Hiking in Glacier National Park offers a challenge - the chance to explore a portion of the rugged Columbia Mountains.

The Columbia Mountains are steep and the valleys narrow, allowing for only a few easy hikes and a good number of challenging ones. You will often be sharply reminded that many of our trails were originally built as access to mountain climbs and glaciers! Most of the Illecillewaet-area day hikes involve an elevation gain of about 1,000 meters between the start of the trail and the "End of Trail" sign. However, the trails are well constructed and well-marked - and they will take you to stunning ridges and viewpoints that will make you forget your uphill toil. Adjust your pace and your mindset and you will be greatly rewarded!

The many glaciers and avalanche paths indicate winters of great snowfall. The climate is usually cool and wet, but summers can be hot and humid. Snowpacks linger in shaded areas along some of the trails. Exercise extreme caution in crossing snowpacks on steep slopes and consider carrying an ice axe, or avoiding the slope if it is icy.

Administered jointly with Mount Revelstoke National Park, these protected areas are managed in such a manner as to ensure the continuance of the splendour and richness of our natural and cultural heritage. These parks are home to a great diversity of wildlife including 54 species of mammals, 183 species of birds and 686 species of plants.

The trails described here range from short, level strolls to ambitious climbs. Some offer dramatic mountain views, while others wind through stands of ancient giant trees or probe the secrets of the abandoned railway over Rogers Pass. Whatever your interest and physical ability, hiking is the best way to get to know one of Canada's distinctive natural regions - the Columbia Mountains.

Hiking trails
Hiking trail Type Difficulty Estimated time (return) Distance (return) Elevation gain Description
Hemlock Grove Short Hike Easy 15 minutes 350 m loop Minimal Interpretive boardwalk through old-growth cedar-hemlock forest.
Rock Garden Short Hike Easy 30 minutes 428 m loop Minimal Interpretive trail with rock staircases and stepping stones. Slippery and steep sections.
Loop Brook trail Short Hike Easy 45 minutes 1.7 km 42 m Interpretive trail on old rail grade highlights railway history. Short steep sections.
Meeting of the Waters Short Hike Easy 30 minutes 1.3 km loop Minimal Forest walk past the confluence of Asulkan Brook and the Illecillewaet River.
1885 Short Hike Easy 2 hours 7.2 km Minimal Interpretive trail along the original Canadian Pacific rail-grade. Prone to early season flooding.
Abandoned Rails Short Hike Easy 1 hour 2.8 km Minimal Interpretive trail along the original Canadian Pacific rail grade.
Bear Creek Falls Short Hike Easy 1 hour 1 km 62 m Short, steep trail down to Bear Creek Falls.
Marion Lake Short Hike Moderate 2.5 hours 4.4 km 425 m Steep forested hike along the first leg of the Abbott Ridge trail to Marion Lake.
Great Glacier Day hike Moderate 3.5 hours 6.4 km 321 m Trail up to the sloping bedrock below the Illecillewaet Glacier.
Bostock Creek Day hike Moderate 7 hours 15.6 km 740 m Moderate hike through the interior rainforest and into the subalpine forest.
Avalanche Crest Day hike Moderate 5 hours 8.2 km 795 m Steep trail into an alpine basin. The nearby left ridge overlooks the highway/railway corridor.
Balu Pass Day hike Moderate 4 hours 12.8 km 788 m Trail through avalanche paths into alpine meadows offering amazing views.
Asulkan Valley Day hike Moderate 6 hours 13.8 km 869 m Glacier views, mountain scenery and waterfalls. Trail steepens after 4 km.
Hermit Day hike Difficult 4 hours 6.4 km 819 m Steep trail into alpine meadows. A designated campsite is located in the Hermit Meadows.
Sir Donald Day hike Difficult 5 hours 10.2 km 1008 m Built as a mountaineering route, this rigorous hike accesses an alpine basin below the peak.
Glacier Crest Day hike Difficult 6 hours 11.4 km 958 m Steep trail up onto a ridge providing a panoramic view of rock and glacial ice.
Perley Rock Day hike Difficult 6 hours 10.8 km 1143 m Steep, ambitious hike ending at a high viewpoint overlooking the Illecillewaet Icefield.
Abbott Ridge Day hike Difficult 6.5 hours 13.6 km 1029 m Trail up to alpine tundra that ends on a narrow ridge. During early season take the marked short cut to avoid a steep snow slope.
Beaver Valley Multi-day Moderate 3 days one way 42 km one way 449 m one way Trail passes through large stretches of old growth forest. Trail can be connected to the Bald Hills via Caribou Pass. Random camping available beyond 5 km. There is designated camping at the “20 Mile” campsite. Beyond 20 Mile, trail difficulty increases as sections are obscured by vegetation and/or wash-outs
Bald Hills Multi-day Difficult Up to 4 days 16 – 40 km varies with route selection 1130 m varies with route selection The trail accesses the extensive alpine meadows of the Bald Hills. Designated campsites are located at 20 Mile and at Caribou Pass. The trail is not marked between the Copperstain Pass and Caribou Pass campsites. Hikers must be experienced in route finding and carry a map and compass in case visibility is poor in the Bald Hills.

