Indian Arm loop

Indian Arm loop near Vancouver, BC


This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars
70 kms
1 day4hours
difficult
Hiking
Spring, Fall, Summer
Vancouver, BC
User AlsidPrime
The following text is a description of the "Indian Arm Trail" that Don McPherson originally hiked in its entirety in the fall of 2003. There is no guarantee to the accurateness of this description nor is there any implied level of safety for the route at any time of year. Please use this description responsibly and offer your improvements to the author.

THE INDIAN ARM "TRAIL"

I would like this article to reach everyone who is presently thinking about going on the Indian Arm "trail". It is a trail only in the loosest term. Extremely rugged hiking, short sections of 4th class climbing / descending, and some rope and ice ax skills define the route.

Most people that I have spoken to that are very fit are capable of hiking the route. The question must be asked - Do you have other skills required to safely traverse the route? I sense some would be going way beyond their boundary of safety, even with excellent weather conditions, and may need to be rescued or worse. Only those with mountaineering skills in excellent condition will enjoy the challenge. Even with them, should the clouds or rain move in or a mishap occur, a challenging path would turn into an epic.

The route is more like hiking a 68 km series of mountain peaks. Traveling the easy way is a 16,500ft. (5500 meter) elevation gain, and nearly a 20,000ft. descent. A climbing rope and the knowledge of how to use it should be included in your 35 - 50+ lb pack. I do not recommend this route to anyone.

We have all done foolish things, lived through it and gained valuable experience that way. I don't want to dissuade anyone from a challenge or adventure. I am requesting you take a good, hard, honest look and decide.

An informational meeting hosted by BC Parks on March 11/04 was attended by B.C. Parks, the GVRD, the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, running, hiking, and mountaineering clubs. Three major themes came out through the discussion: Safety issues, boundary issues, and legal issues. Any hiker going on this "trail" will be on an illegal route, going into watershed at Fannin Lake, and trespassing on recently acquired fee simply land of the First Nation near Indian River twin bridges.

De Sales' law states - The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I am more than concerned that the uniformed get into big trouble expecting a groomed "trail" and moderate slopes with no legal issues.

Don McPherson

Description:

From the Seymour parking lot hike north past Pump Peak, past Second Peak, to the notch between Second Peak and the base of Mt. Seymour (Third Peak). Drop down on the W side of Mt. Seymour from the notch until the old trail soon comes to a large boulder filed, which usually has snow/ice at its base. Beware of hidden large holes in the ice in the fall of some years.

Continue north traversing beneath Runner Peak, cross a small boulder field and follow the beautiful ridge down to the base of Elsay Peak in heather, etc. Start up Elsay in old growth forest for 200 meters to where a large old tree has fallen across the trail. Follow it to its base and traverse to the crescent ridge above Elsay Lake. Travel this lovely ridge to Vicar Lakes. [5-6 hours from the parking lot.]

Please be sensitive to the fragile ecology of these pristine lakes and walk carefully. There is an access trail here branching down to within 200 meters of Seymour Dam below. On the NW end of the largest lake do a stepping stone hop across boulders where the lake narrows into old growth forest on the N side. If the water is high, a 10 minutes marshy walk will take you around the end of the lake and back onto the trail.

Do not go uphill looking for the trail. It stays near the lake shore for a short way then slowly diagonals up to a notch in the ridge coming down from the S peak of Bishop. Good hiking will take you back into the alpine. Heathery slopes 200 meters below the top of S peak leads to a traverse left to a steepish gully, leading to the notch between the middle and S peak of Bishop. [2-3 hours from Vicar Lakes.]

A gentle diagonal traverse across the base of the W face of the middle peak will lead up to the long summit plateau of N Bishop Peak. Going down the N ridge from the top is interesting. Several goat slides shoot down to the flat ridge below. These 20-30 degree paths can be tricky when wet. Look down at what appears to be a very wide trail on the flat. You never get to this great looking trail as you double back SE on a grand heathery, treed ramp beneath the growing face of the N peak of Bishop.

