The Rockwall Trail – Tumbling Creek to Numa Creek

The Rockwall Trail – Tumbling Creek to Numa Creek

Ready for more of the fabulous Rockwall Trail!? This is the third section of our hike, from Tumbling Creek to Numa Creek. The trail ascends to tumbling pass with some of the best glacier views along the Rockwall. After that there is a hefty descent (with more gorgeous views) and a couple of creek crossings before you make it to Numa Creek Backcountry Campground. Just like the previous two sections; This hike is incredible.

Tumbling Creek to Numa Creek map

This is the map to Numa Creek – See the whole route here. Or, my strava recording map here.

Tumbling Creek to Numa Creek – the basics

Distance: 7.8 km
Cumulative Elevation gain: 380m
Cumulative Elevation loss: -730m
Highest Point: 2233m at Tumbling Pass
Time: 3-4 hours
What to bring: The 10 Essentials, bear spray (have it handy), gaiters were helpful.
Facilities: There are outhouses at Tumbling Creek and Numa Creek Campgrounds. Bring your own loo roll or a kula cloth.
Dogs: Dogs are allowed on this trail if they are on a leash.
How hard is it? If you only do this section of the trail it’ll be a moderately challenging but fun day. If you go further, from Hemet Falls to Numa Creek (like we did), or Tumbling Creek to Floe Lake, it will be an exhausting (but still fun) day.

Tumbling Creek to Numa Creek – Getting Started

The start of our adventure on the Rockwall trail was the Paint Pots in Kootenay National Park. We spent a day and a half hiking before we reached Tumbling Creek. You can read about the trail to Helmet Creek here and then about Rockwall Pass here. From Tumbling Creek, head to the north side of the campground to cross the creek and pick up the trail.

One of the unexpectedly cool things about the Rockwall trail is just how many amazing sights there are along the way. The bridge over Tumbling Creek allows you to look down into a canyon full of silt-filled waters. I hadn’t seen any mention of this canyon in trail reports. The trail is so choc-full of beauty it’s easy to miss things.

Climb to Tumbling Pass

Once you leave Tumbling Creek, you ascend just over 350m to reach the next high point at Tumbling Pass. The trail climbs pretty quickly, but you can look up to Mount Gray if you need a breathing break.

There are plenty of switch-backs but I still found this part hard. We hiked in the afternoon so we were sweaty and hot by the time we were high enough to catch the breeze off the glaciers.

BUT it was pretty cool to look back and see how far we’d come in a single day. You can see Mount Drysdale and the Rockwall off in the distance.

I was surprised by how fast we made it up the switchbacks. The trail is lined with larches and the views of Tumbling Creek are magnificent.

Tumbling Pass

Not too shabby eh? Tumbling Peak is to the left and Mount Gray to the right.

We stopped here for a break. I could stare at the Tumbling Glacier for hours!

Descend to Numa Creek

The next part of the trail is a knee-knackering 730m descent to Numa Creek. The first part is looovely. You hike through soggy alpine meadows below Tumbling Peak. The smooth rocks on this side of Tumbling Creek are really cool.

I kept looking back to Mount Gray and Mount Drysdale to say goodbye before we dropped into the valley.

There are three parts to the descent to Numa Creek:
1. Easy switchbacks through the trees.
2. Watch your feet on steep, rocky scree (the trail may have partly washed out.)
3. Super tall plants (shout “hey bear” at regular intervals as you can’t see ahead.)

The views down towards Numa Creek are gorgeous! I had not really expected this section of the trail to be impressive so it was a lovely surprise to see the giant cliffs and bright green mountains. I was pretty exhausted by this point, so happy for energy-boosting beauty.

Creek Crossings

There are a couple of creek crossings half way down to Numa Creek. Lisa saw some hikers attempting to hike over a snow bridge (below left) rather than stepping into the cold water. Please do not attempt that! Snow bridges are really dangerous in the summertime as they can collapse at any moment.

We just hiked up a little until we found a safe-ish place to cross each of the creeks. If you feel unstable, use hiking poles to steady yourself.

