To the north, beyond the city of Cranbrook, the Rocky Mountain Trench stretches for hundreds of kilometres. Cranbrook Mountain is the most northerly summit on a 10-km ridge that stretches north to south down the middle of the Rocky Mountain Trench.
The day hike up Cranbrook Mountain is also a very good snowshoe trip, as the trail is usually well-packed by snowshoe tracks. Trip time may be longer on snowshoes but you may be able to carry them for the first 4.5 km along a snowmobile-packed road.
The weather is often very windy on top; take enough layers, especially in winter, so you can rest comfortably and enjoy the view.
The hike is only one hour in the trees, which is good for a sunny winter day.
The rest of the year, hikers can ride their mountain bikes on the road for 4.1 km, from South Star Cross-country Ski Trails parking spot to the beginning of the steeper, forested hiking trail. Riding a bike greatly speeds the road portion at the beginning and end of this hike.
The approach to the trail is along a road that is closed to public vehicles, but you may encounter industrial vehicles, ATVs, dirt bikes or, in winter, snowmobiles. Stay on the main road for the first 3 km, ignoring several sidetracks.
Options at the summit
Turn right, heading northwest, and hike 100 m to a cairn that has a nice view of Cranbrook and the north end of Moyie Lake. Veer left heading due south and follow the height of land to a rocky outcrop in about 200 m.
From the rocky outcrop, continue due south for 3 km over a middle bump to what the topo map labels “Moyie Mountain.” (Locals refer to another mountain, with telecommunication towers on top, about 12 km farther south of this mountain as Moyie Mountain.) There is an intermittent trail, but some better-defined trails lead down into either Hogg or Prudhomme creek to the west or Joseph Creek to the east, so try to stay close to the height of land. A cairn on top of “Moyie Mountain” is a good place to turn around. Allow at least two hours return for this option. (Trail research by GW.)