Elk Valley Community Trail

Imagine, a trail from Elko to Elkford. Imagine a trail all the way across Canada. Well, some one did, and it goes right through the Elk Valley. The present Trans Canada Trail route passes through the Elk Valley on its way to join Cranbrook to Elk Lakes Pass and is currently comprised of many sections of road. There is now a possibility that the entire route could become a Class A trail. Planning groups are working now towards achieving this vision.

Trail project partners include the District of Sparwood, Elkford Snowmobile Club, and the Fernie Trails Alliance, who will facilitate construction of their portions of the route, and be responsible for it’s maintenance as well.

The Elk Valley Community Trail will provide opportunities for the region, from both a visitor / economic perspective, and at a local level by connecting Elk Valley Communities.

Community hubs along the trail will benefit from trail user visits which are likely to involve replenishing of supplies and possible accommodation. With approximately 20 km trail sections between each of the communities connecting campgrounds, water sources, and other traveller amenities, it is a perfect distance for a 1 day walk or 1/2 day bike ride.

To be used by hikers, mountain bikers, snowshoers, and cross country skiers, the trail will provide a quality recreational amenity, adding to the improved health and general well being of its users and enjoyment of the Elk Valley’s scenic beauty.

With each community already having extensive trail networks, and as such, having significant assets that can be enhanced through new adjoining trail construction, directional signage, and interpretive opportunities, this project is a perfect fit for the Elk Valley communities.

The proposed trail is presently envisioned with the Fernie Trails Alliance taking responsibility for the section beginning in Elko, through the Lodgepole, to Drinkwater Creek in Morrissey, then continue to Cokato, and then connecting to Fernie on the Montane Trail leading into the Historic Downtown. Leaving town traveling along the Kootenay Elk Trail to Old Stumpy and joining onto the 24 km. Coal Discovery Trail where the explorer will be lead on single track trail to the Hosmer’s old mine working ruins, at the Hosmer Creek trailhead.

The District of Sparwood would take over from Hosmer, and work on enhancing the Coal Discovery Trails (grade, bridges and signage), to connect at Sparwoods Mountain Shadows campground, and to their internal trail system which follows around the Golf Course, through town to the CPR and Elk River pedestrian bridges, through Sparwood Heights, to Wilson Creek, Lower Elk Valley Road to Line Creek.

Motorized trail groups in Elkford have expressed interest in extending this trail from Line Creek, following parallel to the CNI forestry road, where it will connect with the existing Lily Lake / Forest Trail, following through town along Boivin Creek, the trail will join the Mountain Trail to Round Prairie.

A Trans Canada Trail supported initiative, to fill in one of the missing gaps between the new trails being constructed from Cranbrook to Wardner (50 km), and a section from Canmore to Elks Pass (73 km.), the Elk Valley Community Directed Funds and matching funds from the Trans Canada Trail partner will potentially provide the financing for this initiative.

The Regional District of East Kootenay while implementing the Elk Valley Community Directed Funds, solicited views from its constituents, with the most highly supported project being the creation of a community trail between Elko, Morrissey, Fernie, Hosmer, Sparwood, and Elkford. The Fernie Trails Alliance is working hard to make this initiative a successful project that everyone in the Elk Valley can share and be proud of.