Photos of Kootenay National Park Camping Trails

backpacking
15 days ago

Departed Paint Pots Sept 24th in wet conditions, late, so stopped overnight at the Helmet/Ochre campsite (one of the few campsites where fires are allowed). Trail in excellent condition with numerous wet spots. Cool and rainy throughout the next day to Helmet Falls. Trail wet but in great condition otherwise. Saw a grizzly sow with one cub rummaging in one of the slide meadows. No issues with them. Helmet campsite very nice with good water accesses. Hiked up to the base of Helmet Falls (about 2.5kms round trip). A must do side trip especially in the late fall when the larch trees are yellow. The views here above the tree line are stunning. Temperatures dropped throughout the night with intermittent rain and ice pellets. Climb out of Helmet to Tumbling Creek challenging but in very good condition. The reward at the summit is beyond words. Open alpine meadows in fall colours, bordered by larch, balsam and fir. Lots of little creek crossings. Pass became snow covered with icy sections. Had to look for trail markers (white with yellow reflective stripes) to keep on trail. Trail markers only about 20 cm tall as most, if not all, have been snapped off short. Was not that big a deal but if snow was deeper, it could get interesting. The descent past Wolverine Pass into Tumbling Creek campsite through open alpine meadows was the highlight of the hike by far! Meadows, creeks, rock slides (minor scrambling), glacial lakes, hanging glaciers with ice caves, moraine ridges add to the spectacular view of the Rockwall...it has it all! Great campground at Tumbling Creek, but temperatures in the -2 range and dropping to -5 or less by morning. Heavy wet snow throughout the night which had to be punched off every few hours made for a long cold damp night. About 10cm. The weather forecast was calling for a major snow event for Friday, and since we planned to stop at Numa Creek Thursday, and Floe Lake Friday, and our equipment and boots were thoroughly wet already, we sadly made the decision to cut our hike short and bail out of the high country via the Tumbling Creek trail back to Paint Pots trailhead. This is the most underrated trail in the Rockwall complex in my opinion. It is superbly maintained through numerous avalanche slide zones and closely follows along the steep banks of the Tumbling Creek, with its numerous waterfalls, ledges, and rapids. It would be a challenging steady climb in the opposite direction without a doubt. Lots of wildlife tracks present. Cougar, bear, elk or moose (large hoof), mostly found once the trail turned from snow/ice covered to muddy sections. Remainder of the hike to Paint Pots uneventful. Met a young lady from Spain just starting a solo Rockwall loop, so hoping she’s prepared for her first blast of Canadian winter weather

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