Joachim Valley Trail to Hanington Hut

With a backyard fit for adventure, Hinton boasts beautiful trails for hikers of every level, and the perfect path for any occasion. For those days when you just want to get outside for a low-key, rewarding romp in the woods, whatever the season, the Joachim Valley Trail delivers. 

Located about 30 minutes from Hinton in William A. Switzer Provincial Park, this wide, well-used, 8 kilometre out-and-back trail will take you to the site of an abandoned airplane and a log cabin that makes for one of the most beautiful picnic spots in the area, guaranteed. 

The Joachim Valley Trail begins at the Jarvis Lake Campground and features little elevation change, making it a great option for families with young kids or those looking for a more relaxed adventure. Make your way on foot or by bike (even a cruiser can tackle this trail!) through meadows bursting with wildflowers in the spring and summer, and forests with golden leaves in the fall. This trail is equally charming in the winter when it becomes a popular cross-country ski route with views of the snow-capped peaks surrounding the valley.

On the trail, you will pass a historical Métis gravesite. These burial grounds include wooden A-frame structures often referred to as “spirit houses,” which were meant to protect the remains of loved ones and items that they might require after they passed on. 

After hiking for about 3.5 kilometres, take a short detour off the trail to find the remnants of an old plane. Take a peek inside, snap a few photos and check out the signatures engraved in the side before heading back to the trail and walking a few hundred meters to your final destination: Hanington Hut.

Hanington Hut is a four-season log cabin style shelter open year-round for public use, and you’ll have your choice of places to put your pack down and have a rest. Build a campfire in the fire pit outside the cabin, or head inside to find a wood stove to keep you cozy, and a table and benches that beg for a meal and great conversation with friends. Pack in a lunch from your favourite Hinton restaurant, brown bag it, or, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, pick up a stove and a backcountry meal from one of the outdoor outfitters in town.

Could the view from Hanington Hut be any more stunning? As you fuel up, take in the sights of the valley stretching out in front of you and the mountain vistas in the distance. We don’t blame you if you don’t want to leave. Spend the afternoon watching for wildlife, catching up with friends or enjoying some peace and quiet before heading back the way you came.

Before you go:

  • This hike takes place within William A. Switzer Provincial Park. Be sure to follow the rules of the park
  • Always tell someone where you are headed, how long you will be gone and what time you will return
  • Be bear aware: carry bear spray and make lots of noise. You are in bear country!
  • Practice Leave No Trace: pack out what you pack in, and leave nothing behind
Author: explorehinton

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