The last few kilometers down to the campground were very overgrown. So much so that you can’t see over the plants. This was all a bit of a blur as I was hungry, tired and ready to crawl into my tent! We were so, sooo happy to have made it to Numa Creek!

Numa Creek Campground

There are 18 tent pads, a couple of loos (one each side of the creek.) The benches and food cache were on one side of the creek, with the sleeping zone on the other side.

I heard some other hikers complain that Numa Creek Campground was messy and overgrown. I loved how wild it felt. There were wild flowers lining each tent pad. There were also plenty of fallen logs to sit on.

Panoramas between Tumbling Creek and Numa Creek

Tumbling pass was spectacular, but so was the rest of the trail…

Read about the first section from Paint Pots to Helmet Falls here. And the second part from Helmet Falls to Tumbling Creek here.

The entire trail from Tumbling Creek to Numa Creek was fabulous. Tumbling Pass was one of the highlights of the Rockwall trail. It was a tough (especially as we hiked the Rockwall Pass from Helmet Falls on the same day.) What do you think? Do you fancy venturing to reach these fabulous passes in the Canadian Rockies? Click on the pins below to save this for later.

Tumbling Creek to Numa Creek along the Rockwall Trail Tumbling Pass on the Rockwall trail to Numa Creek

37 thoughts on “The Rockwall Trail – Tumbling Creek to Numa Creek

  1. I am loving your Rockwall Trail series. And your hiking guide from Tumbling Creek to Numa Creek is so helpful. I would love to explore this beautiful and rugged area.

  2. Such a beautiful trail with a great view of the Tumbling Glacier! It seems like a tough hike but also one that it worth challenging myself.

    1. Yees it was a challenging route (I was so worried about this day when we were preparing for the hike) but I guess it’s good to attempt hard things. 😀

  3. Ahh, I’m so behind on your posts! Hoping to catch up at some point, but this hike looks awesome! Definitely saving it to my “someday” list. 😀

    Loving all the blues + greens and those views are incredible. <3 Good tip on shouting periodically about the bears too!

    1. Thanks Tam!

      Yeah, I loved that campground. It was in the trees, so you can’t quite tell how epic the location is until early morning when the mountains shine like gold and you can see them tower above the forest!

  4. I bet those larches make this trail EXTRA beautiful in fall! Not gonna lie, I despise switchbacks… so I understand how your blood was pumping after all that. What a gorgeous trail and campsite though!

    1. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with them. When they are missing, I hate going straight up steep slopes even more than switchbacks! 🤣

  5. Yay, the final descent! Though I totally hear you about being hard on the knees. But wow, I’d make my knees go through that to get this beautiful experience!

  6. What a stunning looking hike. I love the 8 kms hikes, 3-4 hour hikes, that’s enough for me in one day. Especially as I’d be stopping every 5 minutes to take a photo.

    1. Yeah, it is a great length if you can get the campsites! We linked it with a longer section…so it was pretty tiring, but still totally worth it!

  7. You find THE MOST beautiful hikes, seriously! I could also stare at Tumbling Glacier for hours…though until I get there, your post will just have to do!

  8. Always come back to your blog, to discover new hikes! The view from this hike looks amazing!!!! I can’t imagine how much better it looks in real life,

  9. Your pictures are beautiful. It’s always fabulous to have clear skies to better appreciate the views, especially in the mountains. This looks like such an amazing trail. The creek crossings sound a bit sketchy though.

    1. Thaaank you! Yeah this part of the Rockies is just fabulous. The creek crossings did not seem too bad (but maybe that was because we got so used to creek crossings last year!?)

  10. I agree with you about the Tumbling glacier – coming from the other side it revealed itself slowly so it was quite the spectacle when we saw all of it. I walked up onto the moraine next to the trail (much harder than it first looked!) to get a better view.

    Those look like new loos! We found that campground to be kinda meh but that could’ve been due to it being a dull, smoky day in September. By comparison, it looks much more welcoming on a sunny day in July!

    1. Oooh interesting. I guess the weather when you visit a campground can completely alter how you remember it!? I thought that was one of the nicest campgrounds along the route (maybe beaten by the incredible Floe Lake…) But, that was partly because we saw it in glorious sunshine with the mountains towering above!

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