Boundary Trail In Washington

Here is everything you need to know about the Boundary Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Washington
  • Length: 57 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: dirt
  • Managed By: National Park Service
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website:

The Boundary Trail, located in the Pacific Northwest region of North America, holds a significant historical background. The trail follows the international boundary between the United States and Canada, stretching approximately 120 miles from the Cascade Mountains in Washington State to the Selkirk Mountains in British Columbia. The origins of the Boundary Trail can be traced back to the late 19th century when the United States and Canada sought to establish a clear demarcation line between their territories.

In 1846, the Oregon Treaty was signed between the United States and Britain, which set the boundary between the two nations at the 49th parallel. However, the exact location of the boundary was not precisely defined, leading to disputes and conflicts over land ownership. To resolve these issues, the International Boundary Commission was established in 1908, tasked with surveying and marking the boundary line. The creation of the Boundary Trail was part of this effort to establish a visible and accessible boundary.

Construction of the Boundary Trail began in the early 20th century, with the goal of providing a clear path along the international boundary. The trail was primarily used by surveyors, border patrol agents, and local residents for navigation and monitoring purposes. It played a crucial role in preventing smuggling, illegal immigration, and other cross-border activities. Over the years, the trail has undergone various improvements and modifications to ensure its functionality and accessibility.

Today, the Boundary Trail serves as a historical reminder of the efforts made by the United States and Canada to establish and maintain their international boundary. It also offers outdoor enthusiasts the opportunity to explore the stunning landscapes and diverse ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest while following in the footsteps of those who worked to define this significant border.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Boundary Trailhead – This is the main access point for the Boundary Trail and is located near the town of Oroville, Washington.

2. Hopkins Lake Trailhead – Located near the Hopkins Lake, this trailhead provides access to the Boundary Trail.

3. Tiffany Springs Campground – This campground serves as a trailhead for the Boundary Trail and is located near Tiffany Springs in Washington.

4. Pasayten Airstrip – This airstrip serves as an access point for hikers and backpackers looking to explore the Boundary Trail.

5. Iron Gate Trailhead – Located near the Iron Gate Trail, this trailhead provides access to the Boundary Trail.

6. Horseshoe Basin Trailhead – This trailhead is located near Horseshoe Basin and provides access to the Boundary Trail.

7. Cathedral Lakes Trailhead – Located near Cathedral Lakes, this trailhead serves as an access point for the Boundary Trail.

8. Robinson Creek Trailhead – This trailhead is located near Robinson Creek and provides access to the Boundary Trail.

9. Thirtymile Trailhead – Located near Thirtymile Creek, this trailhead serves as an access point for the Boundary Trail.

10. Lost River Trailhead – This trailhead is located near Lost River and provides access to the Boundary Trail.

Transportation Available

1. Boundary Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service providing convenient transportation to and from various points along the Boundary Trail.
2. Boundary Trail Taxi – Taxi service offering reliable transportation options for individuals or groups along the Boundary Trail.
3. Boundary Trail Bike Rentals – Bike rental service allowing visitors to explore the Boundary Trail on two wheels.
4. Boundary Trail Bus – Bus service providing scheduled transportation along the Boundary Trail for easy access to different trail sections.
5. Boundary Trail Car Rentals – Car rental service offering vehicles for independent exploration of the Boundary Trail and surrounding areas.
6. Boundary Trail Horseback Riding Tours – Guided horseback riding tours providing a unique way to experience the Boundary Trail and its scenic beauty.
7. Boundary Trail Helicopter Tours – Helicopter tours offering breathtaking aerial views of the Boundary Trail and its surroundings.
8. Boundary Trail RV Rentals – RV rental service allowing travelers to enjoy the Boundary Trail while having a comfortable mobile accommodation.
9. Boundary Trail Water Taxi – Water taxi service providing transportation across bodies of water along the Boundary Trail for hikers and adventurers.
10. Boundary Trail Limousine Service – Luxury limousine service offering a stylish and comfortable way to travel along the Boundary Trail.


The Boundary Trail offers several amenities for visitors. Some of the amenities available at the Boundary Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at designated areas along the trail for visitors’ convenience.

2. Parking: There are parking lots or designated parking areas available for visitors to park their vehicles while accessing the trail.

3. Camping Sites: The Boundary Trail may have designated camping sites or camping areas nearby where visitors can set up their tents or campers for overnight stays.

4. Picnic Areas: There may be designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can enjoy outdoor meals and relax amidst the natural surroundings.

5. Trailhead Facilities: At the trailhead, there might be additional amenities such as information boards, maps, and visitor centers providing information about the trail and its surroundings.

6. Interpretive Signage: Along the trail, there may be interpretive signage or educational displays providing information about the local flora, fauna, and historical significance of the area.

7. Benches and Rest Stops: There might be benches or rest stops along the trail where visitors can take a break, rest, and enjoy the scenic views.

8. Water Stations: Some sections of the Boundary Trail may have water stations or drinking fountains where visitors can refill their water bottles.

