Difficulty Level: Intermediate/Advanced (unstable trail surfaces and a few steep climbs – could be considered advanced due to length)
Elevation Gain: 90m (Castlegar to Trail)
Dog Friendly: Yes
Bike Friendly: Yes (x-country)
Facilities: Pit toilets at the Picnic Site, benches along trail
Season: This trail could possibly be completed in any month of the year though the majority of users will find the June to October period most pleasing. In spring high water may prevent crossing of some otherwise dry creeks. Soft trail surfaces in spring are susceptible to damage – particularly from bikes and horses and these uses are strongly discouraged when these conditions are encountered. Loops of various lengths are possible at the north end of the trail and these enjoy year round use.
The Columbia trail connects Castlegar to Trail on the east side of the Columbia River. Recent upgrades have made it more accessible and enjoyable for all non-motorized use. Spanning across many different forest types, the Columbia trail is a wonderful asset that connects two important West Kootenay communities. From the end of Columbia Road in Ootischenia, near Castlegar, to the water tower in Sunningdale in Trail is 25km one-way. From the recently constructed picnic site 2km inside of the Popoure gate to the water tower in Sunningdale is an 18km trip. There are pit toilets at the picnic site and many opportunities along the way to rest and enjoy the spectacular view of the Columbia River valley.
This is a long one-way trail and although there are many opportunities to be in the shade, some sections are very exposed. Good hiking shoes and plenty of water is a must for this 5-6 hour adventure. We recommend doing a vehicle drop at the destination end of the trail.
Note to Cyclists:
Trip time total: 3h20min
Total Dismount time Castlegar to Trail: 25min
Total Dismount time Trail to Castlegar: 35min
Trail Difficulty level: Intermediate (due to some steep technical sections/unstable trail surfaces)
Note: Bike travel on the Columbia trail is not recommended on wet or rainy days, wider cross country bike tires are strongly recommended.