Rockwall Highline Trail

  • Canada Brit Col: Kootenay, Rockwall Highline Trail, Paint Pots Trail, Walkopedia
  • Canada Brit Col: Kootenay, Rockwall Highline Trail, Helmet Falls - Rockwall Trail - Kootenay National Park, Walkopedia
  • Canada Brit Col: Kootenay, Rockwall Highline Trail, Kootenay National Park- Paint Pots, Walkopedia
  • Canada Brit Col: Kootenay, Rockwall Highline Trail, Helmet Falls, Walkopedia
  • Canada Brit Col: Kootenay, Rockwall Highline Trail, Tumbling Peak from Rockwall Trail, Walkopedia
  • Canada Brit Col: Kootenay, Rockwall Highline Trail, Floe Lake, Kootenay National Park, Walkopedia
  • Canada Brit Col: Kootenay, Rockwall Highline Trail, Helmet Falls Clouds, Walkopedia
  • Canada Brit Col: Kootenay, Rockwall Highline Trail, Floe Lake, Kootenay National Park, Walkopedia
  • Canada Brit Col: Kootenay, Rockwall Highline Trail, Floe Lake, Kootenay National Park, Walkopedia
  • Canada Brit Col: Kootenay, Rockwall Highline Trail, Floe Lake, Kootenay National Park, Walkopedia

Key information: Rockwall Highline Trail

  • Hike along the base of this extraordinary formation, an endless series of huge limestone cliffs approaching 1,000m high and some 50km long.

Walkopedia rating

(Top 100)
  • Walkopedia rating88.5
  • Beauty36
  • Natural interest16.5
  • Human interest2
  • Charisma34
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating88.5

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 55 km
  • 3-6 days
  • Maximum Altitude: 2,355m
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous

This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.

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Rockwall Highline Trail: Helmet Falls - © Flickr user Marko Bajzer

WALK SUMMARY

The Rockwall is an extraordinary formation, an endless series of huge limestone cliffs approaching 1,000m high and some 50km long.

The Rockwall (also called Highline) Trail runs below the rock wall between the Paint Pots and Floe Lake trailheads.

You will meet a wonderful selection of landscapes as you cross from valley to valley, from vivid lakes below sheer peaks and teetering glaciers, to flowery, larch-scattered meadows, to ancient forests. Highlights include Floe Lake, a beautiful high lake at the foot of a glacier, with icebergs calving into it; the tremendous Helmet Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in Canada; and the bright and varied colours of the Paint Pots and Ochre Beds.

You can hike the trail in 3 days, although 4 to 6 days allows time to enjoy the delights this area offers. 2 days at Tumbling Creek campground will allow you to check out the Wolverine Plateau and climb up to the base of Tumbling Glacier.

A typical expedition could look as follows:

Day 1: Paint Pots to Helmet Falls: you start from the red ochre Paint Pots just off the Radium Highway. Following Ochre then Helmet Creeks, the trail climbs gradually through forests of spruce and fir, which open up as you reach camp at the base of a tremendous cirque with one of the highest waterfalls in the Rockies, 352m Helmet Falls, at its heart. 14.6km.

(Side trip: Goodsir Pass: climb the short distance to Goodsir Pass, with its magnificent views and shrubby meadows. You can head on higher through larch forest to explore the mountain ridges above. 6 – 10km.)

Day 2: Helmet Falls to Tumbling Creek: head to the base of Limestone Peak and the northern end of the Rockwall, with a vast expanse of meadows below. Nearby is Wolverine Pass, a giant cleft in the Rockwall, from which you can see the towers of the Bugaboos some 70 km away. Drop a short distance to camp in upper Tumbling Creek. 12.4km.

Day 3: Tumbling Pass to Floe Lake: begin with a beautiful climb to narrow Tumbling Pass below the Tumbling Glacier, with meadows sprinkled with elegant larches. A long descent gets you down to Numa Creek.

Hike on to the gorgeous Floe Lake via Numa Pass, the highest point on the trail at 2,355m, which is surrounded by dramatic peaks above gorgeous meadows and forests. Floe Lake appears below, its blue waters littered with ice … er … floes which have dropped from the glacier which empties into the lake. Camp by the lake. 18km. This is a long and demanding day, with elevation gain/loss of over 1,000m. It can be divided into two with a night at Numa Creek.

Day 4: Floe Lake to Radium Highway
An 11km, 700m descent through interesting, flowery forest which was, sadly, burnt in 2003 and is beautiful in a ghostly, melancholy way but is now busy rejuvenating.

Camping is the only option on trail, so you need to come well prepared, with food and kit for the entire walk.

A short season: July to mid-September.

You can create day walks here if time is short. Eg a 13 mile day walk to Floe Lake. 700m elevation gain/loss.

The Rockwall is reasonably hard work, with 4 passes to cross – but not excessively demanding. You will, though, be in high, remote mountains, where you will have to be self-sufficient. Come prepared.

We would love to share more. Please help us by making suggestions and sending photos! Thank you!

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Rockwall Highline Trail: Tumbling Peak from Rockwall Trail - © Wikimedia user Jock Rutherford

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

We have a lot of helpful practical information and tips about this walk, covering everything from the best books and maps, to timing and weather, geting there, possible problems, whether you need a guide and where to find them, and useful websites. This section is only open to members.

Membership is FREE AND JOINING TAKES 30 SECONDS. To login or sign up click here

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Rockwall Highline Trail: Floe Lake, Kootenay National Park - © Flickr user Marko Bajzer

OTHER ACCOUNTS
share your experiences

Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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Rockwall Highline Trail: Helmet Falls Clouds - © Flickr user Marko Bajzer...
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