All Parks Canada facilities are temporarily closed, all visitor services and all motor vehicle access by visitors are suspended until further notice.

Challenge yourself on the 16.5-kilometre Kindersley-Sinclair Loop through alpine meadows and over mountain ridges, or set out an ambitious 8.4-kilometre day hike through naturally fire-swept forest to the active Stanley Glacier. For maps, detailed route finding and trail descriptions, visit the Kootenay Visitor Centre or purchase a hiking guide book and topographical map.


Safety

Safety is your responsibility. There are always hazards associated with outdoor recreation. Even short trips can have serious consequences. Minimize your risk by planning ahead.

  • Check the weather forecast, current trail conditions, warnings and closures or visit a Parks Canada visitor centre.
  • Be prepared for emergencies and changes in weather. Mountain weather changes quickly and it can snow any month of the year. Dress in layers, bring extra food and warm clothing.
  • Study descriptions and maps before heading out. Always choose a trail suitable for the least experienced member in your group.
  • Bring your own water. Surface water may be contaminated and unsafe for drinking.
  • Carry a first aid kit and bear spray.
  • Tell a reliable person where you are going, when you will be back, and who to call if you do not return: Parks Canada Dispatch – 403-762-1470.
  • Ticks carrying Lyme disease may be present in the park. It is important to check yourself and your pet after hiking.
  • Avoid wearing earbuds or headphones. Be alert at all times.
  • In case of EMERGENCY, call 911 or satellite phone: 403-762-4506. Cell phone coverage is not reliable throughout the national park.

Snowy trails

Snow can remain on some trails well into the summer. When trails are snow covered, route finding can be difficult and travel through deep snow or on hard snow and ice can be unsafe. Be prepared and check trail conditions before heading out.

Seasonal avalanche risk

Trails above tree line (2,000 m) may be exposed to avalanche hazard at any time of the year and especially from November through June. Steep slopes that are snow covered have the potential to avalanche. For more information on the avalanche hazard, visit a Parks Canada visitor centre or check the Mountain Safety section.


Recommended Packing List
  • Trail guide and map
  • Full water bottle or thermos
  • High energy food
  • Bear spray
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • First aid kit
  • Headlamp or flashlight with spare batteries
  • Hat and gloves
  • Hiking poles
  • Rain/wind jacket
  • Extra warm clothing in case of an emergency
  • Cell phone or satellite emergency communication device.
Trail Etiquette

Show courtesy to fellow trail users!

  • Leave what you find —it is the law. Natural and cultural resources such as rocks, fossils, artifacts, horns, antlers, wildflowers and nests are protected by law and must be left undisturbed for others to discover and enjoy. 
  • Dispose of human waste at least 100 m from any water source. Bury solid human waste in a hole 15 cm deep. Pack out your toilet paper. 
  • To prevent damage to vegetation, stay on designated trails at all times. 
  • Trails are used by a variety of outdoor enthusiasts. Be sure to yield to others. 
  • Leave no trace. Pack out everything you pack in.
Wildlife and people

Kootenay National Park is home to wildlife including elk, wolves, cougars, grizzly bears and black bears. To successfully raise their young and sustain a healthy population, wildlife need access to as much quality habitat with as few human surprises as possible.

Be aware of possible encounters with wildlife in all areas of the park, including paved trails and roads.

Tips

  • Always carry bear spray, ensure it is accessible, and know how to use it before heading out.
  • Make noise. Being quiet puts you at risk for sudden wildlife encounters. Be alert through shrubby areas and when approaching blind corners. Travel in tight groups and always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Report bear, cougar, wolf and coyote sightings and encounters to Parks Canada Dispatch when it is safe to do so: 403-762-1470.
  • Keep dogs on leash and under control at all times.

More information

Trail Ratings

Easy

  • Suitable for those with little or no trail experience.
  • Flat to gently rolling with no obstacles.
  • Little or no elevation gain or loss.

Moderate

  • Suitable for those with basic trail experience.
  • Gently rolling with short, steep sections and infrequent obstacles.
  • Moderate elevation gain or loss.

