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Glacier National Park

Beaver Valley, Copperstain Valley, Glacier Circle and Bald Mountain Areas - Public Notice of Changes to Trails and Campsites

There are major changes to the trail system in the Beaver, Copperstain and Grizzly Creek valleys. The northern portion of the Beaver Valley Trail has been reduced in length and now terminates at Grizzly Creek bridge. The Copperstain Trail, which branches east from the Beaver Valley Trail for a short distance now also ends at Grizzly Creek (the bridge has been decommissioned). These sections of the Beaver Valley and Copperstain trails are accessible from the Trans-Canada Highway. The trails are open to hiking, snowshoeing and skiing, and to mountain biking on a trial basis in 2014.

South of Grizzly Creek, the Beaver Valley Trail enters the Beaver Valley Priority Wildlife Corridor and is no longer maintained. Hikers and skiers may continue south of Grizzly Creek at their own risk, but travel is not recommended during the snow-free season. Any travel in the Beaver Valley south of Grizzly Creek requires extreme caution, bear awareness, self-rescue capability and self-reliance measures, including route-finding and creek-crossing skills.

The upper, or southern portion of the Copperstain Trail now terminates at Copperstain Pass near the base of Copperstain Peak. Trail maintenance has been discontinued. The nearby Copperstain backcountry campsite is permanently closed. The Grizzly Creek and Copperstain valleys have been designated as the Grizzly and Copperstain Priority Wildlife Corridors, and travel is not recommended during the snow-free season

The Bald Mountain Wilderness Hiking Route remains open to hikers and skiers. This hiking route begins on the Glacier National Park boundary above Spillimacheen Creek and follows the boundary south to Caribou Pass. From there, the Caribou Pass Connector Trail descends to the Beaver Valley Trail. The Beaver Valley Trail is open to hikers and skiers from the junction with the Caribou Pass Trail to the Twenty Mile area. Backcountry campsites at Caribou Pass and Twenty Mile also remain open.

The Beaver River cable car has been decommissioned and the Glacier Circle Trail is no longer maintained. Hikers and skiers accessing Glacier Circle from the Beaver Valley travel at their own risk and must employ self-reliance measures, including route-finding and river-crossing skills. Alternative access to Glacier Circle is available via a crossing of the Illecillewaet Neve.

The upper Beaver Valley Trail is no longer maintained from the junction with the Caribou Pass Connector Trail to the south boundary of Glacier National Park. This area is part of the Beaver Valley Priority Wildlife Corridor. Hikers and skiers may continue into the upper Beaver Valley south of Caribou Pass Connector Trail at their own risk, but travel is not recommended during the snow-free season.

Bald Mountain Wilderness Bald Mountain Wilderness
© Parks Canada

Unsustainable Costs

Parks Canada faced very prohibitive costs to maintain the lightly-used trails in the Beaver Valley – Copperstain – Bald Mountain network. Engineers have identified significant structural failures of the Copperstain and Beaver Valley bridges over Grizzly Creek, requiring bridge replacement or reconstruction. If the Copperstain Trail was to stay open in the future, a major re-route would be required to move the trail and the campsite out of grizzly bear habitat. Trail structures that had allowed equestrian use of the Beaver Valley prior to 1999 had deteriorated and become hazardous in some areas, requiring their removal. The Beaver River cable car required replacement if trail access was going to be provided to Glacier Circle. Funding for these major projects is not available.

Beaver, Grizzly and Copperstain Priority Wildlife Corridors

Decommissioning of the Copperstain Trail and much of the Beaver Valley Trail has the potential to result in ecological gains in Glacier National Park. Wildlife habitat security and protection of wildlife movement corridors for species at risk, including grizzly bears, will take precedence over visitor activity in the upper Beaver Valley, Grizzly Creek Valley and Copperstain Creek Valley.