Guided Backcountry Hiking

Take a walk in the backcountry

Explore the spectacular beauty of Rocky and Purcell Mountains on a guided hike with Playwest Mountain Experience.

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Guided Backcountry Hiking Information

Join Playwest Mountain Experience as they guide you to new and exciting places around the Columbia Valley and the Purcell Mountains.

With hikes available for all ability levels. Whether you are looking for beautiful lakes, incredible views or to summit a local mountain they will help you achieve the hike of your life.

PlaywestMountainExperience

  • Wetlands, Waterfalls and Wildlife
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Rate: $59
    • Duration: 4 hours (plus travel time, transportation not included)
    • Ages: 12+
    • 3km. Elev. gain: 75m

    Wetlands

    The Columbia Valley is an incredibly diverse ecological hub. This tour explores one of the crown jewels of our area, The Columbia Wetlands. This wetland is a protected migratory nesting area for hundreds of species of birds. The birder can spend countless hours here enjoying the sites and sounds. After a visit along the shores of the wetlands we make our way north crossing many of the tributaries in search of larger mammals and ungulates. As we travel along we keep our eyes peeled for possible sightings of Mule Deer, Whitetail Deer, Black & Grizzly Bear, Rocky Mountain Sheep and many others. Our final stop brings us to the Kootenay National Park/Radium Visitor Center for a stop in their incredible museum. Informative, fun and awe-inspiring!

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  • Swansea Lookout
    • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
    • Rate: $59
    • Duration: 3-4 hours (plus travel time, transportation not included)
    • Ages: 12+
    • 6km/325m gain/loss

    Swansea

    Take an interpretive walk on this local favorite. This trip, on the traditional Ktunaxa First Nations lands, will follow a gradual trail up the Southwest facing slopes along prominent ridge feature to a fantastic lookout providing spectacular views of the "Rocky Mountain Trench". Learn about the local history of the Columbia Valley from the early settlers like David Thompson, the Ktunaxa First Nations, the natural environment and how this beautiful area was formed millions of years ago as well as what creatures live and thrive here. This is an interpretive look at the Columbia Valley, full of information and fun. A highlight is making our way through the "Wolf Lichen Forrest"!

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  • Summits and Sunsets
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Rate: $65
    • Duration: 4 hours (plus travel time, transportation not included)
    • Ages: 12+
    • 3km/150m gain

    Sunset

    This trip is one for the books! A short drive outside of Invermere takes us high above the Columbia Valley. We will explore one of the old shafts from the 1890's Copper mine. A short walk takes us to the summit of Mt. Swansea where a panoramic view of the Columbia Valley wetlands awaits. Views of Invermere, Radium and Fairmont can be seen as well as Mt. Brewer, Mt Nelson, Mount Bruce and many more. While you are taking it all in your guide will begin preparing the Swiss style cheese fondue. What better way to see the valley and a wonderful sunset while snacking on a delicious meal!

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  • Pedley Pass
    • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
    • Rate: $99
    • Duration: 5-7 hours 
    • Ages: 12+
    • 10km/600m Elev. Range 1980m-2450m

    Pedley Pass

    This is a great day hike on the Rockies side of the Columbia Valley Trench. Starting at 1980m, the trail takes hikers through old growth Douglas Fir, Spruce, and the endangered White Pine as well as an abundance of wildflowers. An amazing tarn (alpine lake) awaits hikers who might be looking for a cool and refreshing dip. Many fossils can be seen along its shores within the old limestone rock. Additionally, walk the wonderful ridge with stunning views East to the Rocky Mountain Range. The “Matterhorn of Canada” Mt. Assiniboine, The Royal group as well as other notable peaks are all within eyesight. The Pedley Pass Hike is a gem of the Columbia Valley and should be experienced by all.

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  • Brewer Lakes
    • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
    • Rate: $109
    • Duration: 5-8 hours (dependent on Brewer Summit)
    • Ages: 12+

    Brewer Lakes

    The Brewer Lakes Hike is a favourite! This easy/moderate hike has a little bit of everything. Travel through old growth Douglas Fir and Larch, incredible meadows filled with millions of wildflowers and several sub-alpine lakes. The Brewer basin is full of hidden little gems and if your group is feeling adventurous and has the fitness, ask about the Mt. Brewer option. A great peak with stunning views of the Rockies, the Fairmont range and the local favorite, Mt. Nelson.

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  • Jumbo Pass
    • Difficulty: Moderate
    • Rate: $115
    • Duration: 7-8 hours 
    • Ages: 12+
    • 9km/600-800m Elev. range: 1680m-2480m

    Jumbo

    Jumbo Pass is a legendary hike with epic views of the Cauldron Glacier, Horseshoe Glacier, Jumbo Mountain, Mt. Karnak, Red Top and so many more. This hike moves through amazing stands of old Douglas Fir, Larch and Spruce. It also travels through incredible meadows stocked with more wildflowers than one could count. A great lunch spot awaits with a wonderful view of the Cauldron Glacier beside the famed Jumbo Cabin. If you have the energy, a little more effort gets you to a full 360* view of the Purcell Range. This is a trip for the books!

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  • Lake of the Hanging Glacier
    • Difficulty: Moderate/Hard
    • Rate: $109
    • Duration: 8-9 hours (plus travel time, transportation not included)
    • Ages: 12+
    • 16km/700m Elev. range: 1680m-2480m

    Hanging Glacier Web

    Another classic hike in the Columbia Valley! Working up and along the headwaters of Horsethief Creek. Several notable objectives await. The first is Hell Roaring Creek...you have to see it to understand how it gets it name. Then we cross the Horsethief and begin the main ascent up to the Lake of the Hanging Glacier basin. Moderate switchbacks give way to a spectacular cascading waterfall, hinting at what is to come. A short little climb through a sub-alpine meadow brings the hiker to the awe-inspiring Lake of the Hanging Glacier. Truly a hike that should not be missed.

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Freezing level: 3600 metres.

Ridge wind southeast: 15 km/h gusting to 40 km/h.

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2:40AM 6 May, 2021

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