By Ilana Cameron
First Hike Of The Season On Billy Goat Bluffs - Creston's Newest Trail!
As much as I do enjoy a multi-day trek through the mountains, sometimes all I need is a quick day hike. We don't always have time to bid civilization farewell, which is why having a local escape is so convenient!
Billy Goat Bluffs, Creston's newest trail, is easily accessible from town and a quick 2-3 hour adventure. Locals are stoked to have a trail up Goat Mountain that they can easily share with their guests and also enjoy themselves. If you're looking for a quick day hike in the Creston Valley, here's what you can expect from it!
Difficulty: Moderately difficult (steep, requires good knees), Elevation gain roughly 400 metres
Time: 2.5 - 3 Hours
Highlights: Spectacular views, engaging light workout, quick and close!
Where: You have two options for access to the trail from the Creston Valley Visitors Centre:
Drive or bike 2.9 km on Hwy 3A to Helen Street. Turn right onto Helen Street off Hwy 3A. Stop before the road veers right and look for a trail kiosk on the left (north-east) side of the road.
Drive 9.8 Km north out of town on Hwy 3A to Lakeview Arrow Creek Road. Turn right onto Lakeview Arrow Creek Road. Drive another 2.3 km, turning right on Foster road (rough and unpaved), keeping an eye out for the trail sign on the right side of the road. Walk down 400m to viewpoint!
Easy Access, A Great Workout & Excellent Vistas
Mid-way Viewpoint looking West over the Creston Valley
One of the greatest things about this trail is that you can drive, walk or bicycle to the start of it from downtown Creston. If you are visiting and only have an afternoon to get a hike in, you are in luck. It also has a great combination of shaded forest that leads to amazing views.
If you are prepared for a good workout this hike is well worth the effort. It gets the lungs and heart working from the start but before too long you get to the first of three viewpoints. There is a lovely bench that is your first great chance to take in the valley vista below. The views only get better as you climb higher.
Think of it like a miniature Grouse Grind in Vancouver without the crowds.
There are several large Ponderosa Pine and Fir trees along the trail, as well as small plants of interest and even a few flowers in the meadow at the top. There are also several picnic tables at the top for you to enjoy a picnic and the views! Just remember - if you bring a snack leave no trace and pack out what you pack in.
Views of the valley include: Kootenay River, Duck Lake, Northwest Boulevard, Selkirk mountain range, Highway 3 as it crosses the valley to the start of the Salmo/Creston pass.
Good to know:
This trail comes with some effort but gives multiple viewpoints that have benches and sweeping vistas of the valley. Expect it to take 2.5-3 hours.
It starts steep but never stays that way for long.
When you cross the small footbridge you are only minutes away from the top.
There are no bathrooms, but the starting point is near Northwest Boulevard where there are several businesses that do have amenities.
What to pack:
Bear-spray, water and cellphones are all important safety items to bring along. Good footwear is a must – hiking boots or trail runners, as there are some looser sections and uneven surfaces. Bring layers as most of the hike is in the shade of large trees but it can also get hot, especially while you ascend.
The weather can change quickly in the valley, especially in the spring, so be prepared for different temperatures throughout the hike. At the top you might find it can get quite windy compared to the start. If you do this hike in the shoulder seasons you'll be more likely to avoid mosquitoes.
Why keep coming back: It's great, quick exercise with easy access.
The reward is in the title: Instant Gratification. Just this last time I found another hidden bench with spectacular views of Kootenay lake! This is a Creston Community Forest managed trail - it's part of their new mandate to create and maintain recreational trails in the community. If you'd like to leave a note there is a sign-in book at the start of the trail on the back of the trailhead sign. Be sure to thank the good folks at the Community Forest for building this great new trail!
Want more? 5 More Easy Access Hikes in the area:
Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area Trails - Easy trail
Balancing Rock Trail Moderate trail
Ka Papa Cedars Trail - Easy trail
Ladyslipper Trail - Easy - Moderate trail
Thompson Pack Trail - Moderately Difficult trail
Or for a listing of more local trails check out our trails section for for further details!