Cranbrook to Fort Steele

GPS Downloads

  • KML/KMZ files can be opened in Google Earth, and many smartphone apps.
  • GPX files can be opened by most GPS software apps when KMZ cannot. Note, GPX files do not contain custom colours and icons that we use on our maps; all tracks and icons will appear the same colours and styles. We recommend using KMZ instead when possible.
  • GPX-Garmin are GPX files that we have optimized for older Garmin units that only display tracks that contain 500 points or less (such as Garmin eTrex units).

Visit our GPS & Navigation page for instructions of how to use your smartphone as a GPS device (even when outside of data coverage) or how to import data to your Garmin unit.

About the Journey: 

This route joins the Isadore Canyon trail to Fort Steele - a journey of 11 km - using tracks, trails and roadways.

Journey Highlights: 

The trail terminates at Fort Steele. From Wikipedia:

Fort Steele was a gold rush boom town founded in 1864 by John Galbraith. The town was originally called "Galbraith's Ferry", named after the ferry set up by the city's founder over the Kootenay River. It was the only ferry within several hundred miles so Mr.Galbraith charged very high prices to get across. The town was renamed Fort Steele in 1888, after legendary Canadian lawman Superintendent Sam Steele of the North-West Mounted Police solved a dispute between a settler who had unjustly accused one of the local First Nations men with murder. This dispute had caused a great deal of tension between the town and the native people. Sam Steele, finding no real evidence against the accused natives, had the charges against them lifted. Both the town and the First Nations people were so grateful that they renamed the town Fort Steele. Much to Steele's dismay, the "Fort" part of the name comes from the NWMP setting up a station in the town, whereas the town itself was never a real fort.

In the late 1890s, Fort Steele was growing rapidly, becoming the heart of the East Kootenays. The Canadian Pacific railway showed interest in Fort Steele. It was decided that a station was to be built. But as the document stating the railway was to go though Fort Steele was on its way to be approved, a gentleman named Colonel James Baker had other ideas. Baker, a member of the British Columbia legislature, owned a small logging camp named Joseph's Prairie. Baker bribed and blackmailed his fellow Members and convinced them to bypass Fort Steele and bring the railway through Joseph's Prairie. This was final after the document stating the railway was to go through Fort Steele was "lost" in the mail. After the railway was completed, Baker renamed the town to Cranbrook. He later sold the people of Fort Steele land. Fort Steele's population quickly dropped as the population moved to the more appealing Cranbrook.

After Fort Steele was abandoned, the site slowly started to decay. A highway was even built right through the town's current main street. In the mid-1960s, B.C parliament started to preserve many historic sites. In 1967, Fort Steele was designated a historic site and restoration began. The highway was abandoned in the early 1960s for a more favorable route.

In 1969 Fort Steele opened to the public as Fort Steele Heritage Town. Over the past 45 years, millions of tourist have visited the site, and Fort Steele has become one of British Columbia's premier tourist attractions.