Today the trail takes us to the base of Limestone Peak and the northern end of the ‘Rockwall’, our point of reference for the remainder of the trip. When British backpacker Chris Townsend did his 1988 trek from the Canada/U.S. From the south, take the turnoff into Kootenay National Park from the town of Radium. Make ample noise as you hike, especially around noisy creeks. Each campground is equipped with outhouses. We were four guys, driving straight through the night across a good chunk of the country in a Mazda. For most, the Rockwall is beckoning and they must carry on. Drive approximately 19 km to the Paint Pots Trailhead parking lot or a further 13 km to the Floe Lake Trailhead parking lot. The trail’s defining feature is a single, massive limestone cliff, towering in some locations more … Groups sizes can be no larger than ten people.To reserve and purchase permits, Kootenay National Park's contact information is:Telephone: 250-347-9505E-mail: kootenay.info@pc.gc.ca Furthermore, upon arriving at the park, a park entry pass will need to be purchased for everyone in the group.A breakdown of the fees charged by the park can be found here:Kootenay National Park FeesThere are no requirements to formally check in with Parks Canada before and after your trip. The Rockwall Trail is one of the great classic treks of the Rockies. 1325 m (4350 feet) Highest Elevation: Numa Pass Summit at 2355 m (7725 feet)The Rockwall Trail is a distinct path which is easy to follow, provided that snow is not obscuring the trail. Drive to the northern part of the park, watching for the signs for the Floe Lake Trailhead or the Paint Pots Trailhead - depending on your chosen starting point. Photo by Audrey Rancourt. The Rockwall Trail is one of the most iconic hikes in BC. Take the steep trail up and over Numa Pass, dropping from barren alpine to dense bush, and do it all over again over Tumbling Pass (17.9 km) to the lush and spacious Tumbling Creek campground. After comparing all data out there with the maps and making it add up to a proper total distance, I feel pretty comfortable with the numbers I have given.). Wife and I backpacked the Rockwall Trail in Kootneay Natl Park for our anniversary. There are no fires allowed at any of the campgrounds with the exception of Numa Creek. She had originally intended to hike the trail in its entirety from Floe Lake to Helmet Falls, but a snowstorm midway through her trip forced her to exit via Tumbling Creek. The Rockwall Trail is accessed by one of four creek drainages to the east (Helmet Creek, Tumbling Creek, Numa Creek, or Floe Creek) or by Wolverine Pass from the west. Add a day to hike from Helmet Creek campground to Goodsir Pass (7 km each way). As mentioned previously, all the junctions along the trail are well signed with directions and distances. 10.0 kmElevation Gains to Top of Numa Pass: 755 m (2475 feet)Elevation Loss from Top of Numa Pass to Floe Lake: 250 m (825 feet)After spending the start of the morning in the trees, this day ends by going up and over Numa Pass, the highest point along the Rockwall Trail at 2355 m (7725 feet). Be bear aware, especially along the berry-laden Numa Creek section of the trail, which one guidebook writer describes as “the grizzly grocery store”. Check out this trip report to be even more inspired to do the Rockwall Trail - https:/… This hike is popular! At the south end of the hike is Floe Lake, an amazingly beautiful location named after the ice floes breaking off into the lake from the small glacier above it. A NOTE FROM CROWFOOT MEDIA: You, the reader, are responsible for your own safety and gathering the information you require to tackle these hikes and trips. Stay left at the junction leading to Marble Canyon and stay right when the junction for the Tumbling Creek Trail is reached. There is even a sign at the Numa Creek Trail junction telling you which way to go and that you are almost there. Even in the case of adding up all the distances on Parks Canada maps, these distances do not correspond with their listed total distance for the trail. Rockwall Trail 6-day hiking trip, Kootenay National Park. --Edward Abbey, Images The high-elevation Rockwall is often snowbound well into June so peak wildflower season is early to mid-August, a few weeks later than many other trails in the Rockies. The horseshoe-shaped route travels beside a spectacular formation known as the Rockwall where sheer cliffs rise