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Your guide to Cranbrook
All About Cranbrook
Nestled in a small valley between two mountain ranges in British Columbia’s East Kootenays region, Cranbrook embodies Western Canada with its majestic forests, alpine views, and crystal waters. This former railway town now supports a forestry and mining community and serves as a comfortable base camp for exploring the untamed Kootenay wilderness. Adventurers can hike the Cranbrook Mountain Trail, bike through the region’s forests, and gather for food and drinks at one of the town’s local pubs. The self-guided BC Ale Trail traverses the province and takes you to several of Cranbrook’s restaurants and brewpubs, where you can enjoy the Kootenay region’s many craft beers with views of the Rocky Mountain wilderness.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Cranbrook?
Summertime in Cranbrook is the best time to enjoy its natural surroundings. The long days and warm weather make it possible to go on full-day excursions, especially between June and September. This is also when most outdoor festivals take place, including the Sam Steele Days, which brings together the community for a week of all-ages festivities every June.
In October and November, you’ll have a chance to see the snow migrate from mountain peaks down the slopes to create beautiful backdrops for the changing foliage. The cooler weather is also nice for more strenuous outdoor activities, like mountain hikes and mountain biking. December is the coldest month of the year in Cranbrook, which attracts skiers eager to test out the powder. There’s a ski resort just 20 minutes away to the northwest, near the neighbouring town of Kimberley.
What are the top things to do in Cranbrook?
Cranbrook Community Forest
A 20-minute drive from the town centre, the Cranbrook Community Forest has more than 100 kilometres of trails of varying difficulty. The Upper Coaster/Yer Cheatin’ Heart trail rewards more ambitious hikers with breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains. Axle Alley is the most likely route for potential wildlife spotting, including resident black bears.
Cranbrook History Centre
Cranbrook’s early development grew up around the Canadian Pacific Railway’s Crowsnest Pass line, which first passed through the town in 1898. You can learn about it at the Cranbrook History Centre, which offers historic train visits daily. Glean insight into railway history as you explore the cars that carried early settlers around Western Canada, including the invite-only executive car and the caboose that hosted the train crew.
A 12-kilometre hike up Mount Baker leads to a panoramic view of Cranbrook and the Rocky Mountains. This trail will get your blood pumping, as it’s moderately steep in certain areas. However, you don’t have to reach the top to get a good view; shorter peaks along the way offer similar vistas. Expect snow in the upper reaches of the hike if you go anytime other than summer.