Chief Isadore Trail is a 43.5 km hybrid trail- half rail trail and half enhanced graveled single track at a width of 1.3 meters. This greenways trail has many access points with trailheads and amenities. A link in the national TransCanada Trail Network, now known as The Great Trail, Chief Isadore Trail will give you an easy mountain-biking route along a right-of-way abandoned by the Canadian Pacific Railway as well as newly constructed trail.
Trail Vertical Gain or Loss
Overall elevation loss from Cranbrook to Wardner is 200 meters, the Mayook Trail Section is 200 meters up and 200 meters down over 17 km.
Highlights and Best Features of this Trail
British Columbia's scenic Chief Isadore Trail is enjoyed by hikers as well as cyclists. Half of the trail used to be the old CP Railway Line constructed between Cranbrook and Wardner in the early 1900s. The rails were removed many years ago in the 1970s and with the recent gravel resurfacing the track bed is pleasant for biking and hiking. The trail follows interesting rock bluffs, open grass lands, streams, ponds, marshes, varied forest settings, and at times with encompassing views of the predominant mountainous feature in the region, the Steeples/Ramparts as well as of the Kootenay River. This popular trail is well marked, offers picnic areas and several outhouses.
The 17 km Mayook section tends to be the most popular section. It is not a rail grade, but an enhanced graveled single-track. It was built with the goal to keep the grades under 5% (except for a couple of short sections), so that it would be enjoyable for active seniors and families. Riders especially enjoy the 4 crossings over bubbling brooks as a chance to snack, lunch or relax in a shaded setting on a hot summer day.
The builders of the trail wanted to provide an educational component to the trail. To that end over 30 interpretive panels were provided along the route. Found on posts and kiosks, these small and large panels highlight the history, geology, fauna, wildlife as well as the Ktunaxa heritage of the region. The Rampart Rest Area Loop has a concentration of these interpretive panels and the section is being promoted to educators to encourage school outings on the trail.
- Rampart Rest Area Loop, 6.5 km
- Access Highway 3 Rest Area 10 km east of Hwy 3 overpass in Cranbrook
- Mayook Trail, 17 km
- Access Pritchard Road or Ha Ha Road Trailheads
- Ha-Ha Creek Road Loop Ride w/ Wardner Part of the Trail, 21 km
- Access Ha-Ha Road, Tokay Hills Forestry Road, Wardner Road Trailheads or as well as trail terminus at the Wardner Community Park
- Isasdore Canyon Section (Rail Trail) 13.5 km
- Trail terminus at the Cranbrook Visitor Center at 22nd St. North and Hwy 3, Isadore Canyon (used by most people as access) and Pritchard Road Trailheads
Average cyclists allow 3 ½ hours cycling time to do the entire trail, 4 hours if starting at Wardner. The Mayook trail section 1 ½ hours either direction. Isadore Canyon Section 45 min to one hour. The Wardner Road combined with trail loop allow 1 ¼ hours.
Equestrians are allowed on rail trail sections but are encouraged to use alternate routes noted on the trail brochure for single track sections.
A trail ride combining the Chief Isadore Trail with the popular Northstar Rails to Trails makes for a full riding day with a varied cycling experience of over 70km from Kimberley to Wardner.
For more details on trail access points refer to the Trail Map Brochure.
Click HERE for downloadable Trailforks map to see how the trail is broken down into identifiable sections.