By Laura Keil
By far the most common question I get asked by tourists (aside from restaurant recommendations) is what are the best shorter/easier hikes in the area. I shy away from using the word “easy” since that’s a relative term when it comes to hiking. What I mean by “easier” are hikes that have less elevation and shorter distances than other hikes, and most can be completed in under 1.5hrs. Below is my list of the best known marked trails as of June 2023 in the Valemount-Tete Jaune-Mt. Robson quadrant. What is your favourite? More info on these trails can be found at

Jackman Flats (leashed dogs only)
Distance/Elevation: Multiple interlocking trails, 1.5km-6km loops. Undulating terrain with minimal elevation gain.
Best parts: stunning views of Premier Range and Mica Mountain on clear days.
Trail description: A relaxing unique environment comprising sand dunes, a flowy well-defined trail, and fragile lichen ecosystems (dogs must remain on leash and on the trail).
Trailhead coordinates: 52.931196″°, -119.372379″°

Cranberry Marsh (leashed dogs only)

Cranberry Marsh

Distance/Elevation: 5.5km loop. Mostly flat.
Best parts: wildlife watching (nesting birds, muskrats, dragonflies), mountain views, raised viewing platforms.
Trail description: This trail skirts the edges of Valemount’s Cranberry Marsh, a wildlife sanctuary and important wetland environment. A boardwalk has been built on the north side. Some sections of trail on the south side are wet or muddy depending on recent weather.
Trailhead coordinates: 3 main access points: (Ash St. cul-de-sac) 52.819133″°, -119.258308″°; (Parking lot near Best Western) 52.815450″°, -119.270077″°; (Boat launch) 52.820472″°, -119.241927″°.

Swift Creek Lookout (dogs ok)

Swift Creek Lookout

Distance/Elevation: 3.6 km return, elevation approx. 37m.
Best parts: Natural air conditioned walk along Swift Creek, 180 degree views from the top of the hill, Views of Canoe Mountain, the Premier Range, and the Village of Valemount.
Trail description: Trail follows Swift Creek before ascending steeply to a viewpoint. Proper footwear is a must.
Trailhead coordinates: 52.838632″°, -119.267895″°

Swift Creek Lookout – alternative route
Distance/Elevation: approx. 4 km return, 37m elevation
Best parts: 180 degree views from the top of the hill where there is a picnic table to enjoy your lunch and the view of Canoe Mtn, the Premier Range, and the Village of Valemount.
Trail description: The trail follows the Swift Creek Lookout trail until partway up the hill, then joins the Subversion trail until it reaches a logged area with stunning views of the Premier Range. Then, retrace your steps, or do a loop via “Ditch the Scene” and “Velodrome” to reach the lookout, and descend via the #6 trail.
Trailhead coordinates: 52.838632″°, -119.267895″°

Hawaii, BC (dogs ok)

Hawaii BC

Distance/Elevation: 600m distance, 100m elevation to the main ridge viewpoint
Best parts: Valemount’s new “Hawaii, BC” hike boasts impressive views, waterfall mist, and great photo opps.
Trail description: The route ascends through a slide area, meandering through thickets of slide alder before emerging onto a rocky look-out with views of glacier-fed waterfalls and Kinbasket Lake. Two rope-assisted routes also descend to the base of the waterfalls. Watch out for: stinging nettle, bears, slippery wet rocks & drop-offs near the base of the falls
Trailhead coordinates: The trailhead is about 20 feet prior to the 15km marker on the West Canoe Forest Service Road.

Zen Garden (dogs ok)

Zen Garden

Distance/Elevation: Zen Garden is a 0.3km trail that zig-zags between two other access trails on the northside of 5-Mile. Access to the trail from 5-Mile is possible via Truck Yeah and an old road that’s now used as a connector for many downhill bike trails (follow the signs for Zen Garden once you reach the Old Truck at the trail junction).
Best parts: The zen garden trail comprises a series of boardwalks that criss-cross a lovely mountain stream that descends the slope in a series of small crystal-clear pools. The sound of babbling water alone is enough to lower your heart rate. Much of what makes Zen Garden so peaceful are the small details – horizontal devil’s club leaves fanning out over a picture-perfect waterfall between two rocky pools of ultra-clear water; a seedling growing out of a moss-covered stump; the dappling of sunlight coming in sideways through the trees.
Trail description: Also used as a mountain bike trail, Zen Garden is a tribute to the marvel of flowing mountain streams and to Japanese gardens. As signage is limited, it’s best to go with someone who is somewhat familiar with the route. The trail can be done as a partial loop, returning up via a lower portion of Truck Yeah. The entire hike there-and-back from 5-Mile is roughly 4km long. For those on foot, it’s a very reasonable hike, though the base of the trail plus the access trail does involve about 120m of elevation change and some short muddy sections.
Trailhead coordinates: Begin at the entrance to Truck Yeah along 5-Mile road.

Little Lost Lake (dogs ok)

Little Lost Lake

Distance/Elevation: 3.4km return to the lake, 4.5k return for the lake loop (120-160m elevation gain)
Best parts: Tranquil mountain lake, mature forest, picnic table and outhouse at the lake.
Trail description: The lake is beautiful, with mountain views in the distance. Keep an eye out for leaping fish, frogs, ducks and geese.
Trailhead coordinates: 52.978960″°, -119.397232″° (park at the pull-out and be careful crossing the highway!)

Kinney Lake (leashed dogs ok)
Distance/Elevation: 10km return, 131m elevation
Best parts: On clear days, spectacular views of Mt. Robson, the Robson River, and of course Kinney Lake.
Trail description: Wide, hard-packed trail for the most part that follows the Robson River.
Trailhead coordinates: 53.050849″°, -119.214408″°

Rearguard Falls (leashed dogs ok)

Rearguard Falls

Distance/Elevation: 400m return, elevation 30m
Best parts: From the viewing platform, you can stand at the top of a massive waterfall on the upper Fraser River!
Trail description: hard packed wide trail, occasional soggy spots, a few steeper sections. Viewing platform has a ramp for those who can’t do stairs.
Trailhead coordinates: Access from Hwy 16 east of Tete Jaune – watch for signage.

Overlander Falls (leashed dogs ok)
600m, 5km
Best parts: Views of the Fraser River canyon & Overlander falls; historic sites.
Trail description: This is a gentle hike with two different routes to the falls. The longer trail follows the Fraser River and gives way to several beautiful views of the canyon below. You’ll also discover the historic Hogan’s Cabin along this trail. On the longer trail there are some narrow sections that drop off steeply and would not be good for someone with a severe fear of heights.
Trailhead coordinates: (1st parking) 53.031226″°, -119.208004″°; (2nd parking) 53.028177″°, -119.230594″°