The Kootenay region of British Columbia is packed with beautiful rail trails. A bustling set of rail lines fueled early logging and mining operations and the Canadians have done a masterful job of converting disused railways to splendid trails for outdoor recreation. Many of these trails are restricted to non-motorized traffic, but some allow for ORVs. Be sure to check online trail information before setting out on your adventure so you’re prepared.
Great Northern Rail Line
Want to earn your beverage in Nelson? Perfect! Start in Salmo and pedal the Great Northern Rail Line to get there. This 30-mile route features trailside beaches, restored trestles, and beautiful views along the way. Part of this trail, however, is closed in the spring and early summer because of grizzly bear traffic.
Canadian Pacific Railway
This rail trail connects Castlegar to Christina Lake near the border. This 55-mile (one-way) trip actually goes all the way to Midway. But a stop at Canada’s warmest tree-lined lake makes this a great day trip with sandy beaches, watersports, and many other local attractions.
Slocan Valley Rail Trail
With wide crushed-gravel tread and plenty of summertime bear scat, the Slocan Valley Rail Trail feels like the quintessential Canadian adventure. Over 30 miles of trail along the Slocan River boasts many cultural, ecological, and archaeological sites for a full day of experiences. Do it in sections, starting at one of seven trailheads, or make the full trek from South Slocan to Slocan.
NorthStar Rails to Trails
This fully paved 15+ mile route stretches from Cranbrook to Kimberly in the East Kootenays. Views of the Canadian Rockies from the mostly flat stretch just outside of Kimberly make this a great one-way pedal, or a more strenuous out-and-back for serious riders. The bridge in the middle crosses the St. Mary River. Lots of stops along the way make this rail line that once transported lead and zinc to the smelter in Trail a beautiful trip for families. These great trails are just the tip of the British Columbia iceberg. This summer, load up your bike and experience it for yourself.