Elk Cutoff Trail is a short hiking trail in the community of Castlegar, BC located in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada. The short hiking route explores along a ridge and hilltop behind the community of Castlegar providing great views of the valley below.
The Elk Cutoff Trail is a one way hiking route. Part of the trail runs parallel to the Dove Hill Hiking Trail but at a lower elevation. The Elk Cutoff Trail is a 2.2 kilometre long trail stretching from the cellular tower behind the community to a trailhead at the Brilliant Terminal Station.
The hiking route is considered an easy grade route with some elevation hiking. The trail is well marked and follows yellow diamond tree markers. The route explores through forest, over loose rock and along dry hillside ridges following a, mostly, narrow single track trail.
The route, although considered easy, should not be taken lightly because the route includes some elevation hiking and switchbacks. Foot work is also important on any hike so to avoid injuries. All hikers be aware of exposed tree roots and loose rocks. Ankle injuries are not fun.
When connecting with the Dove Hill Trail, the Elk Cutoff Trail is also part of a popular loop hiking route. When exploring the Elk Cutoff - Dove Hill Loop Trail hikers will bypass the Brilliant Terminal Station therefore allowing hikers to return to the same parking lot.
From the Elk Cutoff Trail the views of the valley include the Kootenay River, Highway 3a, the Bridge, Brilliant Dam, the airport and the community of Castlegar, BC. There is no water on this hike. Be well prepared with plenty of drinking water, a hat and good foot wear as the trail is exposed to direct sunlight.