Traverse across boulders and steepish herbage for approximately 300 to 400 meters above Fannin Lake. This moderately exposed 30 to 50 degree section can be difficult to down climb (roots and shrub hand holds). There is some fixed hand line here that the goats chew on. Follow the route through some old growth, etc. to scenic Fannin Lake. Fannin Lake is in our Seymour watershed, so be extra careful where you pee and poo until an intended latrine gets built. There is a lovely creek, which runs year round in the meadow on the NE side of Fannin Lake. [2-3 hours from the notch between S and middle Bishop and Fannin Lake.] The trail goes around on the N shore of the lake but will have to be bushwhacked during high water (a 10 minute excursion) to join the easy hiking trail leading up to the four peaks of Mt. Dickens through old growth. Several fixed hand lines are in place along the scenic undulating ridge until you drop through a beautiful hiking ravine and onto a lovely football field sized flat spongy area where the Fannin range veers NW. [6-7 hours from Fannin Lake.]

A steep, often slippery, descent for 200 to 300 meters down a ribbon boulder field is the beginning of a descending traverse to Bearclaw Ridge where you pass some old growth up to 100 feet in diameter. It appears it is slated to be heli-logged as there is much new tape running in a straight line on the downhill side of the trail after crossing a year round running creek. Descend the ridge that becomes vertical on the NW side through an older heli-logged area, with great care needed in several places when descending (slippery, exposed). Exit onto the well traveled road from Squamish about 150 feet upstream from the bridge that crosses Indian River. To get to great campsites near the sandy river banks, travel up the two lane road for about 200 meters where you will find a rough road to your right doubling back toward the river. [3-4 hours down from the football field in the saddle of the Fannin Range.]

If traveling on, walk 6 kilometers down the road to the end where large stone barriers stop further travel by car. There is a little fresh stream water until you get past the Deep Cove Yacht Club about 1.5km down a superb trail (road) from the rock barrier. The yacht club appears to be erecting a fence across the trail to keep out motorized bikers. There are several large signs giving the common sense rules for hiking past the gate. (The logging road/trail is a public right of way that bisects their property). Continue past the club over a recent rock avalanche/gully past another dock and hike up to where you can see where a trail dives off the road to the northern end of Grand Falls Park and public dock. Hike a short way up the logging road where you can decide to continue up to the beautiful falls thundering above, under and below the 1st old bridge, and continuing over a precarious looking 2nd bridge or two. Take a short cut avoiding the first two bridges over Grand Creek. If so, veer uphill on an obscure logging road (well marked) below a huge electrical power pylon.

No matter which way you go, you will soon be on the same, sometimes washed out road (done two winters ago) which will take you to a fork in the road, both of which may have orange marking tape on them. Take the right fork that has both orange flashers and flagging where you will soon come to the third and most secure looking of the three bridges. Continue up an increasingly overgrown road (cleared two years ago with a gas brush cutter) until you come to Flume Creek that can be easily gotten over with dry feet unless it has been heavily raining. (It has been waded in an extended severe rainstorm). It is about 6 km from here back to the main road from Squamish.

After crossing the creek (500m elevation) follow the logging road for about 100 feet then turn sharply uphill. The trail winds through obstacles up to 700 meters where an old log filled landing from a higher road crosses the trail. There is a campsite here in the bushy road and water is 15 minutes down the road in Flume Creek. Follow the flashers and tape to the top of Grand Ridge with a beautiful tarn on bald granite. The legs will probably require a sit down amidst spectacular scenery. A 100 meter easy descent and traverse leads to a series of steepish short steps and a slab traverse to the gully leading straight up to the crest of Eagle Ridge. (Often tiny pools of running water can be gotten low in the gully). Top out on Eagle Ridge with a tremendous view and incredible tarn on the edge of precipices on two sides. It is unusual in that it is deep (funnel shaped sides). Don't miss it as it is 100 feet N of where the trail breaks out on the ridge hidden by some stubby alpine trees and heather. The wide well worn trail on the top looks like a human trail in a park, but it is a goat highway leading to the tarn. [4-5 hours up from the Flume Creek crossing on the lower road.]

