Located in the land of legend and pioneers, and steeped in rich mining history, Trail is one of B.C.’s important economic centres in the industrial heart of the Kootenays. Known as the City of Silver, Trail had not yet come into being when the Dewdney Trail was started in 1860 to serve as a trade route from the coast to the BC interior. The town now takes its name from the Dewdney Trail, and was earlier known as Trail Creek, maintaining the legacy of other mining towns that have since fallen silent.
Trail’s transition from frontier to settlement began in 1895 when interest in locating a smelter in the area to serve the rich mines in Rossland was sparked. Augustus Heinze completed a small copper smelter on a bench above the townsite in 1896, named the British Columbia Smelting and Refining Company. Heinze sold the trail smelter and railway holdings to the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1898, and the company known as Cominco today was on its way.
Over the years, Trail has become the home of a very large Italian community that has contributed to the city’s distinctive character, giving it a definite Old World feel. Some say the best Italian food in the province is to be enjoyed here.
Location: Trail is located at the junction of Highway 3B and Highway 22, 16 miles (26 km) southwest of Castlegar and 6 miles (10 km) east of Rossland.
Trail’s Cominco smelter is the world’s largest zinc and lead smelting complex, processing an astonishing 700,000 tonnes of concentrates annually. The Giant on the Hill, Cominco, conduct regular guided tours of its huge smelting operation, with hands-on exhibits and video presentations.
Visit City Hall, and its unique metal sculptures, and the fascinating Trail Museum housed in the same building.
Take a look at Trail’s sports history, downtown in the Trail Memorial Centre, on Victoria Street right next to the bridge. The Sports Hall of Memories celebrates the growth of all sports in Trail, from early days to the present.
Fishing is popular on the mighty Columbia River – well known for its rainbow trout.
Dewdney Trail: Take a hike on the historic Dewdney Trail that ran between Hope, at the east end of the Fraser Valley, and Wildhorse, near Creston in the East Kootenays. Although much of the original 4 foot wide pathway that Edgar Dewdney blazed in 1865 has been neglected, its still possible to hike portions of it that have been maintained between Christina Lake and Rossland. Dewdney was a young civilian surveyor who was originally hired by Colonial-Governor Douglas in 1860 to build a trail between Hope and the gold fields in the Okanagan Valley region. With the discovery of gold in Stud Horse Creek (later named Wild Horse Creek), Dewdney was asked to extend the trail east to Wildhorse in 1865. With help from the weather, he was able to complete the route from the Kootenays in five months. Dewdney’s legacy can be touched in several places and by several modes of exploration. In addition to hiking, you can drive a section of the trail as Hwy 3B passes through Trail, which takes its name from the Dewdney Trail.
Excellent swimming and camping facilities are available at Champion Lakes Provincial Park, 18 km northwest of Fruitvale, to the east of Trail. Its three small lakes form the headwaters of Landis Creek, which flows northward to join Champion Creek, a tributary of the Columbia River.
Enjoy a cool night’s rest away from the heat in the valley at the Nancy Greene Provincial Park. A self-guided nature trail encircles the sub-alpine Nancy Green Lake, the last known address of the rainbow trout you’ll have for dinner. Camping facilities are available, and in summer and fall, hikers can use the more than 20 km of low-elevation trails to view mule deer and black bear.
Skiing: Unsurpassed snow conditions and ideal ski slopes have made nearby Rossland, 10 km away, a winter mecca for skiers. Rossland boasts the Olympic renowned Red Mountain Ski Club, site of the 1968 World Cup Races, the first ever to be held Canada, and a world-class ski facility offering outstanding alpine and cross-country skiing. Rossland is also the home of World Champion skier Nancy Greene and Kerrin Lee Gartner who stepped onto their first skis on the slopes of Red Resort. Red and adjoining Granite Mountain now attract thousands of winter sports enthusiasts from around the world.
Golf: The Redstone Alpine Golf Resort, formerly the Rossland Course, is a new signature Les Furber design championship course expected to rank within the top 10 resort courses in Canada. Situated in a beautiful alpine valley, and part of the charming town of Rossland, the hilly course has been designed to deliver a much sought-after mountain golf experience. The Rossland Trail Country Club, just outside the beautiful alpine community of Rossland offers the 18-hole Birchbank Course, located on the banks of the Columbia River with spectacular views of the Selkirk and Monashee Mountains. The mature, tree-lined course is loaded with holes that seem like they’ve been there forever. Opened in 1967, this championship course promises and delivers a true test of golf. Known for its large manicured greens and contoured fairways, this well maintained course offers plenty of length and some thrilling elevation changes.
Golf Vacations in British Columbia.
The annual Silver City Days is a multi-day celebration in May; events include a parade, carnival, fireworks and Family Days at Gyro Park.
Circle Tour: See the best of the area on the Okanagan and Kootenay Rockies Circle Tour. Travel the sunny interior of British Columbia, north through the Okanagan to Sicamous, following Highway 1 into the mountains of the BC Rockies. From Golden, head south through the Columbia Valley to Creston, and west through Boundary Country and the Southern Okanagan to complete the loop.
Circle Tours in British Columbia.