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With thousands of miles to explore by foot, Cranbrook has hiking trails galore

By Michele Leyenaar and Janice Strong

CRANBROOK – This part of B.C. lays claim to some of the best hiking trails in the province. With soaring mountain peaks, crystal clear lakes, lush green forests to explore and wildlife to find, I could actually write a book about the area’s hiking trails, but I’ll leave that up to Janice Strong and her book Mountain Footsteps.
There are several websites, like this link, with details on the best areas to hike, but, I’ll give you a taste here with some of Cranbrook’s top picks.

Easy to moderate hikes:
Cranbrook Community Forest – More than 200 hectares of land provide rolling hills, gullies, forests, streams, grasslands, and of course, fantastic views. Your dog will love you for taking him here, but remember, leashes are a must. The forest is also a popular area with many mountain bikers.

View from Cranbrook Community Forest - Photo: Janice Strong

View from Cranbrook Community Forest – Photo: Janice Strong

Eager Hills – You’ve got to love a name like this. It just makes you want to hike there, doesn’t it? This is a short hike with big rewards, including views of the Steeples Range, and Fort Steele. Eager Hills is to the north east of the Cranbrook Community Forest.

View from Eager Hills - Photo: Janice Strong

View from Eager Hills – Photo: Janice Strong

Top of the World Provincial Park – Another aptly named hike that’s also a great spot for swimming and fishing if you take the full day’s trek to reach Fish Lake. Lussier hot springs are nearby, as well as some great camping spots. This provincial park is about a 40 minute drive heading north of Cranbrook and another 2 hours driving on gravel roads. Before you know it, you’ll be, well, feeling on top of the world. It has well-marked trails for hikers and many more to explore through the wilderness. There are also rich fossil beds and ancient Ktunaxa archaeological discoveries like chert mines and hunting sites to explore.

Fish Lake - Photo: Janice Strong

Fish Lake – Photo: Janice Strong

Moderate to difficult hikes:
Lakit Lookout – Although a relatively short hike, the drive in can be tricky and not recommended if you don’t have a high clearance vehicle. If you take on the challenge of getting there, you’ll be amply rewarded with the spectacular views from Lakit Lookout, which include looking out over the Rocky Mountain Trench to the glorious Purcell range. This trek is not recommended in poor weather or after mid-September.

View from Lakit - Photo: Brad Scott

View from Lakit – Photo: Brad Scott

Fisher Peak – This is a full-day’s trek not for the meek and involves some tough terrain with steep inclines, rocky ground, rocky and loose talus slopes to ascend and requiring some scrambling with the use of your hands. The elevation of Fisher Peak is nearly 10,000 feet and provides unreal views of East Kootenay. Go geared up for quick weather changes, but by the end of the day you’ll have full on bragging rights for bagging one of the region’s most revered peaks.

Cranbrook's icon, Fisher Peak - Photo: Janice Strong

Cranbrook’s icon, Fisher Peak – Photo: Janice Strong

Mause Creek Tarns – Mause Creek Tarns is a good day hike with many cool areas to explore such as Tanglefoot Lake, a beautiful subalpine lake. This hike requires some creek crossings, talus slopes and steep trails. If you hike the 3rd week of September the alpine larch will be changing their needles to a golden colour for autumn. The road requires a high clearance 4×4 up Mause Creek Rd.

Tanglefoot Lake in the Five Passes Trail

Tanglefoot Lake at Mause Creek Tarns

For other trails in the area check out our Biking Blog where you’ll find spots suitable for biking as well as hiking.
If you’re visiting solo and don’t want to hike alone, connect with the East Kootenay Outdoor Club who organise regular hikes in the Cranbrook area on weekends and weekdays.
Get outfitted at your choice of the following stores – Gerick Sports, Mountain Man Outdoors and High Country Sportsall located right downtown Cranbrook.
See you on the trails!