already a stunningly beautiful area, but once a thick layer of snow falls the landscape becomes even more peaceful and majestic. In the 8th Edition Kootenay Rockies Backroad Mapbook, you will find 85 detailed listings for the best places to enjoy winter in the Kootenays.
Red Mountain Ski Resort
Red Mountain is the oldest lift accessible mountain in BC. Found near the charming town of Rossland, the resort has a total of 110 marked runs and 7 lifts and boasts of the sixth-highest vertical rise and some of the best glade skiing in the province.
Bonnington Range Ski Touring Route
This classic hut to hut alpine ski touring route follows the summits of the Bonnington Range east of Castlegar and south of Nelson. The route is approximately 50 km (31 mi) long and stays around the 3,000 metre (9,850 ft) level over its entire length, usually taking 3 to 5 days to complete.
Backcountry Huts & Cabins
The Kootenay Rockies are home to an impressive network of huts and cabins ranging from rustic ski shelters to private lodges with every imaginable luxury. In the 8th edition of our Kootenay Rockies Backroad Mapbook you will find 70 detailed listings for huts and cabins throughout the region.
Elizabeth Parker Hut
The Elizabeth Parker Hut is found west of Lake O’Hara and there is a lottery for its use between mid-June and early October. Access in the summer is by a short 1 km hike from the Le Relais Day Shelter, while in winter it is a relatively easy 12 km (7.5 mi) ski taking 3–4 hours.
Strawberry [Nancy Greene] Pass Huts
Eight cabins are scattered around the snowy backcountry at Strawberry Pass—which the locals call Nancy Greene Pass—off Highway 3 north of Rossland. Some are a few minutes from the summit parking area by cross-country skis or snowshoes, and others take a couple of hours to reach.