Columbia & Western Railway / Trans Canada Trail (The Great Trail) in the Grand Forks Area: Grand Forks to Farron, 58 km

Map Legend & Disclaimer

Note that you can click on each object on the map to obtain details about it.

Trans Canada Trail Legend:

Trans Canada Trail Pavilion
Multi-Use Route (Cycling & Walking)
Hiking Only Route (No Cycling)
Equestrian Route (May Allow Cyclists/Walkers)
Paddling/Water Route
Temporary Bypass or Unofficial TCT Route
Trans Canada Trail Closed
Obstacle or Warning (click it for details)

Alternate Route Legend:

Alternate Route for Cyclists & Walkers
Alternate Route for Hiking
Alternate Route for Equestrians
Connection Point to the Trans Canada Trail

Google Maps Legend:

Map menu to access highlights, campsites, grocery stores, parking areas, toilets and more!
Click the grey star at the top of the map to favourite it in Google Maps, so you can pull it up later in your Google Maps app's "My Places".

Disclaimer: This trail information is subject to changes. While reasonable effort has been made to ensure that the information on this site is correct, Trails BC makes no warranty about the accuracy of this information and accepts no liability for any inconvenience or any direct or consequential loss arising from reliance upon this information. Be sure to check our Latest Trail Closures before heading out and read our full disclaimer!.

Please contact Trails BC if you require in-depth trail knowledge or have suggestions or corrections. Support us by becoming a member or donating funds!

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 colour and styles. We recommend using KMZ instead of GPX if possible.

The files below include data for only this specific area. For all of our Trans Canada Trail data for the entire province (including features, campsites and alternate routes), download our BC.kmz master file (1.2 MB)

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 Route: 

The Columbia & Western trail follows the Kettle River between Grand Forks to Christina Lake before climbing the shoulder of Castle Mountain and taking in the views of Christina Lake at the old railway station of Fife and continuing north uphill to Farron Station, nestled in the Monashee Mountains.

Trail Highlights and Developments: 

  • Grand Forks Trans Canada Trail Pavilion
  • Huge trestle over the Kettle River between Grand Forks and Christina Lake
  • Connection to the Dewdney Trail and Cascade Highway

In Spring 2017, there will be an upgrade of the Columbia & Western trail between Grand Forks and Cascade West by Recreation Sites and Trails and the RDKB. This short 17 km section is a MFNRLO legally designated stretch of  rail trail, increasing the inclusivity of the trail to all ages and abilities and creating an improved route for active transportation. Curious about the project? Contact the Grand Forks Trails Society.  

Important: You will almost certainly encounter motorized vehicles along the route, particularly ATVs and dirt bikes, which could be travelling at high speeds. Over the years, unregulated motorized use has degraded the trail surface along the Columbia & Western, making many areas quite challenging for hikers and cyclists. Users should come prepared for sandy conditions. Please see our equipment recommendations on the Boundary main page or even more detail on our "Equipment Tips" page of our Travel Tips.

Important: Ticks are an issue in the spring so make sure you do tick checks. You may wish to wear long pants, tucking the bottoms into your socks while avoiding the foliage at the edges of the trail.

Also important: You will encounter many gates along the TCT in the Boundary region. These gates are in place for a reason, and users should ensure to CLOSE the gates behind themselves. Closing the gates will ensure that livestock do not escape - preventing them from wandering to areas (such as the highways) which would be unsafe for them as well as drivers. The gates also prevent access of the trail by unauthorized motorized users. They are a small inconvenience to trail users, but they are necessary and should be respected.

