Kootenay Hikes of 2018

Summer 2018 was an adventurous one…until the smoke rolled in, too thick to enjoy hiking in, let alone see any views from the top. Summer 2019 has been super gorgeous, but hikes I have done amount to ZERO owing to being away/working/in a wedding in June, on-call 24/7 in Telegraph Creek for most of July, and studying/recovering from gum surgery for August. Sigh. The West Coast Trail hike in September is really gonna kick my behind! >.<

Without further ado, here are the hikes of 2018, all highly recommended.

Jumbo Wild

4×4 to trailhead – ideally, yes
Time – roughly 5 hours roundtrip, depending on how long you hang out at the top
Dog-friendly – yes. I took my 2 small min-pins, they had a blast. We didn’t see any wildlife, but there is a strong likelihood of running in to some – take bear spray!

This hike was absolutely gorgeous. We saw 6 other people total, 3 of whom were under the age of 5. There is a cabin at the top so you could camp overnight. You can catch this trail from Argenta, BC, or coming from Panorama side on Toby Creek FSR as well. The trail up from Argenta had some areas of deadfall, most of which weren’t too bad to climb over/push out of the way, one of which was extensive and we were lucky we didn’t lose the trail. This was the beginning of July 2018, I don’t know what trail conditions are like this summer.

Idaho Peak

4×4 to trailhead – 100% recommended, 100% did this road in my Hyundai Elantra GT and did not break it. White knuckles at some points though….
Time – 1-2 hours roundtrip. The actual hike itself is really easy and not that long. From the parking area to the left, you hike to the lookout tower along a path lined with wildflowers and views. This could not be a more rewarding hike for very little actual physical effort.

Plus, you can stop in the old ghost town of Sandon, BC on your way up. Lots of interesting history and a ton of old Vancouver city buses parked up here.

Wilson Creek Falls

Just north of New Denver, a fairly easy 2.2km round-trip hike (some steep-ish switchbacks down to the river at the end), yielding a gorgeous view of the waterfall. Doggo friendly, accessible without 4WD (but maybe not advisable if you love your car a lot). Again, high reward for not too much effort (my kind of hiking). Super cold waters!

Buchanan Lookout

4×4 to trailhead – again 100% recommend, 100% did this in the ol’ low to the ground hatchback, trusty steed that she is. There are a few hiking trails around the lookout, some of which are not that long (1hr or less depending on your speed), and you can see into the old fire lookout, which is interesting. Spectacular views. Tons of bugs.

Mt Crawford/Plaid Lake

4×4 to trailhead – absolutely yes. The last little bit of the ‘road’ to the actual trailhead is super steep and unless you bring a 4-wheeler, or a very strong constitution and engine, I think you’re better off to park in the large open area just before the really steep part starts. We got tricked and parked even further down and ended up walking 2km to the trailhead. We also saw someone in a Honda Ridgeline-ish vehicle attempt the last part of the road up and they were burning out their vehicle preeeeetttyyy good.

Other than the road to the trailhead… the trail itself is really lovely. It’s mostly along a ridge so it’s scenic most of the way. Dogs – leashed – as there are steep drop-offs a lot of the way. You can hike up to the summit (steep and scrambly, but beautiful views) or down to the lake, or both if you have the time. Total hike time – most of the day as we added 4km on the FSR with the whole parking sitch.

Island Lake

Lovely views. It was really smokey when we were here in August so we just did the loop around the lake, but there are a ton of trails around here. Watch out for moose! We saw 2 in the lodge parking lot…

That’s a wee summary of the best.

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