The Mount Broadwood Heritage Conservation Area/Wigwam Flats is a great mountain biking area or an easy place to walk on reasonably level terrain. Many kilometres of roads lace the low hills across Wigwam Flats. The ride is located on a plateau above the confluence of the ruggedly sculpted canyons of the Wigwam River and the Elk River. Mount Broadwood, 2440 m (8,000 ft.), rises in a massive rocky dome to the northeast.
Across the Wigwam River canyon there is an erosion-formed slide-wall of multicoloured rocks and scree in muted tints of beige, peach, purple and rust, which some call the China Wall. Tentative hoodoos stand in fragile pinnacles beside the river. In June white saskatoon bushes are in full bloom along the canyon rim. In summer, the hot sun is intense on these arid lowland flats. In September the cottonwood and aspen trees brighten the countryside with a cheerful vibrant yellow. The Elko Sawmill is loud on weekdays, so you may wish to plan a weekend hike.
Stay to the established trails to avoid crushing the prairie grasses. Wildlife depend on these healthy grasses for their survival.
Cyclists can enjoy the area year round, but motorized vehicles share the roadways during summer only.
The hike at Wigwam Flats–Mount Broadwood is in a wildlife management access area and the roads are closed most of the year except for limited openings in summer. Please obey the signage (see the introduction for more on wildlife management access areas).
Silver Spring rim overlook trail
A trail hugs the cliff edges above the Silver Spring Lakes.
Silver Spring Lakes
The three, clear, scenic and deep Silver Spring Lakes lie just north of Wigwam Flats, in the shadow of Mount Broadwood.
Sheep Mountain, an old forestry lookout across the Elk River, offers a panoramic view of the Wigwam Flats–Mount Broadwood area and the Elk and Wigwam rivers.
Rating: easy mountain biking/easy hiking
Time: day bike ride or hike
Distance: 6.9 km to viewpoint at confluence; 8.5 km to canyon rim above Wigwam River
Elevation gain: 128 m (420 ft.), several ascents and descents
Wigwam River Canyon Rim: 1000 m (3,280 ft.)
High point: 1070 m (3,500 ft.)
Trail: open roads, gentle hills; sections of loose rock; ride on plateau above Elk and Wigwam river canyons
Maps: 82G/6 Elko; 82G/6 Flathead Ridge; 82G/3 Lake Koocanusa (NAD27)