Short hikes

Hemlock Grove Boardwalk trail

On a cold April day in 1987, Rick Hansen climbed the 840 metre (2,755 ft) western approach to Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park in his wheelchair. He was only a month away from completion of his two year, 40,000 kilometre trip through 34 countries – the Man in Motion World Tour. Rick’s goal of finding a cure for spinal cord injury is that much closer today.

After Rick's visit to Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks, the Hemlock Grove Boardwalk trail was developed as a legacy of the Man in Motion World Tour visit. This short 400-metre barrier-free boardwalk offers a rainforest experience to people with mobility disabilities, people with visual impairments and people with other limitations on movement, such as seniors and even visitors with baby strollers.

Hemlock Grove trail
Rockgarden trail

On the Rockgarden trail, you will discover moss and lichen covered boulder fields that date back to the last Ice Age. The trail leads through black and grizzly bear habitat, and up to a viewpoint overlooking glaciers and the mountain barrier of Rogers Pass.

The Rockgarden trail offers a rustic and primitive experience. It is a single file trail with rock staircases, stepping stones, slippery and steep sections and sharp cliff faces. You will need footwear appropriate for backcountry-style hiking and to watch your footing. Keep children under your strict control. The Rockgarden trail is not recommended for pets.

Rockgarden trail with interpretive icon
Loop Brook trail
Railway history is featured on this 1.6 km round-trip trail that leaves from the viewpoint just east of the Loop Brook Campground. This trail, part of Rogers Pass National Historic Site, highlights the stone pillars that once carried the railway track across the valley. It has short, steep sections. These features are among the oldest surviving man-made structures in western Canada.
Loop Brook pillar
Meeting of the Waters trail

Length - 1.3 km (one way)
Hiking time - 30 minutes (loop) 
Elevation range - 1245 to 1270 m (25m)
Trailhead - Illecillewaet Campground
Map Coordinates - 117°29'31"W 51°15'49"N (trailhead)

The Meeting of the Waters Trail is one of the shortest and easiest in the whole park. Only one kilometre long, it loops from the campground up the Asulkan Trail, crosses a bridge at the point where the Asulkan Brook joins the Illecillewaet River and returns on the Perley Rock trail. The trail is a good introduction to the forest trees and plants. Here, the Interior Cedar/Hemlock zone grades into the higher-elevation Engelmann spruce/subalpine fir zone. You will find western and mountain hemlock, Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir along the trail. Watch also for British Soldier Lichens and Map Lichens ( Cladonia coccifera and rhizocarpum geographicum ). When the water is high, during spring runoff or in August when hot weather increases glacial melting, listen for rocks grinding together at the confluence of the streams, as the force of the water tumbles them downstream.

Meeting of the Waters trail
©Parks Canada - Jeff Bolingbroke
1885 Rails trail

Length - 3.8 km (one way)
Hiking time - 1 hour (one way)
Elevation range - 1190 to 1250 m (minimal change)
Trailhead(s) - Illecillewaet Campground and Loop Brook Campground

 

The 1885 Rails trail follows the original line of the CPR between Loop Brook Campground and Illecillewaet Campground. Because it is on an old railway grade, the walking is very easy. Interpretive signs along the route will relive the exciting history of the railway through Rogers Pass.

Please do not follow the old railway grade above Illecillewaet Campground. This is high quality grizzly bear habitat and the parks have decided to leave this section for their undisturbed use.