up to 900m above the landscape. Take your backpacks and gear along when leaving the campground – the side trail to the waterfall branches off of the main trail. Photo by Audrey Rancourt. It is against the law to feed any wildlife. Information & Facilities; Activities & Events; Advisories & Public Safety. If you haven’t gone on this hike yet, you’ll want to. Two vehicles or hitchhiking will be needed to get you from one trailhead to the other. © 2006-2020 SummitPost.org. TRIP REPORT: THE ROCKWALL, KOOTENAY NATIONAL PARK. 14.7 km Elevation Gain: 350 m (1150 feet)If starting from the north, a first time hiker of the Rockwall may worry about doing the longest daily distance on the first day while carrying all their supplies needed for the entire hike. Eat and drink your way through historic Victoria on a gourmet walking tour that explores the city’s key sites. Rockwall Trail Overview The Rockwall Trail is a 55km-long multi-day backpacking trip in Kootenay National Park in the Canadian Rockies. This is just a short video of my preparation for this hike. 2 years ago. Short video of some footage I captured while hiking the Rockwall Trail in Kootenay National Park. By law, you are not allowed to remove rocks, fossils, wildflowers, or any other natural artifact you may find from the park.Obey any closures due to safety or environmental reasons.Firearms are not allowed on the trail.Anglers require a National Park Fishing Permit.Help the parks and call 1-888-WARDENS if you see anyone violating park regulations.Other Random Things to KnowI have purposely chosen to limit the scope of this page and to not try to make it a comprehensive blueprint for all the preparations needed and all the essential gear required for taking on a multiday hike. The elevation changes for the hike can prove challenging, but was fine for our pace. Traversing three alpine passes, lush forests, lunar scree slopes and heavenly wildflower meadows, the 55-kilometre Rockwall Trail in the Kootenay Valley is a Rockies hiking gem. Snow will often linger on the trail here into late summer and can certainly reappear in early fall. Surviving: Rockwall Trail. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. Along the route, hanging glaciers and waterfalls burst out of the Rockwall itself, a 900-metre-high rampart of limestone and dolomite that looms over the trail for much of its length. Enjoy superlative mountain scenery, wildlife sightings and peak colorful bloom of best wildflower backpack in Canadian Rockies. The Rockwall lives up to its name in the fullest with several sections of extended granite ridges that accompanies the trail for the majority of the hike. Ignore where the map says it is and continue down the trail. Posted in Backcountry, Featured, Outdoors, Trip Report, Words by Nia Williams Or for a more adventurous alternative, the hike can be started in Yoho for those heading south, or ended in Yoho for those going north. You will encounter a few creek crossings here. For the most part, they are not problematic, however, hiking poles can always be useful in these situations. Typically, people hiking the entire trail take 3-5 days to complete it. 11-12-2020: Construction work in progress; Trail details: Difficult Floe Lake Trail: Winter conditions. log in sign up. We are blessed with a world class playground. From here to Wolverine Pass, you have an uninterrupted wall of limestone rock to the west of you, culminating at Mount Drysdale at the southern end of the wall. This incredible route crosses the continental divide a minimum of 30 times. However, this should not be much of a concern. Nevertheless, there is a net elevation loss when going south. The trail really is one of the most spectacular backcountry destinations there is. The Vermilion Range and Kootenay National Park are representative of the ranges on the western edge of the Rocky Mountains.The north end of the hike passes by ochre beds and paint pots which were used by the Ktunaxa, Stoney, and Blackfoot tribes to make dyes and paints used in ceremonies and for trade. The Rock”WALL” gets its name from the continuous, unbroken mountain rock-face which extends along the majority of the trail. If you take bear spray or bear bangers with you, be familiar with how to use them. Above and out of sight, the Washmawapta Icefield and Glacier feed the waterfall. July to mid-September is the best time to hike the Rockwall trail. Ranking among the premier