9. Accessibility Features: Depending on the trail’s accessibility, there may be amenities such as wheelchair-accessible paths, ramps, or facilities to accommodate visitors with disabilities.

It is important to note that the availability of these amenities may vary depending on the specific section or location of the Boundary Trail. It is recommended to check with local authorities or trail management organizations for the most up-to-date information on amenities and facilities along the trail.

Nearby Services

1. Boundary Bay Regional Park – A beautiful park with camping facilities and picnic areas.
2. Tsawwassen Mills – A large shopping mall with various food options and amenities.
3. Delta Hospital – A nearby hospital providing emergency medical services.
4. Coast Tsawwassen Inn – A comfortable hotel offering lodging services.
5. Tsawwassen Springs Golf Course – A golf course with a restaurant and bar.
6. Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal – A major transportation hub with food services and emergency facilities.
7. Tsawwassen Commons – A shopping center with multiple dining options.
8. Tsawwassen Mills Outlet Mall – A shopping destination with various food choices.
9. Tsawwassen Quay Market – A market with food vendors and emergency services.
10. Tsawwassen Springs Fitness Centre – A fitness center with a café.

Boundary Trail Difficulty Notes

The Boundary Trail is known for its challenging difficulty level, making it a thrilling adventure for experienced hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Spanning over 80 miles through the rugged and remote wilderness of Washington State, this trail presents various obstacles and demanding terrains. Hikers will encounter steep ascents and descents, rocky sections, and potentially hazardous river crossings. The trail’s remote location and limited access points also add to the difficulty, requiring careful planning and self-sufficiency. However, those who are up for the challenge will be rewarded with breathtaking views, pristine wilderness, and a sense of accomplishment that comes with conquering this demanding trail.

Features And Attractions

The Boundary Trail is a long-distance hiking trail that spans approximately 120 miles (193 kilometers) along the border between the United States and Canada. It passes through diverse landscapes, offering a variety of scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks. Here are some notable points of interest along the Boundary Trail:

1. Boundary Dam: Located near Metaline Falls, Washington, this hydroelectric dam offers beautiful views of the Pend Oreille River and surrounding mountains.

2. Rossland Range: This mountain range in British Columbia provides stunning panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and peaks.

3. Gladstone Provincial Park: Situated in British Columbia, this park features pristine lakes, old-growth forests, and opportunities for wildlife viewing.

4. Grand Forks: A historic town in British Columbia, known for its heritage buildings and charming downtown area.

5. Christina Lake: A picturesque lake located in British Columbia, offering opportunities for swimming, boating, and fishing.

6. Boundary Falls: A scenic waterfall located near Greenwood, British Columbia, with a historic bridge and picnic area.

7. Kettle River Recreation Area: This area in Washington offers opportunities for hiking, camping, and river activities along the Kettle River.

8. Midway: A small town in British Columbia with a rich history and well-preserved heritage buildings.

9. Boundary Bay: Located near Vancouver, British Columbia, this bay is a significant stopover for migratory birds and offers beautiful coastal views.

10. Manning Provincial Park: Situated in British Columbia, this park is known for its diverse ecosystems, alpine meadows, and stunning mountain vistas.

11. Boundary Lake: A serene lake located in Washington, offering opportunities for fishing, boating, and camping.

12. Boundary Pass: This strait separates the Gulf Islands of British Columbia from the San Juan Islands of Washington, providing scenic views and opportunities for whale watching.

These are just a few examples of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks along the Boundary Trail. Exploring this trail will offer a deeper appreciation for the beauty and history of the border region between the United States and Canada.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
3. Respect seasonal restrictions and closures.
4. No camping or fires along the trail.
5. Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
6. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
7. Do not disturb or harm wildlife or vegetation.
8. Pack out all trash and leave no trace.
9. Respect other trail users and yield to hikers and equestrians.
10. Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at trailheads or along the trail.

Seasonal Information

The Boundary Trail, located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest region of the United States, offers a stunning outdoor experience for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The best times of the year to visit the trail largely depend on personal preferences and the activities you wish to engage in. However, the summer months of June through September are generally considered the prime season for hiking the Boundary Trail. During this time, the weather is typically mild, with warm temperatures and minimal rainfall, allowing for comfortable and enjoyable hiking conditions.

In terms of natural beauty, the Boundary Trail truly shines during the fall season. From late September to early November, the trail is adorned with vibrant autumn colors as the leaves change, creating a picturesque landscape. This time of year is perfect for photographers and those seeking a more serene and peaceful hiking experience. However, it’s important to note that the weather can be unpredictable during the fall, with occasional rain showers and cooler temperatures, so it’s advisable to come prepared with appropriate gear.

