Glacier National Park

NOTICE TO VISITORS

Changes to the Beaver Valley – Copperstain – Bald Mountain Area of Glacier National Park

As a result of a Parks Canada review of investment in wilderness area facilities, there will be changes to the trail network in the Beaver Valley/ Copperstain/Bald Mountain area of Glacier National Park in 2013.

Lower Beaver Valley Trail (from the trailhead to Grizzly Creek)

The lower Beaver Valley Trail will remain open for four season use, from the trailhead near the Trans-Canada Highway to Grizzly Creek.

Beaver Valley Trail (Grizzly Creek to Twenty Mile area)

The Beaver Valley Trail bridge over Grizzly Creek is n0w closed permanently. No public access is allowed across the bridge. The Beaver Valley Trail south from Grizzly Creek to the Twenty Mile area will no longer be maintained. Visitors entering the Beaver Valley beyond Grizzly Creek travel at their own risk and must employ self-reliance measures, including fording of rivers and route-finding. Similarly, visitors entering the decommissioned Beaver Valley Trail north of the Twenty Mile area do so at their own risk. During the winter months, the Beaver Valley from the Trans-Canada Highway to the Twenty Mile area of Glacier National Park will remain open to visitor use.

Upper Beaver Valley Trail (Caribou Pass Connector Trail to Glacier south boundary)

The upper Beaver Valley Trail will no longer be maintained from the junction with the Caribou Pass Connector Trail (south of the Twenty Mile area) to the south boundary of Glacier National Park. During the winter months, the Beaver Valley from the Twenty Mile area to the south park boundary will remain open to visitor use.

Copperstain Trail

The Copperstain Trail will no longer be maintained from Grizzly Creek to Copperstain Pass. The Copperstain Trail bridge is now permanently closed and no public access is allowed. Visitors entering the Copperstain Valley beyond Grizzly Creek or below Copperstain Pass travel at their own risk and must employ self-reliance measures, including route-finding and fording of streams. During the winter months, the Copperstain Pass area will remain open to visitor use.

Map of Hiking Trails in Glacier National Park Map of Hiking Trails
© Parks Canada

Map of Hiking Trails (PDF, 2.7 MB)

Bald Mountain Wilderness Hiking Route (Copperstain Pass area to Caribou Pass area)

The Bald Mountain area will remain open for hiking and winter use. The Bald Mountain Wilderness Hiking Route crosses the rolling subalpine meadows that form the east boundary of Glacier National Park. Bald Mountain is a very remote part of the park, where visitor preparation and self-reliance are critical. The hiking route will receive only minimal annual maintenance, and travellers need to be prepared for the rigours of remote travel. Route-finding skills are particularly important given the number of low visibility days on Bald Mountain.

With maintenance discontinued on the Copperstain and Beaver Valley trails, safe access to the Bald Mountain Wilderness Hiking Route will now only be available via the Spillimacheen provincial forest road and the Purcell Mountain Lodge area. The lodge is located just outside of the park near Copperstain Pass, and is accessible by helicopter or on foot from the end of the forest road.

From Purcell Mountain Lodge, a trail leads through BC Crown Land to the north end of the Bald Mountain Hiking Route and the summit of Copperstain Pass on the park boundary. A secondary trail branches off at the pass to ascend Copperstain Mountain. The Copperstain Mountain trail will remain open to the public. The Copperstain Pass backcountry campground will be decommissioned.

From the Copperstain Pass area, the Bald Mountain Hiking Route follows the park boundary south to Caribou Pass. For much of this distance, the hiking route is not marked and visitors use landmarks to find their way. Backpackers planning to camp in the Caribou Pass area are required to use the designated backcountry campground in order to prevent widespread impact on the fragile subalpine vegetation.

Caribou Pass Connector Trail descends from Bald Mountain to the Beaver River valley-bottom, south of the Twenty Mile area. The connector trail and the portion of the Beaver Valley Trail to Twenty Mile will remain open, but will receive only limited maintenance. The designated backcountry campground at Twenty Mile will remain open for visitor use.

The Beaver River cable car, which provided access to the Glacier Circle Trail, was officially closed in 2009. Glacier Circle Cabin, operated by the Alpine Club of Canada, will continue to be accessible only by way of the Illecillewaet Neve 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.