scenic and wildflower backpacks in the Canadian Rockies, the Rockwall Trail offers abundant opportunities for photographers and seasonal delights for wildflower and larch viewing. This is Wolverine Pass. The Rockwall Trail is a 55 km trip traversing three alpine passes so we figured we would make it a five day, four night outing in order to take it easy and have some time along the trail for some side trips. The 55.6 km trail leads one under 30 km of an almost unbroken wall of limestone cliffs towering 900m (2950 feet) above their base in places. Distance: Approx. For hikers coming from the south, there won’t be any issue as you will find yourself walking through the camp before you would even realize the map was incorrect. The 6.6 km long Numa Creek Trail provides an easy access to the Rockwall Trail.Options for longer trips: For those wishing to add some more distance to their Rockwall Trail experience, several options exist. Trip Backpack - Rockwall Trail. See Parks Canada for more information. Always do any food preparation away from your tent.Report any bear, cougar, or wolf sightings, as well as any aggressive behavior by any wildlife to the nearest Park Warden Office or Information Centre.Kootenay National Park Visitor Safety Information. You do get occasional views ahead to the mountains and Helmet Creek is certainly a beautiful creek to be hiking along.From the Paint Pots Trailhead, cross the Vermilion River and follow the interpretive trail to the richly coloured paint pots. Rockwall Trail. 32. Please adventure safely and use these suggestions as just that: suggestions. The appeal of this factor may seem negligible, especially given all the passes that are gone over. Pink, pink and white, and even yellow paintbrush are to be seen. One awesome trip. As independent publishers, we’re dedicated to bringing you reliable and high-quality content you won’t find anywhere else. Also at the north end of the hike is Helmet Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in the Canadian Rockies at an estimated height of 352m (1154 feet). Distance: Approx. Both parking lots are clearly signed. Tips, trip reports, back-country gear reviews, safety and news. Nixon returned to the Rockwall area in the fall of 1924 to cut some of the first trail along this amazing escarpment to prepare for the organization’s planned ride there for the following summer. We do believe in allowing horses to be horses on their non working time. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. It negatively affects their health, their natural behavior, and exposes yourself to potential danger. Poles would be handy for the steep hikes down Numa Pass and off Limestone Summit. 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise for adults and 60 minutes a day for kids! The area continued to grow in popularity as trails were established up the creek drainages leading into the range. Distance: Approx. Shortly after this, the climb up Rockwall Pass begins. These creative efforts are fuelled by the generous contributions of readers. Photo by Audrey Rancourt. In 1969, when the Rockwall Trail was included in the proposed plan for the Great Divide Trail, the area began its further recognition among hikers as the amazing trek in the mountains that it is. Info COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. It really is an awesome sight. Overall, the Rockwall trail on Day 1 is a good trail, and the fireweed and other wildflowers in full bloom are pretty darned amazing. For one, there is a slight elevation loss when hiking the trail in a southerly direction. There are options to do smaller sections of the Rockwall Trail or to extend your trip to go beyond only the Rockwall. I made it out of the woods though. After hiking .2 miles I turned right (east) at this junction to follow the Watrous Gulch Trail. Traversing three alpine passes, lush forests, lunar scree slopes and heavenly wildflower meadows, the 55-kilometre Rockwall Trail in the Kootenay Valley is a Rockies hiking gem. