Rockwall Trail

Ranking among the premier scenic and wildflower backpacks in the Canadian Rockies, the Rockwall Trail offers abundant opportunities for photographers and seasonal delights for wildflower and larch viewing. It's a moderate to strenuous 4-6 day backpack in Kootenay National Park with options for loop trails and a side trip to Goodsir Pass. Between Helmet Falls and Floe Lake is exceptionally scenic travel over four passes along the towering Rockwall peaks and hanging glaciers, and expansive wildflower meadows.

getting there

Southern Trailhead (Floe Lake/numa falls)

From BC-95 at Radium Hot Springs, turn east onto BC-93 and drive 45 miles (72 km) to the Floe Lake parking lot (4265 ft/1,300 m). The Numa Falls parking lot is 2.5 miles (4 km) further north (4,595 ft/1,400 m). If arranging a shuttle for one way trip, leave one car at exit trailhead (Numa Creek or Floe Lake).

Northern Trailhead (Paint Pots/Helmet Creek)

Drive 8 miles (13 km) northwest on BC-93 from the Flow Lake Trailhead to the Paint Pots Trailhead (4,650 ft/1,420 m).

on the trail

Hike south on the Rockwall trail 33.8 miles one-way with 3,400 feet of elevation gain. There are options for northbound travel loop trails and a 5-mile round trip-side trip to Goodsir Pass from Helmet Creek camp. Single night camping is recommended for each of the four camps along the Rockwall, and adding an extra night at Helmet Falls for Goodsir Pass side trip or hanging out at spectacular Floe Lake and meadows near Numa Pass. 

Between Helmet Falls and Floe Lake, the exceptional scenic rollercoaster trail goes over four passes along the towering Rockwall peaks and hanging glaciers, through deposits of unique graphic rocks, and expansive subalpine and alpine wildflower meadows. There are abundant wildflowers along entire trail during midsummer, and golden larches coloring passes in early autumn.

notes

  • Guidebook:  Canadian Rockies Trail Guide, 9th ed  by Brian Patton & Bart Robinson (Summerthought Publishing 2011).
  • Backcountry camps along the Rockwall trail require advance online reservations.  Camps between Helmet Falls and Floe Lake fill quickly for peak summer dates during first hours of January.

information for leaders

Considerations for international travel

  • Start by reviewing the latest regulations.
  • Everyone will need a passport or other valid ID such as a NEXUS card.
  • NEXUS cards can save a lot of time but only work if everyone in the car has one.
  • Make sure your vehicle insurance is valid for Canada.
  • Make sure your health insurance is valid for Canada.
  • Border crossing regulations are strict in both directions. Know what you’re allowed to take and declare everything to avoid problems.
  • You may be able to save time by checking alternate border crossings. Find apps that show updated times and other good tips.
  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking
  • Seasons: July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Moderate/Strenuous
  • Length: 33.8 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,400 ft
  • 7,720 ft
  • Land Manager: Kootenay National Park
  • Parking Permit Required: National Park Entrance Fee
  • Recommended Party Size: 6
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
Map
  • CNTS Goodsir 82 N/1
  • Chrismar Adventure Map: Kootenay National Park - The Rockwall
Activities

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