For those looking to explore the valley plains and surrounding mountains of the East Kootenays, St. Eugene is a great base. Traditionally located on the territories of the Ktunaxa Nation, the area is steeped in history and culture that dates back to over 10,000 years.
Walkers can enjoy leisurely strolls while looking out for Lewis’s woodpeckers, osprey and Rocky Mountain elk. More adventurous hikers can challenge themselves with mountain views, alpine terrain and day-long climbs. Of course, we recommend that you check the forecasts, pack responsibly and educate yourselves on the wildlife in the area.
Below are some of our favourite paths.
Enjoy a 20-25 minute hike to the top of the hoodoos with a multitude of trails to explore and excellent views of the Columbia Valley. The hoodoos are 395 feet high and offer vistas in every direction, particularly of Columbia Lake and Dutch Creek.
Connecting Cranbrook and the quaint town of Kimberley, the 26km paved trail follows an old railroad track and is a favourite for walkers and bikers. There are various starting points with access to public transit along the way. The trail is also equipped with public washrooms, picnic tables, benches, and bike repair stations.
Take in 360 degree views of the Rocky and Purcell Mountains from the top of this 4.51km loop. Considered a moderately challenging route this trail is popular for hiking, mountain biking and trail running. It takes on average just over an hour and a half to complete. Dogs are welcome and may be off-leash in some areas.
Find the trail just outside of Cranbrook at the rest area pullout on Highway 3/93/95, across the highway from the popular Eager Hills hike. At the entrance, turn left on the Isadore Canyon trail, go about 100 steps, then enter the main trail at a short log boardwalk. The rest is extremely well marked all the way to the top. As you head back down, you will see the split off point to complete the loop.
Used as a lookout over 70 years ago for forest fires, a quick 20-minute, 1.4km walk will take you to an unobstructed view of Fisher Peak and the Steeples Mountains. Pack for a picnic at the table at the top or discover the biking trails at the surrounding Eager Hill, including The Kessel Run, R2DTour, and Padawan.
The short and easy 2km hike to the Buttes in Wycliffe offers a spectacular view of the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Purcell Range to the west.The elevation gain to the south Butte is 130m and the subtle grade incline ensures that this view can be enjoyed by all.
The most famous hike among the local community is Fisher Peak. Easily recognizable by its height, this mountain is the highest peak in Kootenays. The journey is a 5km, 6 to 9 hour hike to the summit with an elevation gain of 1,292m. It is recommended for experienced hikers only.