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. From Ball Pass, the hiking options that can be accessed in Banff National Park and Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park are too numerous to mention. Kicked it again and then spit me out. The trail through burned forest, a remnant of the 2003 Kootenay fire, teems with hot pink common fireweed and stunning views. Limestone Peak, Helmet Mountain, and Sharp Mountain frame the scene and it is worth getting up early to see these mountains as the first rays of light hit them in the morning. This of course can vary, depending on the specific conditions of any given year. Originating from the meltwater of the Washmawapta Icefield, the headwaters of Helmet Creek almost immediately make their dramatic plummet to the valley floor at Helmet Falls. Bow Valley; Canmore and Area; Canmore Nordic Centre; Elbow Valley; Glenbow Ranch; Kananaskis Valley; Mount Shark; Peter Lougheed. The map (shown below) makes the campground appear to be off the trail and quite far from the actual location of it. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds." Consensus among the group being that it was the most scenic ride in the alpine that they had ever done, discussion began on forming an organization which would give riders the opportunity to do rides like this themselves. It’s a 3 – 5 day tough backpacking/hiking trip covering 55 km (34 miles) one way. Idyllic Floe Lake campground; keep an eye out for glaciers calving into the icy waters. Named for the impressive limestone cliffs towering over the trail, the Rockwall Trail is a challenging hike, climbing three significant mountain passes, and is usually hiked over 3–5 days. Looking down towards Numa Creek Campground. All That Glitters: Interview with Margo Talbot, Bruce Kirkby’s “Blue Sky Kingdom” and The Gift of Attention, View CROWFOOTMEDIA’s profile on Instagram. The 55.6 km trail leads one under 30 km of an almost unbroken wall of limestone cliffs towering 900m (2950 feet) above their base in places. Top of Numa Pass overlooking Floe Lake. Along the route, hanging glaciers and waterfalls burst out of the Rockwall itself, a 900-metre-high rampart of limestone and dolomite that looms over the trail for much of its length. There is even a sign at the Numa Creek Trail junction telling you which way to go and that you are almost there. In addition to the obviously majestic alpine scenery this massive limestone wall provides, the trail is also punctuated with hanging glaciers, stunning wildflower meadows, larch forests, one of the highest waterfalls in the Canadian Rockies, and three high alpine passes. Many books and websites exist out there for this purpose and that information will have to be found elsewhere. Distance: Approx. toothpaste, garbage) in. (All distances are my best approximations as there is much contradictory information out there. If you find yourself fatigued on your hike down, do not get overly excited by the tease of the first sight of the highway – you have a long ways to go from that point! Realistically, the Helmet/Ochre Junction campground does not receive the traffic of the other sites. If conditions are clear, the view down to the lake is stunning. There is also a non-refundable application fee of $11.70 for the whole group. For hikers coming from the south, there won’t be any issue as you will find yourself walking through the camp before you would even realize the map was incorrect. The Rockwall is a 54 km relocation hike that starts and finishes on Highway 93, the Banff-Windermere Highway. The Rockwall Trail Images : SummitPost.org : Climbing, hiking, mountaineering The junction of Helmet Creek Trail and the Rockwall Trail in the north is also the junction for the Goodsir Pass Trail leading into Yoho National Park. Reservations may be made as much as three months in advance of your trip. "May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. This section of the trail ends with the hike down to Floe Lake. Distance: Approx. View near the Wolverine Warden Cabin. Nevertheless, be prepared for your needs for the trail ahead – especially when hiking up the passes. Fresh snow dusted all the peaks to the north. And the mountain amphitheater which surrounds it makes it all the more remarkable. Three years ago, Kelly Wood (now Kelly Bou) went on a solo backpacking trip along the Rockwall Trail in British Columbia's Kootenay National Park. A five-minute side trip takes us to Wolverine Pass, a giant cleft in the Rockwall. The Rockwall Trail is a 55 km (34 mile) trek in the Canadian Rockies. Rockwall Kananaskis Country. After making your way up and over Tumbling Pass, there is a steep descent down the south side of the pass. The Rockwall Trail, located in British Columbia, Canada, is nestled within the Canadian Rockies, and is a hiking wonderland full of