Abdoned Rails trail

Explore Rogers Pass National Historic Site by walking on the abandoned rail grade between Rogers Pass Centre and the Summit of Rogers Pass (past the remains of old snowsheds). The trail is 1.2 km, one way. Visitors using wheel chairs can bypass the section behind the centre and enter the trail just beyond the service station.

Abandoned Rails trail
Bear Creek Falls trail

Length - 580 m (one way)
Hiking time - 1 hour (round trip)
Elevation range - 871 to 933 m (62m)
Trailhead - 9 km eastward from the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre (eastbound side of Hwy 1; no left-hand turning lane for westbound traffic; short paved road to trailhead)
Map Coordinates -  
117°26'7"W 51°21'13"N

This short hike on a moderate grade has an unusual start – a downhill route! However, after an easy stroll to the falls, you may work up a bit of steam returning to your vehicle.

The Connaught Creek waters cascade over the falls to join the Beaver River a short distance downstream. The Beaver River then flows north out of the park and joins the Columbia River at Beavermouth. From here, the Columbia River pushes north between the Rocky and Columbia Mountains and makes a grand arc around the Selkirk Ranges before heading south on a course that ends in the Pacific Ocean.

Bear Creek Falls trail
Marion Lake

Length - 3.6 km
Hiking time - 1.25 hours (uphill)
Elevation Change - 1245 to 1706 m (461m)

The Abbott Ridge trail passes by Marion Lake on its way to the ridge. This little pond was named by the Reverend William Spotswood Green for his daughter. Rev. Green visited in 1888 and with his cousin Henry Swanzy, climbed Mount Bonney, to the west of the summit ridge. While at Marion Lake, Green tried his luck at fishing, and recorded drily in his journal after an unsuccessful afternoon of casting: "I incline to the belief that the reason why the fish did not rise was because there were none there." The little lakes' harsh climate, nutrient-poor waters, and inaccessible location have made colonization by fish-life impossible.

From Marion Lake, hikers can take a short side trip to a viewpoint above the Trans Canada Highway. From this viewpoint, you can see trains coming from or going into the Connaught tunnel. The tunnel was completed in 1916, as a way to protect rail traffic from the deadly avalanches of Rogers Pass.

Marion Lake
© Parks Canada - John Woods

Day hikes

Great Glacier trail

Length - 3.2km (one way)
Hiking time - 1.5 - 2 hours (uphill)
Elevation change - 1245 to 1566m (321m)
Trailhead - Illecillewaet Campground
Map Coordinates - 117°29'31"W 51°15'49"N (trailhead)

The "Great Glacier," now called the Illecillewaet Glacier, has been a well-known landmark to visitors in this region since the 1880s. At that time, a hike to the icy snout of the glacier was a short stroll from the railway and the comforts of Glacier House. Over the past century, the ice has receded about 1.5 km upslope.

This is among the shortest trails of the Illecillewaet area. It stops well short of the Illecillewaet Glacier and the view of the glacier is blocked from the trail's end by the sloping bedrock below it. However, it gives an excellent panorama of Mount Sir Donald and the Vaux Glacier to the East.

Great Glacier trail
Vaux Glacier, seen from the Great Glacier trail
© Parks Canada - John G. Woods
Bostock Creek trail

Length - 7.8 km (one way)
Hiking time - 3.5 hours (uphill)
Elevation range - 981 to 1721 m (740m)
Trailhead - 4 km eastward of western park boundary (westbound side of Hwy 1; no left-hand turning lane for eastbound traffic)
Map Coordinates - 117°40'9"W 51°13'50"N

 

Mountain caribou once passed through this valley in numbers large enough to draw attention. The original name, Caribou Creek, was appropriate. Caribou are no longer abundant anywhere in the park, although a few are seen each winter north of Bostock Pass. The valley name was changed in 1923 to honour Canadian senator Hewitt Bostock.

Bostock Creek trail offers a moderate hike through the Interior Rainforest, across the upper subalpine and into the upper subalpine forest. At first, views are restricted to Mount Fidelity and Corbin Peak. Careful observers will see the odd-shaped white hut of the Christiana snow research station on the ridge running east from Mount Fidelity.

At the summit of the pass hikers have the opportunity to see one of the few areas in the park where sedimentary rock covers the older and harder metamorphic bedrock typical of the Columbia Mountains. This blanket of limestone and shales gives a distinctively different look and feeling.

