Columbia & Western Railway / Trans Canada Trail (The Great Trail) in the Paulson Area: Farron to Castlegar, 54 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 Trans Canada enters the West Kootenay region just north of the Paulson bridge along the Columbia & Western Railway at the height of land near Farron Station. This portion of the trail is filled which rich history, including the spectacular bombing of the railway in 1924. A small monument to its target, Doukhobor leader, Peter Verigin, lies adjacent to the trail. Further north, the trail passes through the nearly 1-km long Bulldog Tunnel, before turning east and travelling downhill to Castlegar, featuring fantastic views of Lower Arrow Lake along the way. This is possibly the most remote part of the KVR/C&W rail trail. The trail ends when it reaches the Hugh Keenleyside Dam; from here, the rail line is still active; the main line in Castlegar connects Nelson and Trail, with this sideline to the dam servicing the nearby timber mill.

The trail surface varies from hard packed to loose gravel. Trail maintenance is performed by the BC government (Rec Sites and Trails BC) and the local volunteer steward group, the Columbia & Western Trail Society. Due to the rugged and remote nature of the area, the trail's various trestles, culverts and embankments are bombarded by Mother Nature each winter and spring; trail users should anticipate closures and temporary bypasses when setting out on the trail early in the year. Please report any major washouts or new damage to us, or the organizations mentioned above.

Trail users may wish to note that snow can cling to the height-of-land (at the Farron explosion site) as late as early June. Though usually no deeper than 6-8", some users may wish to consult the map and take note of a logging road which detours 7 km of the trail on its east side. The southern end of this road is very steep and muddy.

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 West Kootenay main page or even more detail on our "Equipment Tips" page of our Travel Tips.

Trail Highlights and Developments: 

  • Farron Explosion Site
  • The tunnels and trestles of the Columbia & Western Railway (especially the 912m long Bulldog Tunnel!)
  • Views of Lower Arrow Lake
  • Old rails preserved and still intact (near Castlegar)

Trail Operator: 

  • Rec Sites and Trails BC (department of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations). Trail users are encouraged to call 1-844-676-8477 if you want to report an infraction on any section of the trail.
  • The roadway from the eastern terminus of the rail trail to the dam is privately owned by the local mill. The paved road to Castlegar is considered a municipal road (city of Castlegar).

Trail Stewards and Volunteers: 

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!