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Reviews > Books > Trail Guides > Where Locals Hike in the West Kootenay > Owner Review by Andrea Murland

Where Locals Hike in the West Kootenay
OWNER REVIEW by Andrea Murland
October 24, 2009

Tester Information

Name: Andrea Murland
Email: amurland AT shaw DOT ca
Age: 24
Location: Rossland, British Columbia, Canada
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
Weight: 125 lb (57 kg)

I began hiking frequently in 2006 and have since hiked in Western Canada, Australia, and spent 2 months backpacking in the Alps. I spend most weekends either day-hiking or on 2-3 day backpacking trips, with some longer trips when I can manage them. I also snowshoe and ski in the winter, but don’t have a lot of experience with winter in the backcountry yet. Elevation is typically 500-3,000 m (1,600-10,000 ft), in the Canadian Rockies, Selkirks, Purcells, and Monashees. I try for a light pack, but I don’t consider myself a lightweight backpacker.

Product Information
Title: Where Locals Hike in the West Kootenay, The Premier Trails in Southeast B.C. near Kaslo & Nelson
Authors: Kathy & Craig Copeland
Publisher:, inc.
Publisher's URL:
Published: May 2005
Edition: 2nd
ISBN: 0-9689419-9-0
MSRP: US $20
Measured Size: 21.5 cm x 14.1 cm x 1.3 cm (8.5 in x 5.6 in x 0.5 in)
Listed Weight: Not Available
Measured Weight: 390 g (13.8 oz)
Pages: 272

All photos used with the permission of the authors.

Product Description

“Where Locals Hike in the West Kootenay” is a full-colour hiking guide, one of a series written by Kathy and Craig Copeland. In addition to being the only guide I’ve found that focuses solely on the West Kootenays, it offers an opinionated view of the best hikes in the area, as well as a list of hikes to avoid. The book lists 50 dayhikes and backpacking trips in Southeastern British Columbia and Northern Washington and Idaho.

The key to the organization of the guidebook is that each hike has been given a trip number. With the exception of the index, any reference to a particular hike is given by its trip number rather than its page number.

The introduction to the book is extensive. It starts with general maps, showing the locations of parks, highways, lakes & rivers, and all of the hikes (the number of the hike marked on the map), with a listing of the hikes (and their numbers) that are on the map. Following the maps is a page called “Trips at a Glance”. This page lists every hike in the book, in order, giving the number of the hike, the name of the hike, the round trip distance of the hike, and the elevation gain. The trips are listed in roughly geographic order, from northwest to southeast. The shoulder-season hikes are separated at the end of the list. I've also made my own notes on this page, with information from the first edition of the book.

Trips at a Glance

Following “Trips at a Glance” is a series of sections about hikes to avoid, wildlife, weather, backcountry ethics, and trailhead access.

Each of the 50 hike descriptions follows the same format. At the beginning of the description is a box highlighting the facts about the hike. The boxes list:
Info Box
  • Location
  • Round trip distance
  • Elevation Gain
  • Key Elevations (trailheads, summits, etc.)
  • Hiking Time
  • Difficulty (easy, moderate, or challenging)
  • Access (easy, moderate, or difficult)
  • Maps (the Department of Energy, Mines, and Resources 1:50,000 topographic mapsheets which cover the hike)

  • Following the box is an “Opinion” section, which describes the hike, the scenery, the access road, and any other interesting things about the trail, such as local history. This is the “opinionated” part of the book. A “Fact” section follows, which gives the detailed descriptions for the hike. Vehicle directions to the trailhead are given from the nearest towns or very major landmarks (highway junctions, for example), and generally from all directions of approach. The directions are listed with distances, so unmarked turns can be identified by distance up a logging or mining road. The vehicle directions also give information about whether a high-clearance or 4-wheel drive vehicle will be required. The On Foot directions are given by making reference to major landmarks on the trail (creeks, saddles, ridges, etc.), distance up the trail, and often elevation. The trail descriptions usually give information about the steepness of the trail, the direction of travel, the type of forest (or features of the sub-alpine terrain), and what notable features are included in the view, such as peaks or lakes.

    The final section of the book gives information about preparing for hiking in the area: water quality, clothing, and food. A list of information sources is included, giving contact information for the forestry services, alpine clubs, and park services. Finally, the book includes an index, information about the authors, and a partial list of other books in the series.


    This book is my go-to book for weekend or day trips. I've hiked 12 of the 50 hikes, some of them more than once, and I’m already planning which ones are at the top of my list for next year. I love the “Trips at a Glance” page and the general area maps showing where the hikes are located. It’s easy to flip to those pages and pick a hike that’s the length I’m looking for, that’s in the area I’m going to, and that I haven’t done yet. I have found the opinions to be very accurate, and I have no hesitation in picking a hike based on the description of the scenery or trail to fit my mood (forest vs. sub-alpine terrain vs. lakeshore, etc.).

    I find the descriptions of the difficulty of the hike and access to be fairly accurate. The “Opinion” section of each description usually gives a good impression of the type of terrain, which combined with the difficulty gives a pretty accurate picture of what the hike will be like. I find that the hiking times tend to be over-estimated; I’m always at the lower end of the range, or faster. I’d rather plan for a longer hike than get caught out because it takes me longer than expected, though.

    The photos of the hikes are gorgeous. They are full-colour, and show beautiful scenery, wildlife, the authors swimming in freezing cold lakes, and huge trees. More than once I’ve picked a hike based solely on the pictures in the book. Sometimes I’ve wondered if the pictures have been fiddled with to make them look better, but my pictures seem to always look just as really is the scenery that’s amazing, not the photo editing.


    The accuracy of the vehicle and foot directions is very good. I haven’t gotten lost yet! Most changes are the type that one has to expect a few years after a guidebook is published: roads have been paved, others have fallen further into disrepair, and the odd trail or access road has been covered by avalanche debris or landslide.

    I usually carry a photocopy of the trail description when I’m hiking so that I don’t have to carry the whole book, but the book is small enough that I have carried it and haven’t found it to be a major inconvenience, especially on a dayhike when my pack is light anyway.

    One thing that I don’t like about this guidebook is the lack of maps. There are no maps that are detailed enough to be of any use once you’re actually on the trail or on the final approach on old logging or mining roads. Having said that, the trail descriptions are detailed enough that if I’m staying on-trail I don’t really need a map, and if I’m planning on scrambling off-trail having a topographic map separate from the guidebook is a good idea.

    What I like most about this book is that it’s not just another hiking book, filled with trail descriptions that are strictly factual and all the same. I find it to actually be quite entertaining, and I’ve been known to grab this book for a quick read even when I’m not planning a hike.


    “Where Locals Hike in the West Kootenay” is an entertaining, accurate hiking guidebook that is well-organized, easy to use for hike selection, and almost never in my bookshelf between May and November because I refer to it so much.

    Full-colour photos
    Entertaining opinion sections
    Detailed trailhead access descriptions

    No detailed trail maps

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    Reviews > Books > Trail Guides > Where Locals Hike in the West Kootenay > Owner Review by Andrea Murland

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