From the pass, you can explore relatively gentle alpine tundra ridges.

Bostock Creek Trail
Avalanche Crest trail

Length - 5 km (one way)
Hiking time - 3 hours (uphill)
Elevation range - 1250 to 2239 m (989m)
Trailhead - Illecillewaet Campground
Map Coordinates - 117°29'31"W 51°15'49"N (trailhead)

From November through May each year this crest spawns numerous avalanches which threaten the Trans-Canada Highway. The treeless slopes stretching down the mountain offer proof to summer hikers of this winter phenomenon.

This trail has particularly good views of the transportation history of Rogers Pass, including the original route of the Canadian Pacific Railway. It is from somewhere in the vicinity of Avalanche Crest that Major Rogers first viewed this famous pass in 1881.

Watch for hoary marmots, porcupines, Clark's nutcracker and pikas. You may see woodpeckers in the small burned-over areas along the trail. The trail ends in an open alpine basin nestled between Avalanche Crest and a ridge from Eagle Peak. If conditions are favourable, many hikers pick their own route up the crest (2375 m) and enjoy a panoramic view from the high country.

The view from Avalanche Crest
© Danyelle Magnan
Balu Pass trail

Length - 6.4 km (one way)
Hiking time - 2 hours (uphill)
Elevation range - 1318 to 2097 m
Trailhead - Rogers Pass Discovery Centre (westbound side of Hwy 1; left-turn lane for eastbound traffic)
Map coordinates - 117°31'18"W 51°18'6"N (trailhead)

Please Note: Seasonal bridges will be removed for the winter beginning late September. Creek crossings may be necessary after this time.

It's hard to forget that you're in bear country on this hike. The name is derived from the Indian word "baloo", meaning bear. The mountains flanking one wall of the valley are called Grizzly Mountain, Ursus Major (Ursus is Latin for bear) and Ursus Minor. The trail itself traverses wall-to-wall avalanche slopes and ends in alpine meadows - all excellent bear habitat. Stay alert!

The Balu Pass trail starts as a forest walk through a stand of mountain hemlock and occasional huge Englemann spruce. Connaught Creek flows gently by the side of the trail and is an excellent place to see dippers - adventurous dark little birds that hunt for aquatic invertebrates in mountain streams.

After about a half-hour you leave the timber behind. The trail constantly crosses the lower portions of avalanche paths up to the end of the valley.

The steepest part of the walk is at the end – a short uphill hike to Balu Pass summit. Wild flowers in August and the view of the glaciers, icefields and mountain peaks repay the effort.

The trail ends at the summit of the pass. On the other side is the Cougar Brook valley and Nakimu Caves. This area is designated as park zone 1: special protection. Access beyond this point is strictly regulated to protect the caves and the grizzly bears that make intensive use of the valley. You may not proceed beyond this point unless you are part of a group with the special permit required to enter the valley and the caves.

*Please Note: Dogs are not permitted on this trail, or any part of the Connaught Creek drainage.

Balu Pass trail
Asulkan Valley trail

Length - 6.9 km (one way)
Hiking time - 3-4 hours, uphill
Elevation range - 1245 - 2114 m (869m)
Trailhead - Illecillewaet Campground
Map coordinates - 117°29'31"W  51°15'49"N

*Please Note: Seasonal bridges will be removed for winter beginning October 1st. Access to the Asulkan Cabin will require a creek crossing after this time.

Writing of this valley in 1905, cartographer and explorer Arthur O. Wheeler described the Asulkan as "a gem of mountain scenery. The valley feels enchanted. There is magic in the atmosphere." Glacier views, mountain scenery, waterfalls and a pleasant valley walk through forests and across avalanche paths combine to make the Asulkan an excellent introduction to this part of the Columbia Mountains. The name "Asulkan" was first used by William Spotswood Green, who climbed in the area in 1888. It reportedly means "wild goat" in the dialect of one of the First Nations of the region, and recognizes the abundance of mountain goats he saw at the end of this valley in Asulkan Pass.

The first half of the trail is relatively easy going, with great variation in vegetation. Watch for hoary marmots sunning themselves in open rockpiles. The mountain walls across the brook form an impressive backdrop accentuated by a number of waterfalls. Dippers (water ouzels) hunt in the stream and you may hear a pika's warning eek! in the talus slopes.

