Situated on the doorstep of Kootenay National Park, Panorama is the perfect home base for exploring the stunning natural beauty and vast wilderness of the East Kootenay's . However as we know Canada’s beauty extends far past Park borders, and with the Canada's 150 free park access this year we know that the park trails will be overwhelmed with visitors. So go ahead, branch out from the crowds this summer and join us in BC's Kootenay Rockies as we explore the mountains on our own schedule, in the true laid-back Kootenay fashion . What's our favourite part? The Mile 1 Express is turning all summer long, so we are never more than a 10 minute chairlift ride from mountain biking and hiking trails surrounded by postcard views.
To me, there is something pretty special about lift-accessed hiking. It provides quick and easy access to higher elevations, allowing you to save your time and energy to explore the alpine. Plus, just like Panorama’s slopes in the winter-time, our hiking trails have Easy, Moderate and Difficult ratings, so no matter your fitness level and hiking experience, there is bound to be hike for you this summer.
Fort Hide 'N' Seek
Take the Mile 1 Express up, and enjoy a short, downhill walk through a forested trail to the Fort Hide 'N' Seek playhouse. The hike back up to the Mile 1 Express is a moderate climb (with a total elevation change of approximately 50 m). This hike is very manageable for those with limited hiking experience and great for kids!
Lynx Loop is another great beginner loop option from the top of the Mile 1 Express. Compared to Fort Hide 'N’ Seek the hike is slightly more strenuous; however, the incredible views across the valley of Mt. Nelson, and interesting terrain make it well worthwhile.
Cox Creek Trail
A favourite among locals’, Cox Creek is a wonderful winding trail incorporating flowy forested routes and wide open viewpoints great for snapping photos. The trail itself is not overly challenging; however, the length (3.5 kms one way) demands more time and energy than a leisurely walk. We suggest you take the Mile 1 Express up, and enjoy the stroll back down to the Upper Village. If you're a trail runner, this is also a great one for you.
New for Summer 2017, the resort is opening the Champagne Express Chairlift every weekend to hikers. This opens a huge window of opportunity for those who are looking to explore Panorama’s mid-mountain and alpine area by foot.
If you’re looking for a more challenging hike, nothing beats The Elkhorn Trail. This scenic trail quickly branches off uphill from the Cox Creek Trail slowly gaining elevation through an area called Founder’s Ridge. Used as a cat track in the winter, you will notice that the Elkhorn Trail is wider than most of our other hiking trails; however, the shorter trees and grass that line the ski runs make for sensational views, that continue to improve as you increase in elevation. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for alpine flowers and berries growing on either side of the trail.
Eventually you will make your way up to the Elkhorn Cabin. This cabin is a hot spot in the winter for skiers to indulge in mulled wine and gourmet snacks, and although the cabin is closed for service in the summer, the view from the deck is one of the best on the mountain, and is open for you to enjoy your snacks in a shady spot.
At the Elkhorn Cabin the trail will join up with the Summit Trail, where you are a short walk to the top of the Champagne. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Kootenay Rockies before rewarding yourself with a quick and breezy chairlift ride down to the village for a well-earned snack and cold beverage.
More resources on hikes in the Columbia Valley: