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  • Writer's pictureSarah S.

Where and What is in Trail, British Columbia, Canada

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

After spending about 5 weeks at our current house/petsit in Trail, British Columbia, we are packing up to head West across the province to Vancouver, BC.

There have been so many great moments while we have been here. The first is spending time with our furry friends whom we are going to miss very much! Vallen is especially attached to the bulldog puppy and the senior Pugs. He dotes and loves on them constantly. When he wakes up in the morning he jumps out of bed to give them love, hugs, kisses, and breakfast.

But please don’t forget our Persian felines are the cutest with their squishy faces, short legs, and little squeaks. When I roll out the yoga mat they sit with me and watch Yoga with Adriene (love her) while I downward dog and Namaste with the best of them!

What Is In Trail?

It has been an unforgettable visit, partly because I would have never stayed in this area had it not been for our house/petsit. We ended up meeting some really nice people, experiencing the sites, and getting involved in the community.

The obvious thing you will find are hiking trails. These are great because they are so close to home and can be done on a whim. Exploring them is a lot of fun. There are big boulders the kids liked to climb. People can mountain bike, too, if they so choose. There are different paths and difficulties to keep it interesting. We came across some really nice locals. Some people were getting in exercise before the rain and others walking their dogs. We liked how there were always walking sticks left at the beginning of the trails for your use. When you are finished you just put them back where you found them. It was an interesting way to explore the different districts in Trail and see even more of the town from different viewpoints.

Fun Places For Kids In Trail

Vallen loved his time at Ignite Martial Arts. Josh and Amos were wonderful, encouraging, and welcoming instructors. Danielle at the Trail library was kind and more than happy to have Vallen attend her STEAM program on Tuesdays. He played with lots of kids his age and was stimulated with fun and educational activities.

Ok, I have to give an honorable mention to the Waneta Plaza Indoor Play Park. When we first came upon it after grocery shopping in the same plaza, I thought it was one of those expensive mall play places that charge parents an arm and a leg. It was totally free! This ended up being so amazing because, on cold, rainy, or snowy days, this was so nice to have in our wheelhouse of things to do. Vallen always ended up having a friend to play with while there, so double bonus.

The Trail Smoke Eaters

The whole family had such a blast attending the Trail Smoke Eaters hockey games. It reminded us of watching the Lake Elsinore Storm games back home (2 totally different sports, I know, same concept though).

There was the Smoke Eaters mascot, games, crowd involvement, and concessions. Packs of high schoolers and middle schoolers sitting together with friends. Little kids running around laughing, up way too late, and eating way too much candy. Old and young were having a great time and cheering for the home team. Don’t forget the big screen with shots of the crowd impromptu dancing, kissing, and participating in activities. We even learned the Canadian National Anthem.

Trail, B.C. History

Trail, B.C. had an influx of Italian immigrants back in the 1800s when there was a boom in coal. According to at that time, Italian immigrants were employed by the Canadian Pacific Railroad to build them. A capitalist by the name of F. Augustus Heinze traveled to Trail and invested in a railroad and smelter. The smelter arrived in 1896. An Italian by the name of Issaco Georgetti made his way there a year later and built the Montana Hotel. Italian families began arriving shortly after and established businesses and built homes. The Italian imprint is all over the town as seen by the Italiano-Canadese (Italian-Canadian) club, rock walls, and original homes that are still standing built by early immigrants. I was told that most Italian families in Trail trace back 4, 5, and even 6 generations.

Fun fact, as of 2016 Trail has a population of 7,709.

Smelter, Trail Bridge, Columbia River Skywalk

The smelter is still here smack dab in the middle of Trail and cannot be missed. Its smokestacks are always blowing puffs of clouds and can be seen at any given time. You can call the smelting plant for a tour. Please note children must be 12 or older to take the tour, so the little guy and I hung out with the Smoke Eaters for a special storytime at the library.

The Columbian River runs between two banks between Trail and a bridge runs across connecting people on both sides. The bridge is free and the town is small enough we never needed directions. We took the bridge back and forth for a 5-minute ride into town.

The Columbia River Skywalk is a really pretty pedestrian bridge and bicycle-friendly that can be used to walk across the water as an alternative to the driveable bridge.

Surrounding Cities


There are some quaint little towns that surround Trail. Rossland is a really beautiful mountain town that we stayed in upon our arrival in Canada. Situated about 10 minutes from the border of the U.S, it has a quaint downtown and cozy feel. In the winter, it is a hub for Red Mountain Resort, which is the place to be for skiing and snowboarding.


Another great little town is Nelson. It is about an hour from Trail and is a scenic drive. We read that there was a great hike up to Pulpit Rock with amazing views at the top that overlooked the town. Our first run of trying to find the hiking spot was a bust. We stopped by the Nelson Visitor’s Centre, but it was closed. There were some great old trains parked in front and we had some great photo ops anyway.

We decided to walk around town first. Lots of folks were servicing their skis while we were in town visiting. Sprinkled with mom-and-pop shops, restaurants, and cafes, we decided to warm up at a cafe with a little coffee and pastries followed up by a quick stop at Valhalla Pure Outfitters to browse around. Anthony asked about Pulpit Rock and we got pointed in the right direction so we attempted to go find it again.

It turned out we were super close the first time but didn’t go down far enough down. Pulpit Rock was such a great hike. There was a pretty steady flow of locals that seem to hike it regularly. Some running, others walking their dogs and families. Vallen was tiring out after a while of ascending the mountain, but we made it to the top and were rewarded with beautiful views (not to mention a great work-out).


The funny thing was we came across Castlegar while driving to Nelson. We hadn’t paid much attention to it on the way there, but on the way back noticed the town had quite a few stores and seemed close to Trail (about 25 minutes). While at the Smoke Eaters game I noticed the announcer kept naming ads for places in Castlegar. So when we were looking to get out of town a bit we decided to explore it.

Castlegar is one of the “bigger” cities in the area (population 8,039) and offers a little more shopping, stores, and entertainment. We stopped by WhatHumble Bean Coffee Co. a cute coffee shop! It had local artwork for sale all over the walls and lots of board games to play. We warmed up with some goodies while playing Battleship in teams (kids against grown-ups). Afterward, we passed the library, which had a park behind it. The kids played there for about an hour before we headed to Chopsticks Chinese | Japanese restaurant for dinner. It turned out to be a really nice afternoon outing.

Hiking Trails

There are some really nice hiking trails around the town. We really liked the one in Miral Heights. The kids liked climbing boulders, the various terrain, and friendly doggies along the way.

Happy Trails

After a great time, we are heading out. We are missing our furry friends but are excited for our new adventure ahead.

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