glaciers, meadows, forests, waterfalls and alpine passes. However, trails starting from the highway that run up the Numa Creek and Tumbling Creek drainages allow for shorter trips or early exits if some need arises. The plan was to enter on the Floe Creek Trail and exit from the Helmet Creek Trail, where we would leave a vehicle at each end. 11-12-2020: Snowbound; Backcountry travel not recommended; Avalanche risk: Complex Class 3 - top 2/3 of trail is highly avalanche prone. From Victoria Public Market to the Parliament Buildings, make stops to sample craft beer, chocolate, cheese, tea, and other local treats. We hiked it over 3 days and 2 nights heading south. The Rockwall Trail is a great trip and may I suggest to your readers if they come North for this hike to stay a while and explore some other equal or better trails in Kootenay, Banff, Yoho or Jasper national parks or Assinaboine (and other Provincial parks). Before us lies a huge area of meadows that follow the Rockwall south. Enthusiasts can hike the whole trail in two days, taking an overnight break at Numa Creek Campground (20 km), but a four-day trip gives more time to enjoy the epic scenery. The history of the Rockwall begins in 1923 when an outfitter by the name of Walter Nixon guided some dignitaries up to Tumbling Pass and Wolverine Plateau by horseback. The falls themselves and mountain amphitheater it is situated in are truly breathtaking. Each campground has a water source nearby. Safe, sound and stoked! toothpaste, garbage) in the metal cabinets provided at the campgrounds. Coming from the north, ignore where the map says it is and carry on past the Numa Creek Trail junction and you will find yourself walking through the campground with no detours needed. Photo by Audrey Rancourt. Canadian Rockies Trail Guide, by Brian Patton and Bart Robinson, Classic Hikes in the Canadian Rockies, by Graeme Pole. Hood (Opal Range), Scramble, South-West Face of Lunette Peak, Alpine II, South Glacier/Ridge of Mont des Poilus, Alpine II, North Ridge/West Face of 'South Schlee', 5.6, Alpine II, North East Face/North Ridge of Mount Maude, Alpine III, 5.3, North-East Ridge - North Summit, Mt. Traversing three alpine passes in Kootenay National Park, you'll hike through subalpine meadows, past impressive hanging glaciers, and around vibrant turquoise lakes. Above 1500 m (approx. Particularly interesting is the variety of paintbrush which can be observed. You hike through some nice stands of larch trees along the way. 7.7 kmElevation Gains to Top of Tumbling Pass: 335 m (1100 feet)Elevation Loss from Top of Tumbling Pass to Numa Creek Campground: 715 m (2350 feet)The scenery at the start of this day is dominated by Tumbling Glacier and the quite impressive lateral moraine showing how large this glacier used to be. Markers alongside the trail help people find their way for when there is snow in the higher reaches of Numa Pass. Packenham, Alpine II, 5.6, West Face of Mt. There are no buses along 93 South. People should be alert to the hazard of treefall in these sections, especially when it is windy. The trail includes several waterfalls, numerous creeks, many glaciers, alpine lakes and of course the famous Rockwall itself. During the peak hiking season (late July and August), getting reservations in advance for any of the campgrounds is highly recommended. Fireweed along the trail heading back down towards Floe Lake Parking Lot. When at the campgrounds, keep all food and items with scent (i.e. In addition to the obviously majestic alpine scenery this massive limestone wall provides, the trail is also punctuated with hanging glaciers, stunning wildf… It is an amazing destination in itself. It is a very popular trail in peak season, however, Parks Canada does limit the numbers of people on it at any time by only issuing a certain number of permits for the campgrounds. The trail works well in either direction. Rockwall has over 20 miles of trails, including park trails, street trails, neighborhood trails and even a mountain bike trail. View of Tumbling Glacier with beautiful paintbrushes. Close. I took the Herman Gulch trail to begin, which is just behind the information signs. After going over Goodsir Pass, there is the option of continuing on to the Trans-Canada Highway following the Ottertail River or cutting towards the north and on to McArthur Pass and the Lake O'Hara area. 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