Trans Canada Trail (The Great Trail) in the Castlegar Area: Castlegar to Nelson, 63 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: 

This route is a new addition to the Trans Canada Trail, connecting Castlegar directly with Nelson. This route effectively replaces the original route south from Castlegar to Trail, then east to Salmo and north to Nelson. The Castlegar-Trail route is still in the process of being officially connected, and the Salmo-Nelson route will remain designated as a spur to the main TCT route.

For the time being, the Trans Canada Trail route from Castlegar to Nelson is a little complicated; a fair amount of the trail which is already designated - or will be in the future - is "hiking only", hence why our map is so littered with routes.

For trail users arriving from the west, the route leaves the Columbia & Western rail trail at its eastern terminus, running along Arrow Lakes Drive towards downtown Castlegar. Instead of continuing along Columbia Ave, the route swings south (technically still Arrow Lakes Drive) and uses a pedestrian tunnel under the CP Railway. Arriving in downtown, the route heads north past City Hall, the Railway Museum and joins a pedestrian walkway along the Robson Bridge, crossing the Columbia River. Once on the opposite side of the river, the route connects to the Waldie Island Trail (walkers only, bicyclists use the highway to Brilliant Road) and runs along Brilliant Road to the Historic Brilliant Suspension Bridge.

The route to Nelson from this point follows the Skattebo Reach Trail, which runs from Castlegar's Brilliant Suspension Bridge, east along the Kootenay River to the small community of Glade. On the far side of Glade, the Ward's Ferry trail runs to the Rover Creek Forest Service Road, which connects to Blewett Road, near the Canal lands west of the community of Blewett. Both of these trails are HIKING ONLY. No camping is available along the trails.

A suitable bicycle bypass route around Skattebo Reach and Ward's Ferry utilizes Highway 3A to the canal lands on Blewett Road (where some dike trails can be accessed). Pass Creek Road can also be used but shoulders are non-existent and there are many blind corners; we don't recommend it.

From the eastern end of the Ward's Ferry Trail, the route between Blewett and Nelson follows Blewett Road to the village of Granite. Cyclists beware: the route then swings south and involves a steep climb up Morning Mountain to an elevation of 1320 metres along the "Bottom's Up" mountain bike trail, then travels back down via the "Giveout Creek" forest service road to meet Highway 6 and the Salmo Great Northern Rail Trail at Cottonwood Lake, south of Nelson. The route then follows the Great Northern northbound to Nelson at Mountain Station. Touring cyclists may find this route incredibly challenging as the route is more suitable for mountain bikes. Therefore we have marked this portion of the TCT as "Hiking Only". Touring cyclists may wish to reach Nelson by continuing east on Granite Road (turn left on Railway St once you reach Nelson, then right on Baker).

Trail Highlights and Developments: 

Highlights of the Trans Canada Trail in the Castlegar area include:

  • Skettebo Reach Trail
  • Railway Museum in Castlegar
  • Brilliant Bridge (across the river from Castlegar)

About the Gaps: 

Ward's Ferry Trail is still not fully designated and remains a gap in the Trans Canada Trail.

Trail Operator: 

Trail Stewards and Volunteers: 

Parking & Staging Areas

In Castlegar, the Railway Museum's parking lot can be used for some long term parking for those headed to the Columbia & Western, but check in with the Museum staff first!

Public Washrooms

Limited access to public washrooms along this route. Use facilities in downtown Castlegar! Some outhouses exist on the Skattebo Reach trail.


Camping is available on the Northeast side of the Robson Bridge at the public campgrounds/fairgrounds in Castlegar.

Shopping & Provisions

Kootenay Market is located 350 metres south of the railway tunnel in Castlegar.


The Greyhound station is located south of the trail route in Castlegar. The airport is located across the river near Selkirk College.

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!