Gentle ridge running takes you to a right hairpin curve just before a cliff edge. Descend on the low angled ramp wrapping around the growing cliff above. Avoid the possible great view from the cliff above (near the hairpin curve) as there an overgrown bush covered deep hole in the vicinity, that if fallen into, will result in a change of form permanently. Follow tape and markers down the ridge toward the high hump to your S. Another easy traverse across good granite slab (in dry weather) will soon lead to the base of serious looking cliffs. Continue SE beneath the cliffs where weaknesses and some short grunt moves (fixed safety line) lead to an enormous ledge with superb views. Continue hiking up past several tarns and ridge run until you drop down to the base of another large hump. The trail weaves through cliffs with several steep rock sections involving a few moves with fixed rope at hand. Travel along the ridge until you drop down into an old growth area with a lovely large tarn (Goat Oasis) just before starting up another mound heading S. [4-6 hours from cresting on Eagle Ridge.] Similar short steep sections lead to the top and at the end of another long ridge run, a precipitous tooth can be seen with a large talus slope on its NW side.

Continue down to the notch with a spectacular view of Coquitlam Lake to the E (the talus slope to the SW). Diagonal down on the talus that travels through some gorgeous old growth and large boulders to an E/W ridge crest and a descending traverse to the Dilly Dally (D.D.) trail about 5 - 7 minutes down from where the D. D. trail crests Eagle Ridge. There is usually running water just before reaching the D. D. trail. [3-5 hours from Goat Oasis.] 20 minutes down the D. D. is a round creek. Take another 2.5 to 4 hours to get back to Buntzen Lake parking lot.

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By singinggirl66Posted By: singinggirl66  - Fri Jun 22 17:04:16 UTC 2012 Not Rated Question Hi everyone!

Me and my dad are planning to go hike this trail in mid august! Is there anyone who has hiked this trail recently that could give us some input on the condition of the trail?

Thanks :-)

ANSWERS are in this forum:  Hiking the trail
By MoshePosted By: Moshe  - Sun Jun 06 17:12:34 UTC 2004 Not Rated Comment See the trail "Indian Arm Trail - Buntzen Lake Section" on this WEB site for a map and GPS that allow locating the trail-head at the Buntzen Lake side.
By gumPosted By: gum  - Wed Apr 21 22:59:51 UTC 2004 Not Rated Upside The following text is a description of the "Indian Arm Trail" that Don McPherson originally hiked in its entirety in the fall of 2003. There is no guarantee to the accurateness of this description nor is there any implied level of safety for the route at any time of year. Please use this description responsibly and offer your improvements to the author. Downside THE INDIAN ARM "TRAIL"

I would like this article to reach everyone who is presently thinking about going on the Indian Arm "trail". It is a trail only in the loosest term. Extremely rugged hiking, short sections of 4th class climbing / descending, and some rope and ice ax skills define the route.

Most people that I have spoken to that are very fit are capable of hiking the route. The question must be asked - Do you have other skills required to safely traverse the route? I sense some would be going way beyond their boundary of safety, even with excellent weather conditions, and may need to be rescued or worse. Only those with mountaineering skills in excellent condition will enjoy the challenge. Even with them, should the clouds or rain move in or a mishap occur, a challenging path would turn into an epic.

The route is more like hiking a 68 km series of mountain peaks. Traveling the easy way is a 16,500ft. (5500 meter) elevation gain, and nearly a 20,000ft. descent. A climbing rope and the knowledge of how to use it should be included in your 35 - 50+ lb pack. I do not recommend this route to anyone.

We have all done foolish things, lived through it and gained valuable experience that way. I don't want to dissuade anyone from a challenge or adventure. I am requesting you take a good, hard, honest look and decide.

An informational meeting hosted by BC Parks on March 11/04 was attended by B.C. Parks, the GVRD, the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, running, hiking, and mountaineering clubs. Three major themes came out through the discussion: Safety issues, boundary issues, and legal issues. Any hiker going on this "trail" will be on an illegal route, going into watershed at Fannin Lake, and trespassing on recently acquired fee simply land of the First Nation near Indian River twin bridges.

De Sales' law states - The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I am more than concerned that the uniformed get into big trouble expecting a groomed "trail" and moderate slopes with no legal issues.

