Idaho Peak Lookout

Idaho Peak Lookout

The Idaho Peak Forest Service Road sign shown below says:

12 km of steep narrow road to parking lots
limited pullouts for vehicles to pass
no motor homes or trailers allowed
1.4 km of hiking trails from parking lots to peaks
No water at Idaho Peak
Sandon to Idaho Peak and return – allow 4 hours
Drive Slowly and Carefully

Idaho Peak Lookout Trail Head in Sandon BC

Idaho Peak Lookout Trail Head in Sandon BC

To get there, go to Sandon near New Denver and look for the sign in the heart of Sandon and follow the road up the hill. Best to go in August (or at least check with someone in the area for snow levels) as when I was there in July there was still snow at the top and I was not prepared for the snow.

Here is  great comment emailed to me by Greg,

I LOVE THE KOOTENAY VALLEY! We were in Kaslo a few months ago. There was a black bear in someone’s front lawn eating apples. The locals said be careful and to walk in the middle of the road! That’s it! Walking an extra 5 feet away will save my life! Obviously, they’re used to living with bears.

Since you’re going to be in the Kootenay region, consider going to Sandon on just off of 31A. It’s a ghost town with some preserved buildings and a museum. The highlight for me was DRIVING up Idaho Peak, just outside of town. You drive up 95% of this mountain, on a rough road with steep drop-offs. At the top there’s a short walk to the peak where you look down on New Denver & the Slocan Valley. Beautiful.

You’ll have no problem doing the drive in a truck. I was in a small station wagon and had no problems inching along at 5 kms per hour! Hopefully the weather will be clear for you. I was going to write about this drive/hike onhttps://www.tracksandtrails.ca, but you may beat me to it!

Cody BC – a original ghost town of British Columbia

Cody BC – a original ghost town of British Columbia

Upon taking the short drive from New Denver (South of Nakusp on Highway 6)to Three Forks (which was also a boom town but nothing remains now), we discovered a small parking area just to the right as you turn towards Sandon, BC. This parking area is for those who want to hike along the Galena Trail. I highly recommend it.

To get to Cody though, continue along the road past Sandon for about 2 km. The road does get very narrow but you will be rewarded with lots of ruins to explore.

By following a very short road up the creek you will find a crude water system of some sort that is still being used evidenced by the spouting water. Just before you cross the new bridge you may see the old one – don’t cross it – DANGER – Once you walk over the new bridge you will be able to view several old homes and to the left you see very cool circa 1895 industrial ruins. Once at the Cody ghost town ruins you can even go inside to get a close up view if you are brave enough, ie; dumb enough.

New Denver Hiking Trails and the Mori Lakeside Trail

After staying a night in New Denver prior to visiting Sandon, Cody, Alma and other ghost towns in the area, the Mori Lakeside Trail offered a very peaceful walk along the Slocan Lake shoreline.


The image above – found at the New Denver Museum – quote “This was the town known as Eldorado. Later it became new Denver when it was forecast it would become greater than its namesake, Denver, Colorado.

New Denver Information

By 1893, New Denver was established as teh western gateway to the silver country. Close by, Silver-Lead properties like the Mountain Chief, Alpha, California, Alamo and others contributed to teh general prosperity of the town. To the East, Sandon, Whitewater, Three Forks, Cody, and other mining towns beckoned.

Today, the original Bank of Montreal and a dozen other buildings from the turn of the century stand as mute reminders of the days when this town was considered the New Eldorado. (my note; the town is a nice reminder of the past and a handful of buildings look well looked after but to really draw tourists I suggest they mimick Kaslo and really bring out the history and culture by keeping the old buildings but restoring many more of them on the outside with a few new paint jobs.)

Galena Trail and Alamo in the Valley of the Ghosts

Galena Trail and Alamo in the Valley of the Ghosts

I was amazed to find the ruins of Alamo just 1km or so down the Galena Trail starting at the location where the town of Three Forks existed. The Alamo ghost town is incredible – I left my camera in New Denver when we checked into the Valhalla Inn but I can tell you that you will not be dissapointed. Just remember to go a few yards past the ruins along Carpenter Creek to enjoy the cable car that local volunteers have built to carry hikers and bikers accross Carpenter Creek. What fun we had as we each took our turn to pull ourselves by hand accross the creek!

Alamo - aghost town on Galena Trail  near Sandon BC

Alamo - aghost town on Galena Trail near Sandon BC

Photo on this post used with permission from Mark Goresky

As we had travelled 4 or 5 hours from Kelowna to get to New Denver, we had to have a nights sleep and could not explore the Galena Trail any more but I would love to go back some day with my mountain bike and cover it all the way to New Denver and connect up with other trails that meander along the old railway bed to Nakusp.

Here is a bit more info. about the Galena Trail:

Here is an exert from the Galena Trail brochure “Explore the 13-km trail from Roseberry to Three Forks. The Nakusp and Slocan (N&S) Railway is no more, yet the smoke from the wood-fired boilers and the howl of the steam whistle still linger in the air.” The brochure also mentions a few hazards:

Rock Slides
Steep drop-offs
Devil’s Club (sharp thorns)
Bridges
Cable Car

Galena Trail Cable Car near the Alamo ghost town

Galena Trail Cable Car near the Alamo ghost town

Photo on this post used with permission from Mark Goresky

Alamo – Valley of the ghosts

I was amazed to find the ruins of Alamo just 1km or so down the Galena Trail starting at the location where the town of Three Forks existed. The Alamo ghost town is incredible – I left my camera in New Denver when we checked into the Valhalla Inn but I can tell you that you will not be dissapointed. Just remember to go a few yards past the ruins along Carpenter Creek to enjoy the cable car that local volunteers have built to carry hikers and bikers accross Carpenter Creek. What fun we had as we each took our turn to pull ourselves by hand accross the creek!

As we had travelled 4 or 5 hours from Kelowna to get to New Denver, we had to have a nights sleep and could not explore the Galena Trail any more but I would love to go back some day with my mountain bike and cover it all the way to New Denver and connect up with other trails that meander along the old railway bed to Nakusp.

Here is a bit more info and an exert from the Galena Trail brochure:

“Explore the 13-km trail from Roseberry to Three Forks. The Nakusp and Slocan (N&S) Railway is no more, yet the smoke from the wood-fired boilers and the howl of the steam whistle still linger in the air.” The brochure also mentions a few hazards:

  • Rock Slides
  • Steep drop-offs
  • Devil’s Club (sharp thorns)
  • Bridges
  • Cable Car