From the eastern shore of Kootenay Lake, the Trans Canada Trail climbs over the rugged Purcell Mountains into the Rocky Mountain Trench and up the Elk Valley for a distance of 400 km.. This region of BC is the most challenging part of the TCT in the province where one will be traversing two mountain passes with elevations over 2,000 meters.
Although the most challenging region for travelers to traverse this region offers the most scenic part of BC's Trans Canada Trail route.
After climbing Grey Creek pass, Kimberley is the travelers first destination then via Canada’s newest rail trail-the NorthStar Rails to Trails it is 25 km into the regional hub of Cranbrook.
Cranbrook lies in the heart of the famed Rocky Mountain Trench, a valley on the western slopes of the Rockies that runs 1600 km from the Flathead Lake in Montana all the way up to the Liard Valley in Northeastern BC. In this part of the province, the TCT is mostly a route composing of rural and forestry roads with a few trails sprinkled in.
From Elko the route of the Trans Canada Trail follows the Elk Valley until near its headwater at Elk Lakes Provincial Park, where the TCT crossing into Alberta at Elk Pass is made.
This region can be tricky to navigate. For through-travellers, we highly recommend reviewing our Navigation Tips and refer to trail guidebooks as well as carrying a GPS unit.
Many of the road connections used in this region are Forest Service Roads, maintained by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations. Visit their Roads and Bridge Works page if unsure about the current status of a road along your route.