Don McPherson
Comment Description:

From the Seymour parking lot hike north past Pump Peak, past Second Peak, to the notch between Second Peak and the base of Mt. Seymour (Third Peak). Drop down on the W side of Mt. Seymour from the notch until the old trail soon comes to a large boulder filed, which usually has snow/ice at its base. Beware of hidden large holes in the ice in the fall of some years.

Continue north traversing beneath Runner Peak, cross a small boulder field and follow the beautiful ridge down to the base of Elsay Peak in heather, etc. Start up Elsay in old growth forest for 200 meters to where a large old tree has fallen across the trail. Follow it to its base and traverse to the crescent ridge above Elsay Lake. Travel this lovely ridge to Vicar Lakes. [5-6 hours from the parking lot.]

Please be sensitive to the fragile ecology of these pristine lakes and walk carefully. There is an access trail here branching down to within 200 meters of Seymour Dam below. On the NW end of the largest lake do a stepping stone hop across boulders where the lake narrows into old growth forest on the N side. If the water is high, a 10 minutes marshy walk will take you around the end of the lake and back onto the trail.

Do not go uphill looking for the trail. It stays near the lake shore for a short way then slowly diagonals up to a notch in the ridge coming down from the S peak of Bishop. Good hiking will take you back into the alpine. Heathery slopes 200 meters below the top of S peak leads to a traverse left to a steepish gully, leading to the notch between the middle and S peak of Bishop. [2-3 hours from Vicar Lakes.]

A gentle diagonal traverse across the base of the W face of the middle peak will lead up to the long summit plateau of N Bishop Peak. Going down the N ridge from the top is interesting. Several goat slides shoot down to the flat ridge below. These 20-30 degree paths can be tricky when wet. Look down at what appears to be a very wide trail on the flat. You never get to this great looking trail as you double back SE on a grand heathery, treed ramp beneath the growing face of the N peak of Bishop.

Travers across boulders and steepish herbage for approximately 300 to 400 meters above Fannin Lake. This moderately exposed 30 to 50 degree section can be difficult to down climb (roots and shrub hand holds). There is some fixed hand line here that the goats chew on. Follow the route through some old growth, etc. to scenic Fannin Lake. Fannin Lake is in our Seymour watershed, so be extra careful where you pee and poo until an intended latrine gets built. There is a lovely creek, which runs year round in the meadow on the NE side of Fannin Lake. [2-3 hours from the notch between S and middle Bishop and Fannin Lake.] The trail goes around on the N shore of the lake but will have to be bushwhacked during high water (a 10 minute excursion) to join the easy hiking trail leading up to the four peaks of Mt. Dickens through old growth. Several fixed hand lines are in place along the scenic undulating ridge until you drop through a beautiful hiking ravine and onto a lovely football field sized flat spongy area where the Fannin range veers NW. [6-7 hours from Fannin Lake.]

A steep, often slippery, descent for 200 to 300 meters down a ribbon boulder field is the beginning of a descending traverse to Bearclaw Ridge where you pass some old growth up to 100 feet in diameter. It appears it is slated to be heli-logged as there is much new tape running in a straight line on the downhill side of the trail after crossing a year round running creek. Descend the ridge that becomes vertical on the NW side through an older heli-logged area, with great care needed in several places when descending (slippery, exposed). Exit onto the well traveled road from Squamish about 150 feet upstream from the bridge that crosses Indian River. To get to great campsites near the sandy river banks, travel up the two lane road for about 200 meters where you will find a rough road to your right doubling back toward the river. [3-4 hours down from the football field in the saddle of the Fannin Range.]

If traveling on, walk 6 kilometers down the road to the end where large stone barriers stop further travel by car. There is a little fresh stream water until you get past the Deep Cove Yacht Club about 1.5km down a superb trail (road) from the rock barrier. The yacht club appears to be erecting a fence across the trail to keep out motorized bikers. There are several large signs giving the common sense rules for hiking past the gate. (The logging road/trail is a public right of way that bisects their property). Continue past the club over a recent rock avalanche/gully past another dock and hike up to where you can see where a trail dives off the road to the northern end of Grand Falls Park and public dock. Hike a short way up the logging road where you can decide to continue up to the beautiful falls thundering above, under and below the 1st old bridge, and continuing over a precarious looking 2nd bridge or two. Take a short cut avoiding the first two bridges over Grand Creek. If so, veer uphill on an obscure logging road (well marked) below a huge electrical power pylon.

