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Ymir Great Northern Trailhead - Ymir, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 49° 16.895 W 117° 12.780
11U E 484508 N 5458780
Quick Description: This is the Ymir access point for the Nelson-Salmo Rail Trail, which is also known as the Great Northern Rail Trail, after the Company which ran the railway for the greatest period of time.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 3/17/2015 12:57:08 AM
Waymark Code: WMNH7Z
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member thebeav69
Views: 0

Long Description:
Now owned by the Ministry of Transportation and Highways for BC, this was once the rail line of first the Nelson and Fort Sheppard (N&FS) Railway, laid down in 1893, then, in 1898, the Great Northern Railway. It runs for a total of 48 km. from Salmo to Nelson. A rail trail, it will have maximum grades of approximately 4% as it passes through rugged mountain scenery along the valley of Cottonwood Creek, which flows north to Nelson, then the North Salmo River, which flows south through Salmo. Though going about it using different routes, they both ultimately flow to the Columbia River, the Cottonwood by way of the Kootenay River and the Salmo by way of the Pend d'Oreille River.

A multi-use trail, it is available for use by hikers, bikers, off road vehicles (speed limit 20 km/h), horseback riders and cross country skiers.

The trail runs right through the campground in Ymir, across the street from the Fire Hall and the Hotel Ymir. It runs north through the Ymir campground/rest area to Nelson, about 30 kilometres north, and south from Ymir to Salmo, about 15 kilometres. From here in Ymir you take your pick - north or south. The total length of the trail is 48 kilometres, with an extra 3 or so kilometres in Nelson.

Photo goes Here


The Great Northern Rail Trail section of the Spirit of 2010 Trail is marked by a rugged landscape and a colourful history. Like many of the other rail line segments of the trail, rail expansion began with the drive to find huge deposits of gold, silver, lead and copper in the area, in the 1880s and 1890s.

This section of the rail line was built by American Daniel Corbin. His Spokane Falls and Northern (SF&N) Railway reached navigable water on the Columbia River only 24 kilometres south of the Canada/US border in 1890. Corbin continued building his railroad north, and completed the Nelson and Fort Sheppard (N&FS) Railway in 1893, providing Nelson with an uninterrupted rail line to Spokane, Washington. Another significant step in railway expansion was the opening of the Great Northern Railway main line from Spokane to Seattle, also in 1893. The rail line was initially forced to use 'Mountain Station', located high above Nelson, with a steamer dock at Troup, British Columbia 8 kilometres north east of the 'Queen City' on Kootenay Lake. In 1895 a rail loop was established at Troup with a line along the lake to the outskirts of a neighbourhood called 'Bogustown' just outside of Nelson, now known as the Fairview neighbourhood.

In 1898 Great Northern Railway acquired a controlling interest in both SF&N and N&FS railways and two years later, acquired running rights to the new CPR station in Nelson. Great Northern Railway purchased SF&N outright in 1907 and the N&FS in 1944 and merged into the Burlington Northern System in 1970.

In the early days, the rail line formed an important connection for the West Kootenay mining towns, allowing efficient shipping of their rich ores to the United States. Passenger traffic also flowed between Nelson and Spokane from 1893 to 1941. All train traffic into the region ceased in 1989, except in the section between Waneta and Ross Spur that continues to see active rail use to this day. In 1998 the rails and ties were removed between Ross Spur and Salmo, and in 1999 the final removal of the rails and ties between Salmo and Troup was completed.

This stretch of trail is part of a much more extensive proposed system of trails known as "The Kootenay Loop", which connects to the Trans Canada Trail network in three locations. The hub of the Kootenays, the Salmo-Troup Trail is surrounded by mountains, clear, pristine streams and rivers and many small scenic lakes and marshlands. It is a natural haven for a variety of wildlife.

Beginning in the Village of Salmo, the Great Northern Rail Trail trail winds north through a picturesque rural area in the environmentally sensitive Salmo River Valley. Climbing for 30 kilometres at an average grade of 1%, the rail trail passes through the historic settlement of Ymir, a former mining town, to Summit, and then descends past Cottonwood Lake Regional Park, to form the southeastern boundary of the City of Nelson, linking in numerous places with the street system. The picturesque city of Nelson is surrounded by the Selkirk Mountains and set on the shores of Kootenay Lake. Leaving the city, the trail continues to descend at about 2.4% down to Troup Junction, where it crosses the active CPR, and terminates on the fan of Five Mile Creek, for a total distance of 48 kilometres.
From the Spirit of 2010 Trail

Country: Canada

State/Province/etc.: British Columbia

Trail Start (town): Ymir

Trail Finish (town): Salmo or Nelson

Trail Length: 48

Trail Surface: Gravel/Stone

Pack Animals Allowed: yes

Fees: no

Rail-to-Trail Sign:
Nelson Salmo Great Northern Trail

Internet Link(s):

Visit Instructions:
A Trail Review
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