Yellow Pine Trail – Syringa Provincial Park

Yellow Pine Trail – Syringa Provincial Park

If you go camping in Syringa Provincial Park, there is a short, easy path called the Yellow Pine trail that starts from the campsite, leading you up to some viewpoints above Lower Arrow Lake. It is a pleasant way to start the day, or it would work well as a sunset hike.

The forests in this area are particularly special because they contain a diverse range of plant and animal species that are adapted to the hot, dry climate of the West Kootenay region. This includes interior douglas-fir trees which grow very tall with hefty tree-trunks. The forest has a sweet, pine-y smell which is just lovely.

Yellow Pine Trail Map

This map shows the full route. We did a shorter version with a loop back along the lake shore.

Yellow Pine Trail Map The basics

Distance: 7.6km for the whole route. We did a smaller loop to the viewpoints that was 4km.
Cumulative Elevation Gain:
160m to the viewpoints, 400m for the whole route.
Time: 1-2 hours (1 hour just to the viewpoint)
What to bring: The 10 essentials
Facilities: Loos, showers, benches and a playground at the campground
Dogs: Dog friendly on a leash.
How hard is it? Pretty easy. There is some elevation gain, but there are switchbacks and a clear route.
Extra notes: Watch out for poison ivy. Don’t touch it (photo below)

Yellow Pine Trail – Getting Started

There are three trailheads for this hike, all in Syringa Provincial Park. We were staying at the Bighorn campground, so we just started from our tent and entered from the west. You could also start from:

  1. East trailhead – by Sturgeon Point day use area.
  2. Middle trailhead – by the road from the main campground entrance.
  3. West trailhead – next to the Bighorn campground day use area.

Gorgeous grasses and poison ivy

The lower part of the trail is beautiful early in the morning when the sun shines through all the flowers and grasses alongside the trail. However, you need to keep your eyes peeled for poison ivy. This is a 3-leaved plant (photo above) that lines some parts of the trail. If you brush up against it, you’ll  get a rash.  As the saying goes, “leaves of three, let it be.”

The switchbacks are pretty steep, so you’ll be puffing along for the first 1km. After that, the trail levels off and gives you views over the trees down to the bright blue Lower Arrow Lake.

Yellow Pine Viewpoints

There are two viewpoints along this side of the trail. The first is on a rocky bluff with a bench positioned to allow you to peek through the trees down to the lake.

The second viewpoint is about 30m higher. It is a little more open, so you can get an idea about how long the lake is. The Arrow Lakes stretch all the way up to Revelstoke, 230km north of here!

Make the trail a loop

We wanted to do several other hikes on this day, so rather than continuing on to Sturgeon Point; We hiked straight down the Syringa trail from the viewpoint, crossed Broadwater road at the middle trailhead and made a loop back along the beach. You can see parking for the middle trailhead below (the campground is through the yellow gate.)

There is an easy to follow, pleasant trail back along the beach to Bighorn Campground.

Bighorn Beach day use area

In between the two campgrounds there is a pretty picnic area by Bighorn beach. The facilities here include flush toilets, showers and running water.

Other hikes and highlights near Castlegar

If you are in the area, I strongly recommend staying at Syringa Provincial Park. There are some fantastic waterfalls nearby. We visited Tulip Creek Falls, but it looks like there are a couple more waterfalls further along the road; Little Cayuse Creek Falls (with a natural waterslide!) and Deer Creek Falls. We also enjoyed the Brilliant Overlook near Castlegar.

If you fancy a quick hike in Syringa Provincial Park that finishes with pretty views, the Yellow Pine trail is a great option. Click on the pin below to save this for later.

14 thoughts on “Yellow Pine Trail – Syringa Provincial Park

    1. Thaaaank you! Yeah, I’ll post more about that waterfall next. It was impressive for so little effort!

    1. Yes, this one is totally doable for hiking newbies! There weren’t many people doing it (apart from us and a few relaxed dog walkers…) but it was nice and easy.

  1. I would love to go hiking in Syringa Provincial Park. Yellow Pine trail offers lots of variety and scenic views…and love challenging switchbacks.

    1. Those switchbacks were pretty short though! If you come here, I’d encourage you to do some of the other harder hikes near here – there is one to “brilliant overlook” that I think you’d love.

  2. When you hiked the trail as a loop, how long was it? I feel like trails like these might be really good for me since I just went through 3 foot surgeries. Trying to find similar trails like this that I can do in FL ☺️

    1. It was less than an hour for the whole walk, so not too long at all. We are quite fast hikers, but even if you took it slowly it would be less than 2 hours.

      Poor you with your foot! I hope you feel better soon. Are you cycling at the moment to avoid putting weight on it?

    1. Thanks Alisha! Oooh yes! I’d love to see it with the sunset! (We were just too busy eating at sunset when we stayed in Syringa!)

  3. That looks like a nice day hike! Would love to combine it with a visit to Bighorn Beach. Can you get in the water (when the weather is good of course)?

    1. YES! We didn’t end up swimming in Lower Arrow Lake but I really should have! It seemed like it would be great for swimming and boating. You would looove some of the giant lakes in Canada!

  4. I love your descriptions, I can smell the pine and feel the breeze! Good idea to give a heads up about the poison ivy and especially a picture – no matter how many times I google how to identify poison ivy it never seems to stick in my brain lol, it’s like it always looks different to me depending on the location/season. Good idea to post the parking photo too – when I’m researching a trail, those are the photos I hope to see for planning purposes! But most people usually don’t include the logistical things.

    Syringa Provincial Park looks beautiful, seems like you can make a whole trip out of it and spend a few days!

    1. Lol I am glad you mentioned that! I am always terrible at spotting poison ivy too, so I really appreciate when there are signs on trails (this one did have a sign!)

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