Pilot Peninsula extends 7 kilometres south into the east side of Kootenay Lake, making it accessible year-round. Crawford Bay is on the east side. Including Pilot Point Provincial Park, the trails that criss-cross Pilot Peninsula on Kootenay Lake are great for early spring walks. Some have been in use for years while others are recent additions from local residents. All provide great views of surrounding peaks, animals and easy hiking. The Waterfront trail can be used to combine canoe and kayaking trips around Crawford Bay and Kootenay Lake.
Location: east shore Kootenay Lake south of Kootenay Bay ferry.
Difficulty: easy A1
Elevation gain: 140m (460′)
Distance: TH to Tipi Camp 12.8kms round trip
Time: 3-5 hours round trip
Access: Any vehicle
Season: April through November. Possible year-round.
Map: 82F/10 Crawford Bay
Drive: From Kootenay Bay ferry terminal on the east shore of Kootenay Lake, turn SE onto Pilot Bay Road behind the ferry terminal restrooms.
3.4km Turn left 100 metres into the Marine Park TH parking lot 518m (1770′).
Trails: Waterfront Trail. Start at the BC Parks kiosk and ascend the trail above Pilot Bay.
20 minutes A trail descends to the beach at Sawmill Cove.
1.8km Junction. Right goes to the campground with 7 campsites (10 minutes), then ends on a point and views of Sawmill Cove and birds. Just past the main trail junction is another trail that descends right to a small beach and the park boundary.
3.5kms Right goes to Boomer’s Landing with a beach.
3.65km Left goes to inland forests. Continue right on the Upper Levels Trail that climbs some.
4.8km Bluff with good views of lake. Climb up to a fork left, but continue straight to parallel the lake. A left fork on the Upper Levels Trail soon ascends to the left. Continue straight (SE).
6.4km Tipi Camp on the south tip of Pilot Point Peninsula. Great beach.
The Tipi Camp is run by a private society and offers all sorts of programs. It is a wonderful place to stay and camp – great vegetarian cuisine, stay in tipis, yoga with a wonderful view south down the lake. Boat accessible from Gray Creek with the society or kayak/canoe on your own.
High Level Trail. Return a few minutes from Tipi Camp and turn right on the High Level Trail in the forest and no lake views. Ascend to a junction that descends to the bluffs and Boomers Landing.
Homestead Trail starts north between the cabins at Tipi Camp, in 2.5kms, meets a logging road inland, 5.3kms to the village of Crawford Bay. It would be a shuttle or hitchhike back to the TH. but are not so interesting as in forest. Do for exercise and somewhere else to hike but most return on the waterfront trail for the best views in another direction.