Trail Operator: 

Trail Stewards and Volunteers: 

Directions: Eastbound

Starting from the Granby tunnel and shelter, the trail travels downhill along a somewhat rough and wild ride, with views of the Granby River and North Forks Road below. Be sure to keep your eyes on the trail, as it seems a little too easy to get caught up in the view and tumble over the edge! After 1.7 km, the trail crosses Fiserman Creek Road. In another 3.6 km, the trail crosses Goat Mountain Road. After another 4.9 km, the trail finally crosses North Fork Road at the valley bottom and enters Grand Forks. Total elevation loss is approximately 183 metres at an average 2.5% grade. The trail surface dramatically improves as it enters the urban area and indeed becomes paved before too long. The trail will approach Highway 3; crossing it is a slight challenge due to handrails placed along the road. This is hopefully a temporary measure until a controlled crosswalk can be implemented!

Arriving to the river at Kettle River Drive, the trail appears to continue over the bridge. However, the rail trail beyond is actually part of an active railway serving the local mill and the trail soon ends. Therefore, the following directions run through downtown Grand Forks, staying near the river, to meet the rail trail on the other side. Turn left on Kettle River Drive. After 420 metres when the road bends to the left, the trail ducks to the right, heading downhill into parkland. A Trans Canada Trail Pavilion can be found on the riverbank near the parking area.

The trail turns north, then immediately turns right (east), running through a small alleywall behind the hardware store and between houses (if you miss it, just go east on 72 Ave) to 2nd Street, turning right (south), going over the river bridge, and two blocks to 66 Ave - turn left. This street heads towards the river - and on the other side of the highway. Before crossing the bridge, a trail leaves the road and heads south along the riverbank. The mill is on your right side. After about 800 metres, you will see the active railway appear on your right side. The active tracks soon end, and your travel on the Columbia & Western can continue, crossing over the Kettle River on a bridge, twinned with a gas pipeline.

The trail continuing east is simple to follow, though you will encounter a few gates to keep motorized vehicles out and farm animals in. The trail travels between the highway and the river for about 16 km, passing through the Gilpin Grasslands Provincial Park and crossing over rapids on the Kettle River. At one point of this stretch, the Canada/US border lies only 450 metres south of the trail.

The trail crosses Route 395 (border to the right), then crosses over an impressive trestle over the Kettle River, and immediately turns left on the other side, for a short, steady climb up the flank of Castle Mountain for 2.5 km.

The trail crosses Santa Rosa Road, and is the starting point of the section of the Dewdney Trail heading east to Rossland (37.5 km plus 7 km highway connection on the east side) - one of our recommended alternate trails, a historic pack horse trail which is suitable for hiking and horseriding. Santa Rosa Road turns into the old Cascade Highway (approx 60 km), an exhausting but rewarding ride over the mountains, running parallel to the Dewdney Trail (and indeed crossing it a number of times) which we recommend for cyclists as a shortcut to Rossland, though it is a challenging and remote ride.

Continuing north on the Columbia & Western for 4 more km brings you to Fife Rd, and conveniently, Fife Station. This is the end of the Boundary region for the Trans Canada Trail. The trail continues north into the Western Kootenay region.

Report a Trail Closure


Trail maintenance issues are the responsibility of the Trail Steward, which is either the trail owner or a group given authorization to perform maintenance work. Trails BC is a trail steward for a very limited number of trail segments on the Trans Canada Trail; unfortunately, if a major trail issue occurs along the Trans Canada Trail, there is often very little we can do about it - but we can try to pass on the information to the trail steward, if one exists.

Information such as a precise location (GPS waypoint), photo, as well as your contact information is extremely helpful to ensure the problem is accurately reported.

AGAIN, DO NOT USE THIS FORM TO SUBMIT NOTICES ABOUT TRAILS THAT ARE NOT PART OF THE TRANS CANADA TRAIL. We will simply delete the submission and it will not be posted or passed on to anyone. If you need to report a closure on such a trail, please determine the trail owner or operator and send a notice to them.

Would it be unwise to continue through the closure or blockage? You may add more detail in your report.
Please enter your trail closure report. Include a GPS location or a detailed description of its precise location.
JPG format only, 3 MB max. You must click "upload" after selecting file.
If the blockage/closure can be bypassed, please include your recommended route to do so!