After 4 km the trail begins to climb steeply, ending with a stiff hike up the very steep crest of a glacial moraine. At trail's end, the lower tongue of the Illecillewaet Glacier lies below you. At the end of the trail is the Asulkan Cabin, available to public use upon reservation with the Alpine Club of Canada. Persons wishing to proceed to Asulkan Pass should be equipped with mountaineering gear and be knowledgeable in its use.

Asulkan Valley trail
© Parks Canada - Sue Lamont<
Hermit trail

Length - 3.2 km (one way)
Hiking time - 2-3 hours, uphill
Elevation range - 1293 to 2112 m (819m)
Trailhead - 1.5 km east of Rogers Pass Discovery Centre on westbound side Trans-Canada Highway (no left-hand turning lane for eastbound traffic)
Map Coordinates - 117°30'46"W 51°18'50"N (Trailhead)

The Hermit Trail has the reputation of being the steepest trail in a park famous for its steep trails! It serves as quick access to the Hermit Range, which offers good climbing and scrambling opportunities on peaks such as Mount Tupper, Hermit Mountain, Mount Rogers and Swiss Peak.

The hike begins east of a large avalanche path and soon enters dense subalpine forest. The forest is a good place to watch and listen for brids, such as the white-winged crossbills, fox sparrows, and hermit thrush. The first great mountain views are at about 1900 metres where the trail comes out of the forest. The trail ends in the alpine Hermit Meadows, where overnight camping is available at a designated backcountry campsite.

Hermit Trail with mountain vistas and glacier lilies
Mount Sir Donald trail

Length - 5.1 km (one way)
Hiking time 2.5 to 4 hours (uphill)
Elevation change - 1250 to 2258 m (1008m)
Trailhead - Illecillewaet Campground
Map Coordinates - 117°29'31"W 51°15'49"N (trailhead)

NOTE: Sir Donald trail now ends at the junction with Perley Rock Trail.

Debris from a recent rockfall covers a section of the trail. If proceeding beyond trail end, please use extreme caution and be aware of the possibility of more falling rock. The upper Sir Donald Trail is recommended as a climbing access route only.

Please Note: Seasonal bridges will be removed for the winter beginning late September. Creek crossings may be necessary after this time.

Mount Sir Donald is named for Sir Donald A. Smith, the famous Canadian Pacific Railway director who drove the last spike on the CPR at Craigellachie in 1885. Typical of most trails in the Illecillewaet River valley, this one was originally built by the railway as an access route for mountain climbers. Mount Sir Donald is a classic climb, and the trail leading to its base is a rigorous uphill hike. If you are looking for a way to test your wind and energy, this trail is for you.

The trail ends abruptly in a narrow rocky col between Mount Sir Donald and Mount Uto. From this notch in the wall of the Selkirks, hikers can look across to the rolling meadows of the Bald Hills in eastern Glacier National Park.

Hiker on the Vaux Glacier moraine, Sir Donald trail
©Joey Vosburgh
Glacier Crest trail

Length - 5.7 km (one way)
Hiking time - 3 hours (uphill)
Elevation range - 1245 to 2114 m (869m), elevation of crest - 2255m
Trailhead - Illecillewaet Campground
Map coordinates - 117°28'31"W 51°15'49"N (trailhead)

As the name suggests, Glacier Crest offers glacier views on both of its flanks the giant tongue of the Illecillewaet to the east and the irregular walls of the Asulkan Glacier to the west. The ridge itself is an arête carved by the glaciers that once flowed down the valleys on either side. The view from this alpine spine is a Columbia Mountain panorama of rock and glacial ice.

The view from Glacier Crest
© Parks Canada - D. Magnan
Perley Rock trail

Length - 5.4 km (one way)
Hiking time - 3 hours, uphill
Elevation range - 1250 to 2393 m (1143m)
Trailhead - Illecillewaet Campground
Map Coordinates - 117°29'31"W 51°1549"N (trailhead)

Please Note: Seasonal bridges will be removed for the winter beginning late September. Creek crossings may be necessary after this time.

H. A. Perley undoubtedly sent Glacier House guests up to this area of the park many times during his tenure as hotel manager in the early days of the park. The Canadian Pacific Railway removed the hotel in 1929, but hikers can see its foundations and enjoy the trip to Perley Rock.

