WELCOME TO THE WILD SIDE
July 16, 1971
2,749 (according to the 2021 Government Canada Census)
1,300 metres (4,300 feet) makes us the highest elevation community in British Columbia, something locals love about our community.
That’s right: Elkford’s is situated at an even higher elevation than our neighbours in Kimberley, who sit at 1,120 metres (3,670 feet) but claim the title of highest elevation town.
SUMMER TEMPS (AVERAGE)
Highs: 24 °C
Lows: 2 °C
Did you see us make national news for snow in June? Yup, famous.
WINTER TEMPS (AVERAGE)
Highs: -4 °C
Lows: -18 °C
• Blue Lake
• Deerborne Disc Golf Course
• Elk Lakes Provincial Park
• Elkford Bike Jump & Skills Park
• Elk Valley Regional Park (7-Mile)
• Grave Lake
• Josephine Falls
• Round Prairie
• Sulphur Springs
• Sparwood: 34 km (30 mins)
• Fernie: 66 km (45 mins)
• Cranbrook: 161 km (1.45 hours)
• Kimberley: 182 km (2.05 hours)
• Lethbridge: 212 km (2.18 hours)
• Calgary: 300 km (3.07 hours)
Like fresh powder? We welcome 3 to 4.9 metres (10 to 16 feet) of snowpack annually! www.elkford.ca
From Sparwood, follow Highway 43 north until the road ends and the wilderness begins.
WE’RE PROUD TO BE THE WILDEST PLACE YOU’VE EVER BEEN
A hidden gem of the East Kootenay, Elkford is a high-altitude Rocky Mountain municipality that calls to the wild at heart and adventurous in spirit. Without a traffic light or big-box store in sight, Elkford’s rugged mountain ranges, iconic Canadian wildlife and untamed wilderness are truly an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true.
Wilderness has always been at the core of Elkford’s identity. Built in 1971, as a homestead for mining industry workers and their families, Elkford has grown to boast the amenities, recreation facilities and luxuries of a much larger city centre. This idyllic mountain hamlet currently provides over 2,700 residents with postcard-perfect views, beautifully maintained community parks, a nine-hole golf course, hiking and mountain biking trails, a beautiful ski hill, world-class fishing, emerald lakes and endless backcountry to explore.
Whether you’re looking for your next great adventure, or a picture-perfect place to raise a family, you’ll find it in Elkford, the Wilderness Capital of B.C.
GET INTIMATE WITH NATURE
Elkford has grown into more than just a mining town: it’s an extraordinary wilderness community, offering the best of modern amenities and mountain culture, in the Kootenay Rockies of British Columbia. It’s located at a higher altitude than any other community in B.C., and it’s one of those rare places where you can still step out your door and into the wilderness.
It’s not unusual to spot wildlife strolling down the streets. (or in front of town hall). Wildlife native to the Elk Valley include grizzly and black bears, mountain goats, moose, lynx, wolves, wolverines, badgers, foxes, cougars, coyote, bighorn sheep, elk and deer. In fact, more bighorn sheep inhabit the district of Elkford than any other place in North America.
Locals know that what draws people to our community is more than just the mountain lifestyle, beautiful scenery and abundant opportunities to earn big—it’s our community spirit. Ask anyone in the Elk Valley, and they’ll tell you that Elkford is the friendliest community around.
With pristine natural beauty, safe neighbourhoods, untapped outdoor tourism opportunities and the amenities and services of a much larger city, our community is the perfect place for growing families to settle and businesses to set up shop.
If you love crisp mountain air, high alpine views and exploring off the beaten path, it’s also the perfect place to plan your next great outdoor adventure!
WILD AT HEART
Looking for a taste of the true Canadian wilderness? This is it. Locals like to say that Elkford isn’t the end of the road, it’s only the beginning: a place where hundreds of kilometres of trails, forest service roads and endless acres of untamed wilderness are waiting to be explored.
No matter how you choose to enjoy the great outdoors— whether you are hiking, biking, fishing, snowmobiling, skiing, snowboarding, horseback riding, off-roading, bouldering, mountain climbing, canoeing, kayaking, camping or backpacking—we ask that you be safe and apply the Leave No Trace principles of outdoor ethics.
