Visiting the Renata Arch is the perfect adventure because it is so much more than just a hike. For starters, the trailhead is only accessible after paddling across Arrow Lake. Furthermore, the whole area is quite remote, down a forestry service road.

There is some interesting history that goes along with this geological wonder. In the early 1900s, during the creation of the Columbia & Western Railway, a mining settlement called Brooklyn was established along the Columbia River near Castlegar, BC. Immigrants from New York gazed up at the nearby arch and nicknamed it Brooklyn Bridge. Flooding of the river to form the Arrow Lakes reservoir flooded most of the old townsite but the arch stands through the ages.

Exploring the Arch

Directions to Trailhead:

Deer Park (45mins west of Castlegar) is the most logical spot to park and launch watercraft. There is parking available for a few vehicles and a sandy public beach to launch boats. The lake is just over 2km wide at this point and a kayak/canoe paddle takes around an hour (more depending on condition of waves/wind). The round trip hike takes at least 2 hours depending on time spent at the arch and the elevation gain is around 250m.

Given the complex logistics involved with organizing hiking and paddling, it’s best to budget a whole day for this adventure. If any time remains and it is a hot day, the route to Deer Park passes by another geological wonder that’s fun for the whole family – Cayuse Canyon rock waterslide.

Transitioning from paddle to hike

The most shocking discovery during our visit to the arch was that it was possible to ‘walk across the bridge’. After passing under the arch, follow the rough trails that lead up to the right and there are some ropes available to assist climbing up to the arch. It goes without saying that attempting this is exhilarating partly because it is also very dangerous. Only proceed onto the arch with extreme caution.

The ultimate thrill – crossing the Brooklyn Bridge