This is an ambitious hike. The trail leads upwards at a moderate pace until it crosses Vaux Creek, then launches a brutal climb towards the alpine. After many, many switchbacks, the trail ends at a steep snow slope. Snow crossings can be very dangerous. Exercise caution and consider bringing an ice axe on this trip if you are skilled in its use, or ending your hike at the snow slope if conditions are icy. Once across the snow slope, your uphill labour is nearly at an end, at a high viewpoint overlooking the vast and otherworldly expanse of the Illecillewaet Icefield.

Perley Rock trail
© Alice Weber
Abbott Ridge trail

Length - 6.8 km (1 - way)
Hiking time - 4 hours (uphill)
Elevation Change - 1245 to 2274 m (1029m)
Trailhead - Illecillewaet Campground
Map Coordinates - 117°29'31"W 51°15'49"N (trailhead)

Henry Abbott was one of the bold breeds of railway men who dared challenge these mountains nearly a century ago. Today, Abbott Ridge commands a view stretching from peak to peak while the Canadian Pacific Railway, which Abbott once helped to build, still snakes through this rugged terrain.

Abbott trail takes you up into true alpine tundra the land above the trees and ends on a narrow ridge. For strong hikers there are few routes that more closely simulate a mountain-top experience from the security of an established trail.

Abbott Ridge, overlooking Mount Sir Donald and the Illecillewaet Glacier
©Parks Canada - Jacolyn Daniluck

Multi-day

Backcountry campers require a Wilderness Pass and a Park Pass. Both are available at the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre and at the Park Headquarters in Revelstoke. Learn more about backcountry camping in Glacier National Park.

Beaver Valley trail

The lower Beaver Valley trail is open for four season use, from the trailhead near the Trans-Canada Highway to Grizzly Creek. A short branch of the lower Copperstain trail extends from the Beaver Valley trail to Grizzly Creek (the bridge has been decommissioned). Parks Canada has reintroduced mountain biking on the lower Beaver Valley trail and lower Copperstain Trail, from the trailhead to Grizzly Creek, on a trial basis in 2014.

Please note: During the winter months, the entire Beaver Valley is open to skiing, from the Trans-Canada Highway to the south boundary of Glacier National Park. There is no winter maintenance and skiers must have self-rescue capability and route-finding skills.

Beaver Valley trail (Grizzly Creek to Twenty Mile area)

The Beaver Valley south from the Grizzly Creek crossing to the Twenty Mile area is now designated as the Beaver Valley Wildlife Priority Area, and the trail is no longer maintained. Visitors hike or ski at their own risk, and travel is not recommended during the snow-free season. Any travel in the Beaver Valley Wildlife Priority Area requires extreme caution, bear awareness, self-rescue capability and self-reliance measures, including route-finding and creek-crossing skills.

The Beaver Valley trail from the Caribou Pass Connector trail junction north to the Twenty Mile area is open to hiking and skiing. This section of trail will receive very limited maintenance.

Beaver Valley trail (Caribou Pass Connector trail to south boundary of Glacier National Park)

The upper Beaver Valley trail is not maintained from the junction with the Caribou Pass Connector trail (south of the Twenty Mile area) to the south boundary of Glacier National Park. Visitors hike or ski at their own risk, and travel is not recommended during the snow-free season. Any travel in this portion of the Beaver Valley Wildlife Priority Area requires extreme caution, bear awareness, self-rescue capability and self-reliance measures, including route-finding and creek-crossing skills.

Copperstain trail

The Copperstain trail is no longer 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 below Copperstain Pass travel at their own risk, must be bear aware and must employ self-reliance measures, including route-finding and fording of streams. Travel is not recommended during the snow-free season. During the winter months, the Copperstain Pass area will remain open to visitor use.

Don't forget to pick up your camping permit at the Parks Canada office in Revelstoke or Rogers Pass Discovery Centre in Glacier National Park before you go. Learn more about backcountry camping in Glacier National Park

Bald Hills

Length – 16-40 km (varies with route selection)
Hiking Time – up to 4 days (varies with route selection)
Elevation Gain – up to 1130 m (varies with route selection)

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.

Don't forget to pick up your camping permit at the Parks Canada office in Revelstoke or Rogers Pass Discovery Centre in Glacier National Park before you go. Learn more about backcountry camping in Glacier National Park

Bald Mountain Wilderness