Regardless of the season, or your skill level, you should expect to encounter large wildlife, rockslides, avalanches, extreme weather conditions and other hazards in the backcountry.
Check current burning regulations before lighting a fire, pack out your garbage, carry bear spray and be respectful of wildlife. Always tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back. We also recommend carrying a radio, map, bottled water, food and emergency gear!
ELace up your boots and leash up your dog! Elkford contains over 30 kilometres of scenic hiking trails. Beloved local trails include Bare Hill Lookout, the Boivin Creek Peace Trail, Lost Lake and Lily Lake loops and Josephine Falls, as well as section of the Trans Canada Trail
And forget cabin fever in the winter: the mountains are calling! Bundle up, dig out your snowshoes or strap on some cleats and trek along the cleared trails. Some local winter walking gems include Bare Hill Lookout, Josephine Falls, the River Walk and Boivin Creek trails.
**Note that within the district boundaries, dogs must always be kept leashed and under control.
More of an adrenaline junkie? Experienced climbers and seasoned backcountry hikers delight in summiting the craggy peaks that surround town— including local favourites, Wapiti Mountain and Grizzly Peak—and hardcore mountain bikers enjoy the sublime single-track that snakes through the Elk Valley’s sub alpine terrain.
Want to learn more about non-motorized trails in Elkford? Visit www.elkford.ca/parksandtrails or contact the Elkford Trails Alliance (hint: use the QR code at the top of the next page).
Dream about ditching the hustle and bustle of the city? Escape into the wilderness of the Kootenay Rockies—all within walking distance from groceries, gas stations, restaurants and other amenities. Camp at one of the nine provincial recreation campsites in the Elk Valley or book your spot at the Elkford Municipal Campground
The Elkford Municipal Campground has 78 sites, a shower house with flush toilets, pit toilets and a cookhouse shelter. The cookhouse shelter features wildlife-resistant storage lockers for tenters, and the showers and flush toilets are wheelchair accessible. Amenities within the campground itself include fire pits, electrical hookups, picnic tables and complimentary firewood.
This riverfront campground boasts spectacular mountain views and prime river access, with its boundaries framed by the beautiful Fording River and its tributary, Boivin Creek. Additionally, it provides easy access to outdoor walking trails, a community baseball diamond, children’s playground and a Devonian Park, offering a creekside playground and accessible washroom.
For reservations, or for more information, contact the Elkford Municipal Campground at 250.865.4010 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Elk and Fording Rivers are an angler’s paradise, with an abundance of Westslope Cutthroat, Bull and Rainbow Trout populating the largely undisturbed waters.
Whether you prefer to fish in rivers, streams or pristine alpine lakes, we ask that you obtain a fishing licence and adhere to all B.C. and water-specific fishing regulations. Come armed with a cooler full of cold drinks and spend a lazy summer day casting in world-class Kootenay waters.
Ice fishing is popular at Grave Lake and Blue Lake. Into climbing too? Ice climbing conditions are excellent at the frozen waterfalls in Elk Lakes Provincial Park, located just north of Elkford via the forest service roads.
Every year, hunters flock to Elkford to experience the rugged peaks, deep valleys and endless challenges that hunting in the Elk Valley present. Whether you’re pursuing the adrenaline rush of a trophy hunt, or simply looking to fill your fridge with fresh meat for the winter, our game animals will not disappoint.
In the Elkford area, there are bountiful hunting opportunities for elk, whitetail and mule deer, grouse, bear, bighorn sheep and moose.
Always follow current hunting regulations, carry all appropriate and regulated licences and practice safe firearm handling.
Looking for the low-down on fishing and hunting in Elkford? Contact the Elkford Rod and Gun Club for more information on fishing and hunting, as well as for membership information through the QR code on the opposite page (to the left) or at www.elkfordrodandgunclub.ca
oEXPERIENCE WINTER IN THE WILD
SNOWBOARDING + SKIING
At 1,300 metres above sea level—and as the highest elevation community in the province of British Columbia—Elkford welcomes 10 to 16 feet of snowpack annually, making it superb locale for powderhounds to sniff out fresh snow. A nearby neighbour of the cities of Fernie, Crowsnest Pass and Kimberley, Elkford boasts comparable downhill and cross-country conditions, without the premium price tags or the crowds.
