One Photo, One Story: Backpacking the Rockwall Trail, Kootenay National Park

By Michael Lanza

One the second afternoon of my family’s four-day backpacking trip on the 34-mile (54k) Rockwall Trail in Kootenay National Park, we reached the first of three passes we would cross over the course of the trip—and the first of two that day. At 7,264-foot (2,214m) Rockwall Pass, we got our first long view of the Rockwall, a chain of soaring cliffs, jagged peaks, and hanging glaciers that extends for miles, and which we would walk beneath for most of our trek. I snapped this photo of my 14-year-old son, Nate, as we started descending south off of Rockwall Pass.

I’ve loved the Canadian Rockies since my first visit more than 20 years ago, but had not yet backpacked the Rockwall Trail, arguably one of the world’s classic treks. Somewhat misleadingly named, the Rockwall Trail is really a route that links several trails in Kootenay. The full, 34-mile (54k), point-to-point hike (which my family did) goes from Paint Pots parking area on Highway 93 to the Floe Lake parking area, eight miles (13k) farther south on Highway 93. You can hike it in either direction, and there are connecting trails that allow for shorter trips on sections of the Rockwall.

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I’ll post a feature-length story about that trip, with many photos and a video, later at The Big Outside. Meanwhile, see a menu of all of my stories about family backpacking trips, all family adventures, and all national park adventures at The Big Outside.

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