It’s worth mentioning that the Boundary Trail is subject to seasonal closures due to weather conditions and maintenance work. The trail is typically closed during the winter months, from December to March, as heavy snowfall and icy conditions make it unsafe for hiking. Additionally, some sections of the trail may be temporarily closed during the spring months, from April to May, for maintenance and repairs. It’s always recommended to check with local authorities or park rangers for the most up-to-date information on trail closures and conditions before planning your visit.

Overall, whether you prefer the warm and sunny days of summer or the colorful and tranquil atmosphere of fall, the Boundary Trail offers a unique and breathtaking experience throughout the year. Just be sure to plan your visit accordingly, considering the best times to hike, potential seasonal closures, and the weather conditions to ensure a safe and enjoyable adventure.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trail entrance for easy access.
2. Accessible Trail Entrance: A wide and level entrance to the trail, allowing wheelchair users to easily enter.
3. Paved Pathways: Smooth and even pathways throughout the trail, suitable for wheelchair users.
4. Rest Areas with Benches: Regularly spaced benches along the trail for individuals to rest and take breaks.
5. Accessible Restrooms: Restrooms equipped with wheelchair-accessible stalls and facilities.
6. Handrails and Guardrails: Secure handrails and guardrails along steep or elevated sections of the trail for added safety.
7. Signage with Braille: Trail signs featuring Braille text for visually impaired individuals.
8. Audio Guides: Audio guides available for individuals with visual impairments, providing information about the trail.
9. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with wheelchair-accessible tables and seating.
10. Assistance Animals Allowed: Accommodation for individuals with disabilities who rely on service animals to access the trail.
11. Accessible Water Fountains: Wheelchair-accessible water fountains along the trail for hydration.
12. Accessible Viewing Areas: Designated areas with clear views and wheelchair accessibility for enjoying scenic spots.
13. Trail Maps in Large Print: Trail maps available in large print format for individuals with visual impairments.
14. Accessible Trailhead Information: Information boards at the trailhead with accessible height and clear text for easy reading.
15. Accessible Trail Exits: Clearly marked and accessible exits along the trail for individuals who may need to leave quickly.
16. Accessible Transportation: Public transportation options with wheelchair accessibility to reach the trail.
17. Accessible Parking Lot: A parking lot with designated accessible parking spaces close to the trailhead.
18. Trail Maintenance: Regular maintenance to ensure the trail remains accessible, including repairing any potential barriers or hazards.
19. Accessible Interpretive Signs: Signs along the trail with accessible height and clear text, providing information about the surroundings.
20. Accessible Emergency Assistance: Procedures in place to provide accessible emergency assistance if needed along the trail.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Boundary Trail is a challenging and rugged trail, suitable for experienced hikers with good physical fitness and navigation skills.
2. Weather Conditions: Be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions, including rain, fog, and strong winds, as the trail is located in a mountainous region.
3. Proper Gear: Wear sturdy hiking boots, carry a waterproof jacket, pack enough food and water, and bring a map, compass, and GPS device.
4. Wildlife Awareness: Be cautious of encounters with bears, cougars, and other wildlife; carry bear spray, make noise, and store food properly to avoid attracting animals.
5. Water Sources: Plan your water supply carefully, as there are limited water sources along the trail; carry enough water or bring a water filtration system.
6. Trail Conditions: Be prepared for uneven terrain, fallen trees, and overgrown sections; use caution and be prepared to navigate obstacles.
7. Trail Markers: Pay close attention to trail markers and signs, as the Boundary Trail intersects with other trails and can be confusing at times.
8. Emergency Preparedness: Inform someone about your hiking plans, carry a first aid kit, and know how to handle emergencies or injuries in remote areas.
9. Cell Phone Reception: Expect limited or no cell phone reception along the trail; consider bringing a satellite phone or a personal locator beacon for emergencies.
10. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash, minimizing campfire impact, and respecting the natural environment along the trail.

Conservation Notes

The conservation status of the Boundary Trail is currently considered to be stable. The trail is located within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) in Minnesota, which is a designated wilderness area managed by the U.S. Forest Service. As a result, the trail and its surrounding environment are protected under strict conservation regulations.

The BWCAW is known for its pristine and untouched natural beauty, and the Boundary Trail is no exception. The trail traverses through a diverse range of ecosystems, including boreal forests, wetlands, and numerous lakes and rivers. These habitats provide crucial habitats for a variety of wildlife species, including moose, wolves, black bears, and numerous bird species.

To ensure the conservation of the Boundary Trail and its surrounding environment, visitors are required to obtain permits before entering the BWCAW. These permits help regulate the number of visitors and minimize human impact on the area. Additionally, strict guidelines are in place to prevent littering, campsite damage, and disturbance to wildlife. These measures aim to maintain the trail’s ecological integrity and preserve its natural state for future generations to enjoy.

Overall, the conservation status of the Boundary Trail is considered favorable due to the protective measures in place within the BWCAW. The trail’s location within a designated wilderness area ensures that it remains relatively undisturbed, allowing visitors to experience the beauty of the natural environment while minimizing their impact on the delicate ecosystems along the trail.

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