Skip the lineups and spend more time carving up the slopes! Enjoy some fresh powder at any time of day, with a lit hill perfect for nighttime skiing and snowboarding. Wapiti Ski Club is a volunteeroperated facility, located right in Elkford.
Wapiti Ski Hill offers an array of complete runs, with 1000 vertical feet of elevation gain and enough variety to keep the whole family entertained!
Downhill not really your speed? Get ready to experience the tranquility of a winter wonderland with breathtaking backcountry views. Whether you prefer skate or classic cross-country skiing, you are guaranteed to enjoy exploring the endless trail systems in the Elkford region.
Learn more about local ski trails, trail conditions and maintenance, as well as membership through the Elkford Nordic Ski Club
Popular cross-country trails in town include:
Boivin Creek: A moderate, 8-kilometre cross country skiing trail with a gradual climb, including 300 metres of elevation gain along Boivin Creek to the base of Mount Phillips. Two ski cabins are located along the way for resting and warming up; one about 3 kilometres out of town and another at 7.5 kilometres.
Coming into town, turn left at the four-way stop. Follow the directional signs to Wapiti Ski Hill. Once the pavement turns to gravel at the bend in the road, the signed trailhead is visible to the left.
Golf Course Trail: Visit Mountain Meadows Golf Club for a moderate ski trail with extraordinary mountain views! Enter through the main parking lot and the set track begins just to the right of the club house.
Haul your sled to the trails and BRAAAP! Snowmobile season in Elkford usually runs from November to May—and sometimes even longer. Experience the freshest snow, highest mountain passes, lowest valleys and basins that will take your breath away. Conditions range from beginner-friendly trails—suitable for the whole family—to virtually limitless, rugged alpine terrain for advanced sledders.
**Be advised that avalanche activity in the alpine backcountry is high, and riders are always required to be prepared, monitor current conditions and pack adequate safety gear. You’ll also need to carry your up-to-date permit and plates, as well as a copy of your insurance. Check out Avalanche Canada for the latest conditions: www.avalanche.ca
Depending on the season, Elkford has up to 100 kilometres of groomed snowmobile trails each year, offering the ultimate backcountry riding experience for riders of all kinds. If you love to shred, you’ll love exploring our backyard!
A maze of trails snake through the Elk Valley, which stretches more than 60 kilometres north of town to the Alberta border. Among the most popular areas are the meadows and alpine bowls at Koko Claims, just a few kilometres west of the staging area. The Claims main trail is also the gateway to infinite family riding on unplowed forest service roads in the Bull River Valley to the west. The bowls at Mear Lake and Smith Basin in the Koko Claims area are accessible by intermediate riders. The trails into the Tundra and the Gorge are best suited for confident, advanced riders with bigger machines.
Looking for info on snowmobiling trails and trail passes in Elkford? Contact the Elkford Snowmobile Association or visit their website via the QR code above.
Get ready to rip! The Elkford area has hundreds of kilometres of spectacular riding trails—with trails suitable for all levels, from beginner to expert—and a dedicated ATV club. The Elkford ATV Club is a responsible group of motorized environmentalists, as well as the only ATV/BC affiliated club in the Elk Valley.
Currently, within the boundaries of the District of Elkford, you must carry a minimum of one million dollars in third-party liability insurance, a valid driver’s licence, wear a helmet and purchase an annual permit from the District of Elkford and display the sticker on your plates. You should always carry your insurance and licence, and your machine should have a provincial plate with an up-to-date sticker.
Always ride safely and check up-to-date regulations before heading out! Learn more about motorized trails and current ATV/ORV regulations in the Elk Valley through the Elkford ATV Club (QR code to your right).
At Mountain Meadows Golf Course, golfers of all ages and abilities can enjoy a round of golf with incredible scenery. The nine-hole layout was built on a natural elk grazing meadow in 1976. Each hole has two sets of tees, so the back nine plays much differently than the front nine.
The course winds through towering spruce trees and along a bubbling brook, where water comes in to play, and offers spectacular mountain views all the way through. Check out their website by using the QR code above!
