Date: January 23 2022
Location: Cranbrook, British Columbia
Distance: 10.5 km
A sudden change of temperature and scenery for Walk #5 of the year. After we flew from the UK to Canada we decided to try and shake off a bit of the jet lag with a nice walk in the sunshine and snow. One of my favourite places to walk and run in Cranbrook is the Chief Isadore Canyon trail, located parallel to Highway 3/93.
The trail is named after the Kootenai Indian Chief, Isadore. He led with strength and was widely revered and respected and tried to navigate his tribe through difficult periods of history, clashing with settlers and the government. He passed away in 1893 from the flu that was spreading through the region.
You can read more about Chief Isadore here:
Biography – ISADORE – Volume XII (1891-1900) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography (biographi.ca)
The trail, now dirt pack and gravel, follows the original train route from Cranbrook towards Wardner and as it’s pretty much a flat path the entire way, makes for a nice run or walk (though maybe more difficult in the snow!) We started the walk at the main parking lot on the north end of Cranbrook, plenty of parking space available. The trail is a multi-use (non vehicle) trail and it was clear it had been used by snowshoers, fat-bikers, dog walkers, and a variety of animals.
I like walking and running this route as it weaves in and out of small patches of trees before disappearing away from the road leaving you in relative silence. I used to run along this trail several times a week while training for marathons and it was always a great place to think and feel connected to history and nature at the same time. Along the way there are few signs of the trails original purpose, about 3km along the trail, the stone ruins of a small building can be found being overtaken by trees and new growth. There are also some information signs posted along the trail as well, which tell the history of the region, the animals and trees you’ll find along the trail and the creation story of the Ktunaxa.
We continued walking, following the trail as it breaks away from the highway and curves into a tighter canyon, my favourite part of the trail. You can almost imagine the trains rolling through the narrow cuts in the hillside.
Our destination for this walk was just beyond this narrow section, the old bread ovens built out of stones and a steel drum. The ovens were built by the railway workers, to bake bread, and cook food while on the job. They’re a little bit tricky to see if you don’t know what you’re looking for but curious wanderers will be able to spot a few dotted along the trail.
This particular oven is location around the 5.5-6km point along the trail and makes for a good spot to turn around. There’s also a Geocache located inside so it’s a great destination and opportunity to get involved in the virtual treasure hunt that is Geocaching!
All in all our walk was a longer one, a colder one, but a good one!