After we finished exploring some of the land around Cody and safely evading the bears who had just left there bear scat nearby we turned back down the dirt road and onto the highway towards Kaslo. Just a few short km’s down we saw the remains of the Ghost Town Retallack but did not stop as we had Ainsworth Hotsprings as our goal. It will be a must stop next time through the Kootenays!
and shortly after Retallack we enjoyed another close up of one of the Kootenay’s many Mule Deer.
The now defunct K&S railway offers great trail that takes you above Sandon to many views of old abondoned mines along the valley sidehills. I would suggest mountain bikes for this trail. It would be great to bike along it then hit the Galena Trail.
K & S Railway Trailhead
The K&S Trail information above says:
Walk back in history on the K & S Trail. Starting here in Sandon follow 5.6 km along the route taken by the old wood burning engines of the Kaslo-Slocan railway (built in 1895) as they carryied rich silver-lead ore from Sandon to Kaslo, until the railway and some of the mines it served were destroyed by the Great Fire of 1910. Along the route ponder the ruins of the Payne concentrator built to process ore from Slocan’s first mine; the Payne. Sit and enjoy the panorama from a viewpoint which shows the historic Viola Mac Mine. Further along enjoy the breath-taking vista of the new Denver Glacier in Valhalla Park. Walk past Payne siding to visit Payne Bluffs. Finally follow the original 1893 Pack-Trail from Payne Siding 1.4 km down to Three Forks.
This video shows the Galena Trail and the old K & S Railway bed.
While Sandon now has (for just $4) top notch information and many incredible mining artifacts, rock samples, excellent lifelike displays, video in the museum along with excellent local talent to guide you along, I was a little dissapointed with the numerous areas (specially at the beginning of the town) of Sandon that are littered with …and this is really weird…old circa 1950 transit buses from Vancouver??? These buses and trolley cars cover an acre or so of land. There is other “junk” around that once cleaned out and replaced with more establishments like the museum and gift shop (I didn’t get a chance to step into the gift shop but it looked enticing) would make this town an excellent draw for tourists.
The most important point in Sandon for me was the trail head for the Idaho Lookout. I wanted to go up but the top portion was still covered in snow. A better time to visit for this trip to enjoy the Vista would be August.
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
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!
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.