Trail (population 7,700 in 2016) is a city in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada. It was named for the Dewdney Trail, which connects the area to the Lower Mainland. The town was first call Trail Creek or Trail Creek Landing, and the name was shortened to Trail in 1897.
At Trail, the Columbia River valley lies between the Monashee Mountains to the west and the Selkirk Mountains to the east. The Columbia flows southward to the Canada–United States border at Waneta. The Monashee Mountains are the first major range east of the Coastal Mountains, and this section of the #3 Crowsnest Highway has significant winter snowfall.
The town has been the site of a smelting operation since the 1890s, smelting copper ore and lead ores found in the region. It took advantage of the area’s coal and new hydro power energy. In 1902, Trail opened the first commercial electrolytic refining process in the world, producing pure lead, pure copper, fine silver and gold. By the end of World War I, the smoke pollution had devastated the surrounding district. From 1943 to 1956, and as part of the Manhattan Project, Cominco built and operated a 1000 to 1200 pound per month (capacity) electrolytic heavy water plant at Trail. In 1975, the soils in parts of Trail were found to be contaminated with lead and certain other heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, zinc) to levels above regulatory limits.
Teck Resources (formerly Cominco) is the region’s largest employer with approximately 1,800 people.
Teck Cominco Interpretive Centre
#201-1199 Bay Avenue, above the TD Bank in downtown Trail,
open 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.
Call the Trail Chamber of Commerce at 250 368-3144 to book a tour.
Tours summers Mon-Fri from 10 am, shoulder season (September to May) by appointment
Trail is home to the largest non-ferrous lead and zinc smelter in the world, and visitors can learn more about the areas largest employer by taking the 2-1/2-hour industrial tour of the Teck (Cominco) smelter Learn about the plants’ operations in the mini-science centre, which has hands-on exhibits for the whole family, video presentations, and other displays showcasing sophisticated environmental monitoring systems Teck has installed in the Trail area. Other presentations illustrate the history of Cominco’s Trail smelting operations and provide information on career opportunities in the industry.
Stroll along the Esplanade to take in the breathtaking view, or to fish off the pier. View our Tourism map for location details.
incrEDIBLE Trail Market
incrEDIBLE Trail’s Farmers’ Market that occurs every second Saturday downtown Trail from April to October
Columbia River Skywalk
The Columbia River Skywalk spans the Columbia River from Rotary Park in West Trail to McQuarrie Street in East Trail. This bridge is one of the longest bridges of its kind in North America and offers stunning views of the river and our city. Loop in Victoria Street Bridge for a nice 2 km walk or cycle. View our Tourism map for location details.
Visitors can get a taste of life in Little Italy by taking a walking tour of Trail’s historic rock walls built to support European-style streets and varied neighbourhoods in our beautiful city. Take the Rigatoni Ramble or the Haggis Hike and come face to face with the hundreds of rock walls, some 25 feet high, much of them carved by hand.
Columbia Gardens Winery
9340 Station Road, Trail, BC
Tuesday to Sunday: 11am – 4pm
The Burl tasting room and gift shop provides a nice and homey atmosphere where all of the wines that are produced by Columbia Gardens Winery can be sampled and tasted free of charge. You will also find all our wines for sale in addition to a large variety of thoughtful gifts for purchase.