Trans Canada Trail (The Great Trail) in the Nelson Area: Nelson to Gray Creek, 57 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: 

Arriving from the heights of Mountain Station above town on the Salmo Great Northern trail, the Trans Canada Trail enters Nelson from the south. The trail is well marked through Nelson's city streets north to the waterfront, where a great trail (finely crushed gravel) winds along the lake towards the "BOB" (Big Orange Bridge).

From here to Balfour, the Trans Canada Trail is a marine trail, catering to kayakers and canoers.

At just over 30 km in length, the route can be paddled in a single (albeit long) day for most kayakers. Some paddlers may wish take advantage of the Kokanee Creek provincial park campsite, or perhaps look into wilderness camping sites along the south shore, within West Arm Provincial Park.

As an alternate route for hikers and cyclists, simply follow the highway to the Balfour ferry dock (longest *free* ferry ride in Canada!).

From Balfour, the ferry whisks trail users to the east side of Kootenay Lake; continuing along the highway, the Trans Canada Trail passes through Crawford Bay to the small village of Gray Creek. This highway route is a favourite among local road cyclists and many touring cyclists. From Gray Creek, the trail route climbs up, up and away into the mountains over Gray Creek Pass.

Trail Highlights and Developments: 

Highlights of the paddling route between Nelson and Balfour include...

  • Plentiful camping, launch, rest stops along the way
  • Note the "public access" points we have added to the map for pit stops (see additional layers from the map menu, or download the KMZ version)
  • Fantastic mountain scenery
  • Warm water in the summer months
  • Calm water - but note areas of turbulence where West Arm narrows
  • Possible use of ferry for crossing Kootenay Lake

Trail Operator: 

Trail Stewards and Volunteers: 

  • No volunteer/stewards in place


  • Official campground at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park (about 20 km east of Nelson along the water)
  • Wilderness camping is permitted along the south shore in West Arm Provincial Park. There are no amenities and users are expected to "leave no trace"

Printable Maps & Directions (PDF)

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!