A fantastic and not popular enough cycling route from Grand Forks to Castlegar following the old rail line of the same name. There are some sections of the trail that rival the Myra-Bellevue area of the KVR. Speaking of the that trail, where the KVR ends in Grand Forks, the C&W rail trail begins.
There isn’t much to write home about the beginning of the trail but not long into the ride is the Cascade bridge – a beautiful wood trestle bridge over the Kettle Valley river. The trail ascends from there until it runs along a ridge overlooking Christina Lake (wonderful views).
After Christina Lake, the next important milestone is Paulson Bridge. Driving over Paulson in a vehicle is lousy. There is a split second where you get a glimpse of the bridge but then it is underneath and blocked from view. The C&W rail trail passes far under the bridge and you can take your time, slow the peddling and experience the structure’s full majesty.
There is some serious climbing up next but at the top there is the great reward of Bulldog Tunnel. Kudos to the workers who blasted a hole to make this monster. Bulldog is just shy of a full kilometre long. With a curve at one end, it is completely dark inside. Bulldog makes the whole trail worthwhile.
From Bulldog Tunnel to Castlegar it is a gentle decent over more trestle bridges and some smaller tunnels, following the south side of the Colombia River. The trail ends several kilometres before Castlegar but there are quiet back-roads to complete the distance.
Cycling still not out of the system? It’s just a hop over to the Slocan Rail Trail for some more action.