Landscape photographers will recognize Elkford as the gateway to some of the most legendary (and largely undiscovered) wilderness parks in Western Canada: Elk Lakes and Height of the Rockies Provincial Parks Each summer, their alpine basins fill with wildflowers and explode into kaleidoscopic bloom.
If you’re more interested in wildlife photography, the Wilderness Capital of B.C. is the place to find it! Wildlife native to the Elk Valley include grizzly and black bears, mountain goats, moose, lynx, wolves, wolverines, foxes, cougars, elk and deer. In fact, more bighorn sheep inhabit the Elkford area than any other place in North America, and wildlife photographers will be pleased to find them dotting the cliffs on the edges of town.
PARKS & TRAILS
sOur community was designed to encourage everyone to enjoy the great outdoors, and we have many wide open spaces suitable for all ages and abilities, complete with spectacular mountain views.
Elkford has many parks & playgrounds for all ages and abilities, most with spectacular mountain views. Whether you’re looking for a beautiful spot to play some ball or bring the little ones out to play, we have something for everyone to enjoy!
• Devonian Park
• Pine Needle Park
• Blue Bird Park
• Stellar Jay Park
• Chipmunk Park
• Tree Frog Park
• Preschool Playground
• Haines Senior Ball Diamond
• Borys Ball Diamond
• Haines Junior Ball Diamond
• Roberts Ball Diamond
The District of Elkford’s dedicated Recreation Maintenance crew, part of the Community & Facility Services Department, maintains all of our parks, playgrounds, green spaces and many trails throughout Elkford.
We also have some amazing local clubs and associations that passionately devote their time to creating and maintaining local trails and trail networks for their membership bases and the general public (with trail passes or fees). Visit page 22 to learn more!
From little kids learning to pedal their balance bikes all the way up to expert-level shredders, Elkford’s local mountain bikers, BMXers and skateboarders can send it at a brand-new bike park/pump track!
Elkford’s Bike & Skills Park is the only paved pump track in the East Kootenay region, and it was built to complement the ruggedness of Elkford’s surrounding wilderness, with a design as beautiful as it is functional. It offers bike jumps and skills features for riders of all abilities, as well as a paved pump track to serve a variety of different uses.
This project was a partnership between the District of Elkford, who donated the land, and the Elkford Biking Club, who advocated and fundraised tirelessly to bring their vision to life. It was built with grant funding from Columbia Basin Trust and generous donations from local businesses, organizations and the community.
TRANS CANADA TRAIL
Elkford is the first British Columbian community that travellers using the Trans Canada Trail visit after crossing into British Columbia’s Elk Lakes Provincial Park from Alberta, and the Great Divide Trail also runs through Elkford.
Travelling north from Elkford, the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) cuts to Wapiti Ski Hill and then north to Round Prairie. From the northern edge of town, at Round Prairie (also known as Crossing Creek) the route follows the Elk Valley Highway north.
Once in Elk Lakes Provincial Park, it hugs the powerline trail as it continues north through the park, reaching the Alberta border and continental divide. From here, the trail is under development and continues to Banff through Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.
Interested in learning more about Elkford’s section of the Trans Canada Trail? Follow the QR code below and also check out https://trailsbc.ca/routes/upper-elk-valley
P.S. That’s Elkford’s Mayor, Steve Fairbairn, on the TC Trail!
MOUNTAIN BIKING TRAILS
Elkford’s mountain bike trail network is expanding each year with two new blue trails completed by the Elkford Trails Alliance in 2021/2022.
Elkford’s mountainous terrain lends itself to single-track trails climbs and descents with options for riders of all levels. Earn your views at the Lost Lake Trail with a moderate climb and a fast fun descent. If cross-country is more your jam, challenge yourself on the Elk Valley Trail/ TCT by starting in Elkford and finishing in Fernie!
Check out Trailforks for the most up-to-date trail status!
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES NETWORK
access to Lost Lake, with excellent views of Elkford and the lower Elk Valley.
access to Lost Lake, with excellent views of Wapiti Mountain.