Difficult

  • Suitable only for those with trail experience.
  • Long, steep sections with frequent obstacles.
  • Major elevation gain or loss.
Estimated time to complete these trails ranges depending on trail distances, fitness levels, weather and trail conditions.
Map: Kootenay National Park Backcountry Guide
Kootenay National Park Backcountry Guide

 

 

Day hikes in Kootenay National Park
Trail Distance Time Elevation gain
  Helmet - Ochre Junction 12.6 km 4 hours 50 m
 Numa Creek
    Closed until further notice
12.8 km 4 hours 60 m
 Simpson River 17.6 km 5.5 hours 140 m
 Prospector's Valley 20.8 km 6.5 hours 200 m
 Stanley Glacier 8.4 km 3 hours 365 m
 Kimpton Creek 9.6 km 3 hours 335 m
 Kindersley / Sinclair Loop 17.5 km 6 hours 1055 m
 Hawk Creek & Ball Pass 20.2 km 7 hours 885 m
 Floe Lake 21 km 7 hours 715 m

Trail Descriptions

 Easy trails

Helmet Falls
 Helmet - Ochre Junction

Length: 12.6 km
Hiking time: 4 hours
Elevation: 50 m
Trailhead: Paint Pots parking lot, 84 km east of Radium Hot Springs.

Habitat: Forested trail with lush ground cover leading to a river. 
Description: A good backpacking destination for beginners through lush forest. Alternatively, a 4 hour day hike.

Backpacking: This trail leads to the Helmet / Ochre Junction backcountry campground. It is the northernmost access point for the popular Rockwall multiday backpacking route.


 Numa Creek
    Closed until further notice

Length: 12.8 km
Hiking time: 4 hours
Elevation: 60 m
Trailhead: Numa Falls parking lot, 80 km east of Radium Hot Springs.

Habitat: Forested, creekside trail opening into prominent avalanche paths.
Description: An easy, forested creekside trail. Alternatively, a 4 hour day hike.

Backpacking: This trail leads to the Numa Creek backcountry campround and is a middle access point for the popular Rockwall multiday backpacking route.


 Simpson River

Length: Up to 17.6 km
Hiking time: Up to 5.5 hours
Elevation: 140 m
Trailhead: Simpson River parking lot, 57 km east of Radium Hot Springs.

Habitat: Forested trail near a three valley confluence. Watch for evidence of wildlife.
Description: Fire in 2001 opened up this long, easy trail which leads to Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park.

Backpacking: This trail leads into Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park in British Columbia.


 Prospector's Valley

Length: Up to 20.8 km
Hiking time: Up to 6.5 hours
Elevation: 200 m
Trailhead: Marble Canyon parking lot, 89 km east of Radium Hot Springs.

Habitat: Forested trail with prominent avalanche slopes. Watch for bears and wildflowers.
Description: A gentle trail through regenerating forest, featuring open views and wildflowers.

 Moderate trails

Stanley Glacier Trail
 Stanley Glacier

Length: 8.4 km
Hiking time: 3 hours
Elevation: 365 m
Trailhead: Stanley Glacier parking lot, 91 km east of Radium Hot Springs.

Habitat: Regenerating forest, glacier, glacial moraine, cliffs, many small mammals. Watch for fossils.
Description: A popular half-day trail climbing through a regenerating forest to talus slopes beneath cliffs and glaciated peaks.


 Kimpton Creek

Length: 9.6 km
Hiking time: 3 hours
Elevation: 335 m
Trailhead: Kimpton Creek parking lot, 9 km east of Radium Hot Springs.

Habitat: Forested trail with prominent avalanche slopes. Watch for bears.
Description: A cool forested trail on a hot day.

 Difficult trails

Floe Lake
 Kindersley – Sinclair Loop

Length: 17.5 km
Hiking time: 6 hours
Elevation: 1055 m
Trailhead: Kindersley Pass parking lot, 12 km east of Radium Hot Springs OR Sinclair Creek parking lot, 11 km east of Radium Hot Springs.

Habitat: Forested trail with avalanche slopes and rocky ridges. Watch for bears.
Description: This is the parks top-rated loop, climbing to alpine meadows. Due to grizzly bear activity, Group of 4 Access is usually in place by midsummer. Check the Trail Report.


 Hawk Creek and Ball Pass

Length: 20.2 km
Hiking time: 7 hours
Elevation: 885 m
Trailhead: Floe Lake parking lot, 72 km east of Radium Hot Springs.

Habitat: Regenerating, post-burn forest.
Description: A challenging day hike to a rocky, rugged pass providing access to the Shadow Lake and Egypt Lake regions of Banff National Park.

Backpacking: This trail leads to backcountry camping in the Shadow Lake area of Banff National Park.


 Floe Lake

Length: 21 km
Hiking time: 7 hours
Elevation: 715 m
Trailhead: Floe Lake parking lot, 72 km east of Radium Hot Springs.

Habitat: Open and meadowy trail, burnt forest, glaciers, peaks and a large lake.
Description: A classic! Spectacular lakeside destination and the southern-most access point for The Rockwall.

Backpacking: This trail leads to the Floe Lake backcountry campground and is the southernmost access point for the popular Rockwall Trail, multi-day route.