Anyone who has driven along Hwy 93/95 south of Fairmont Hot Springs has been surprised and amazed as they came upon the hoodoos, for they are a distinct landmark in this part of the Columbia Valley. You don’t need to view them from a speeding vehicle, however – see them up close and personal from the hiking trail.
Read more... (and a video!)
Geologists explain that, 11,000 years ago, the entire Columbia Valley was an enormous lake, caused by melting glaciers. As the waters retreated, rivers and streams were left behind, meandering through and around the land formations that appeared. The hoodoos are one of these land formations.
An Indian legend tells us that far, far back in the ages, an enormous fish tried to swim along the Rocky Mountain Trench. It was a very difficult journey and finally the fish gave up and died at Canal Flats. As the flesh decomposed, its ribs fell apart, one half becoming the hoodoos at Fairmont, the other half became hoodoos further south near Fort Steele.
Getting to the top of these sandstone cliffs is easy for just about everyone in the family. It climbs moderately for about 5-10 minutes, then levels out for the remainder of the way. Keep small children close because, even though the trail is wide enough to be safe, there are many places along the way where it drops sharply down.
The round-trip hike is 3 km and usually takes about an hour. Everywhere you look, the view is beyond description. Look to the south and see Columbia Lake and to the west, view a major feeder to the lake, Dutch Creek.
What to bring
Bring sunhat, sunglasses, water and perhaps a small snack. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your camera.
The trail is also open during the winter months for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Location Map & Directions
Head south from Fairmont on Hwy 93/95 about 1.5 miles (if you get to the Dutch Creek service station, you have gone a few hundred yards too far).
Turn right onto Westside Rd. and continue for about 1km. Watch for the sign on the left side of the road and look for the parking lot.
8 thoughts on “Hike the Fairmont Hoodoos Trail”
There is no way this steep, loose gravel terrain is wheel chair accessible unless they are use to 4 bying and have Hercules arms. Just did it yesterday. I have asthma but made it just fine take little steps and use poles.
I see that it’s open in winter for cross country and snowshoeing. Is it possible to hike it in the winter. My family and I are coming out in mid March but will not have skis or snowshoes. Could we hike it then? Would the conditions be likely to be safe to hike it?
Please note that for an asthmatic this trail was challenging, but not impossible. A posted trail map would be nice. I was too spent by the time I got to the level section to go any further, not knowing how much further or steep it would be up ahead.
I agree this trail can be challenging. My Dachshund cross , (he is extremely agile and not at all hindered by his short stature), and I just completed the trail a couple of days ago in winter, icy conditions. I was however, advised by a local at the gas station before going and knew what to expect. The first bit is quite steep, however, it does not last for long. You will very quickly come to a Fork in The Road, at which time you can either choose to go Left, or Right. If you want a more relaxed hike Take the RIGHT hand side, it is much flatter, and meanders for a while. Very easy for someone in reasonable physical fitness. I do fully empathize with those who might have an impairment, my common-law husband who has had several knee surgeries would never have been able to make this hike, at least not in winter too slippery and the ground is uneven. But when you make it to the top the view is like HEAVEN it is Amazing!!!! You look down on the Columbia Lake it is absolutely Breathtaking. Please be advised to keep all small children, and or animals restrained or on a leash the cliffs go straight down, and as the signage will tell you, the ground is unstable, and can give away. If you follow the precautions everyone should be safe and enjoying the trip.
Went out today and unfortunately the trails are closed due to high fire hazard.
We were very disappointed, but understand. Another time
This trail would be wheelchair accessible if not for the stupid gate design at the parking lot. It’s like they went out of their way to prevent wheelchair users from being able to join enjoy this trail.
Hi Stewart, We would think the gate was more to keep out motorized vehicles. While that is great from one perspective, it’s unfortunate that wheelchairs can’t get through. We’ll look a little further into it and see what we can find out. Thanks for the comment!
Think it is designed to keep ATV’s from destroying the trail. No one designs a trail to keep the disabled out.