The Great Northern Rail Trail runs between the village of Salmo in the south and the city of Nelson in the north. The railway was operated by Burlington Northern Santa Fe and in 1999, the final removal of the rails and ties was completed. It is a multi-use trail which forms a section of the TransCanada Trail.
The trail has a gravel surface in the Salmo area which is also the portion of the trail which allows motorized traffic. The trail’s gravel surface improves north of Ymir, where motor vehicles are prohibited. There are multiple trailheads along the way with vehicle parking.
The rail-grade is easy, meaning it’s an easy route for biking and hiking and perfect for families. Troup Beach is located at Five Mile Point – a great picnic spot with shallow water, sandbars and solitude. You will also cross three long wooden bridges and pass through rock cuts as you journey on.
Due to grizzly bear foraging, each spring part of this trail is normally closed annually for the 10 kms between Cottonwood Lake and Hall Siding (northern section about 8 km south of Nelson) from May 1 to late-June.