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Akamina-Kishinena Provincial Park
About This Park
Akamina Kishinena Provincial Park is located in the southeast corner of the province. Along with Waterton Lakes National Park and US Glacier National Park, this wilderness area preserves the Crown of the Continent, the narrowest point of the Rocky Mountains.
High spacious alpine ridges, deep secluded valleys and windswept passes provide habitat and connectivity to the last self-sustaining grizzly bear population in the United States. Exposed alpine ridges, southern latitude and southern exposure provide winter range for goats and big horn sheep.
The trails and passes of the Akamina-Kishinena used today to cross the axis of the continent, were established and used for many years by the early people’s and wildlife travelling between the Flathead Basin and the abundant Great Plains.
Special Notes: National Topographical Series Maps 82G/1 and 82G/2 at a scale of 1:50,000 cover the park area including both accesses.
Know Before You Go
- Trail Report [PDF] (November 8, 2022)
- Persons visiting Akamina-Kishinena Park are reminded that the park is a wilderness area without supplies or equipment of any kind. All arrangements for supplies and transportation must be made in advance.
- All park visitors should wear strong, water-proofed, lug-soled boots and carry a day-pack with rain gear, extra warm clothing, and food. Weather conditions can change suddenly in this area, and lightning storms with hail and snow are common in summer. For overnight trips, a sleeping bag, ground pad, water-proof tent or bivouac bag and light-weight stove are essential. Only experienced climbers, practiced in crevasse rescue and properly roped, should venture onto snowfields.
- Bring your own drinking water, as potable water is not available in the park. To ensure that water from streams is safe to drink, it must be boiled for at least five minutes or treated/filtered.
- Loaded logging trucks and other industrial traffic may be encountered while accessing this park from British Columbia. Drive with extreme caution and for your safety always yield to industrial traffic.
- Public communications are not available at this park.
From Hwy 3 turn south at Pincher Creek onto Hwy 6. It is 48km to Waterton Lakes National Park. From the park gate access the Cameron Lake park road to reach the Akamina Pass trailhead (16 km). A 30 minute, 1.5 km uphill walk reaches the boundary between Alberta and BC and the eastern border of Akamina-Kishinena Provincial Park. The closest communities are Waterton Lakes National Park community and Sparwood.
Maps and Brochures
Nature and Culture
- History: This area is of great interest to geologists. The formations of the Akamina-Kishinena are made of the oldest exposed rock in the Canadian Rockies. The shore of Forum Lake is paved with colourful limestone estimated to be 1.3 billion years old. Remnants of oil rigs first hauled into camps on winter trails in 1905 are still visible. No economically significant wells were drilled nor did any of the mining claims staked in the 1950s and 1960s prove viable. Other resources were explored by trappers and hunters and a small saw mill operated at Akamina Creek. The spectacular southeast corner of the province was recommended for preservation as early as 1917. In 1995, Akamina-Kishinena became a class A provincial park.
- Cultural Heritage: Cairns trace the paths of the Ktunaxa aboriginal people who travelled through South Kootenay Pass to reach the plains for trading and buffalo hunting.
- Conservation: Weather fronts from the Pacific meet arctic and prairie influences to intermingle at this axis and create a diversity of plant species including rare species like the yellow monkey flower and pigmy poppy that are found nowhere else in BC.
Activities Available at this Park
Mountain biking is permitted on designated trails only. Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.
The park offers hiking opportunities for beginners as well as experienced backcountry travellers:
- Akamina Pass: This old road built in the 1920s transects the park from Akamina Pass through the Kishinena Creeks to eventually reach the Flathead River valley. Cyclists use this route for day excursions from Waterton Lakes.
- Forum Lake & Falls: From the Ranger Station, it is 200 m to the falls and 2 km to the lake. The hike to Forum Lake takes about 45 minutes with a climb of 200 m.
- Wall Lake: From the Akamina Road (200 m) from the Ranger Station it is 2 km to Wall Lake, 50 m elevation gain.
For your own safety and preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Shortcutting trails destroys plant life and soil structure. Only experienced hikers with orienteering experience should consider following routes and unmarked trails in the park.
- Trail Report [PDF] (November 8, 2022)
If planning to horseback ride in the park, we recommend you read the Akamina Kishinena Horse Use Policy [PDF]. As horseback riders are required to obtain and carry with them a letter of permission from BC Parks please use our online form to generate/print your letter of permission, no less than seven days before entering the park.
More specific information on using horses in the park can be obtained by contacting the Kootenay BC Parks office at 250 489-8540.
There is no horse use allowed to Forum Lake, and riders travelling to Wall Lake must use the horse trail.
Pets on Leash
Facilities Available at this Park
Fires in the developed area of the park are restricted to a communal fire ring in the Akamina Creek campground. Fires in the backcountry areas must be kept small, contained and a source of water to extinguish the fire must be readily available. Visitors must check with the Forest Service or at park trailheads to see if fires bans are in effect.
To preserve vegetation and ground cover, please don’t gather firewood from the area around your campsite when staying in the developed area of the park. Dead wood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals and it adds organic matter to the soil. You can conserve firewood and air quality by keeping your campfire small. Limited burning hours or campfire bans may be implemented. Be prepared by bringing a portable stove for cooking.
Pit or Flush Toilets
There is a backcountry campground with 10 wilderness sawdust tent pads, outhouse and food cache is provided at Akamina Creek. This campground is located just off the main trail 0.9 km from Akamina Pass and 2.4 km from the Akamina Pass Trailhead. Register a trip itinerary with friends; check in and check out. Winter camping is available year-round at Akamina Creek sites.
BC Parks Backcountry Registration System allows you to purchase a backcountry camping permit before leaving home. Although the system does not reserve a campsite, the system provides visitors the convenience of prepaying for their trip and not having to carry cash. We encourage all visitors to register online so we can reduce the need to collect fees in the field.