Moderate-easy grade trail, connecting the north and south portions of the TMNT Trail Network and Lost Lake Trail
Moderate-grade trail that features the best view of Elkford and the Boivin Valley from its vantage point. Ensure you also check out the view at night! Fun and flowy, with berms if biked downhill.
Both Moderate-easy grade following a rolling ridge through a combo of previously harvested and older growth forests. This is fun and flowy, no matter which direction, when ridden by bike!
Short section of trail connecting Bebob and Rocksteady to the Lost Lake Trail and Splinter
Both Moderate-grade trail, featuring a great view of Elkford.
CLASSIC ELKFORD TRAILS
trail providing a panoramic view of Elkford and its surrounding mountains. This trail was named as a result of forest fires in the 1930's.
trail to the beautiful Josephine Falls, which cascades 25 metres down a steep canyon carved by the Fording River.
vigorous hike or downhill bike ride through stands of lodge pole pine to/from the stocked Lost Lake, where there is a dock for fishing.
trail featuring a picnic table midway with a viewpoint overlooking the Elk Valley facing south.
TRAIL DESCRIPTIONS COURTESY OF THE ELKFORD TRAILS ALLIANCE www.elkfordtrails.com
GATEWAY TO THE WILD
A 69-kilometre, 1.5-hour drive north of Elkford, accessible only by forest service roads, Elk Lakes Provincial Park showcases mirror-like lakes, cascading waterfalls and remnant glaciers encased within 17,000 hectares of breathtaking wilderness.
Established in 1973, Elk Lakes Provincial Park is prized by those who want to explore, swim, camp, hike, canoe, horseback ride and fish in pristine alpine backcountry. Be prepared to encounter a wide variety of wildlife. The Park is home to moose, deer, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, grizzly and black bears (swans occasionally visit the lakes too).
There are several campsites and a rustic cabin, which may be reserved by contacting the Alpine Club of Canada.
No supplies, cell service, electricity or drinking water are available in Elk Lakes Provincial Park. Visitors are encouraged to practise the Leave No Trace principles of outdoor ethics. Additionally, be prepared for all manner of weather and emergencies: bring drinking water, extra food, waterproof gear, warm clothing and strong-soled shoes, bear spray, maps and a radio when venturing into the backcountry.
Weather conditions are known to change quickly in this region, with severe lightning storms, complete with hail and snow, being common in the summer months.
OUTDOOR CLUBS & ASSOCIATIONS
Elkford residents are known for their community spirit and the tradition of making their own way, exemplified by the way they carved a community out of the mountain wilderness in a short time span. We’re so fortunate to have dozens of clubs and associations, including a few dedicated to helping our residents enjoy being active in the great outdoors!
• Elkford ATV Club
• Elkford Snowmobile Association
• Elkford Biking Club
• Elkford Trails Alliance
• Elkford Nordic Ski Club
• Mountain Meadows Golf Club
• Elkford Rod & Gun Club
• Wapiti Ski Club
• Elkford Search & Rescue
= Clubs and associations that are also local trail keepers/makers during their respective season(s) of operation (see page 16 to learn more)
Explore more Clubs & Associations in Elkford at: www.elkford.ca/clubsandassociations
VISIT OUR VISITOR CENTRE
Elkford’s Visitor Centre provides a wealth of information about attractions, trails, activities and amenities in the Canadian Rockies region. You’ll find this local treasure within the modern, spacious Community Conference Centre building (located at 750 Fording Drive).
At the Visitor Centre, you’ll find:
Knowledgeable local staff with insider tips about trails, camping and natural attractions
A gift shop filled with epic Elkford-branded souvenirs and clothing
• Maps, brochures and guidebooks (like this one) Campground info, maps and reservations for Elkford’s Municipal Campground Indoor washrooms
• Water-bottle refilling stations
• Free public Wi-Fi, a gorgeous fireplace and comfortable armchairs and tables
• An electric vehicle charging station Plenty of free parking for visitors to the facility
Hours of Operation: •
* Summer hours: open seven days per week!
Contact the Visitor Centre:
Phone 25 0.865.4015
Address 750 Fording Drive, Elkford, B.C. (in the Community Conference C entre, pictured above)
What are you waiting for? Start the car, pack your favourite hiking boots (don’t forget your wallet either), and we’ll see you when you get here!