No matter which way you go, you will soon be on the same, sometimes washed out road (done two winters ago) which will take you to a fork in the road, both of which may have orange marking tape on them. Take the right fork that has both orange flashers and flagging where you will soon come to the third and most secure looking of the three bridges. Continue up an increasingly overgrown road (cleared two years ago with a gas brush cutter) until you come to Flume Creek that can be easily gotten over with dry feet unless it has been heavily raining. (It has been waded in an extended severe rainstorm). It is about 6 km from here back to the main road from Squamish.

After crossing the creek (500m elevation) follow the logging road for about 100 feet then turn sharply uphill. The trail winds through obstacles up to 700 meters where an old log filled landing from a higher road crosses the trail. There is a campsite here in the bushy road and water is 15 minutes down the road in Flume Creek. Follow the flashers and tape to the top of Grand Ridge with a beautiful tarn on bald granite. The legs will probably require a sit down amidst spectacular scenery. A 100 meter easy descent and traverse leads to a series of steepish short steps and a slab traverse to the gully leading straight up to the crest of Eagle Ridge. (Often tiny pools of running water can be gotten low in the gully). Top out on Eagle Ridge with a tremendous view and incredible tarn on the edge of precipices on two sides. It is unusual in that it is deep (funnel shaped sides). Don't miss it as it is 100 feet N of where the trail breaks out on the ridge hidden by some stubby alpine trees and heather. The wide well worn trail on the top looks like a human trail in a park, but it is a goat highway leading to the tarn. [4-5 hours up from the Flume Creek crossing on the lower road.]

Gentle ridge running takes you to a right hairpin curve just before a cliff edge. Descend on the low angled ramp wrapping around the growing cliff above. Avoid the possible great view from the cliff above (near the hairpin curve) as there an overgrown bush covered deep hole in the vicinity, that if fallen into, will result in a change of form permanently. Follow tape and markers down the ridge toward the high hump to your S. Another easy traverse across good granite slab (in dry weather) will soon lead to the base of serious looking cliffs. Continue SE beneath the cliffs where weaknesses and some short grunt moves (fixed safety line) lead to an enormous ledge with superb views. Continue hiking up past several tarns and ridge run until you drop down to the base of another large hump. The trail weaves through cliffs with several steep rock sections involving a few moves with fixed rope at hand. Travel along the ridge until you drop down into an old growth area with a lovely large tarn (Goat Oasis) just before starting up another mound heading S. [4-6 hours from cresting on Eagle Ridge.] Similar short steep sections lead to the top and at the end of another long ridge run, a precipitous tooth can be seen with a large talus slope on its NW side.

Continue down to the notch with a spectacular view of Coquitlam Lake to the E (the talus slope to the SW). Diagonal down on the talus that travels through some gorgeous old growth and large boulders to an E/W ridge crest and a descending traverse to the Dilly Dally (D.D.) trail about 5 - 7 minutes down from where the D. D. trail crests Eagle Ridge. There is usually running water just before reaching the D. D. trail. [3-5 hours from Goat Oasis.] 20 minutes down the D. D. is a round creek. Take another 2.5 to 4 hours to get back to Buntzen Lake parking lot.
By AlsidPrimePosted By: AlsidPrime  - Tue Feb 10 03:48:54 UTC 2004 Not Rated Comment hmm, i didn't think this trail got posted after i submited it.. I'd like to plan a group trip around This trail, if that goes through then im sure i can update the Description etc.
If you are interested Please email me at alsid7th@hotmail.com
I'll also Get the GPS track route for it.
i'm thinking Spring break. If weather permits.
By hawke_ghPosted By: hawke_gh  - Fri Jan 30 23:10:38 UTC 2004 Not Rated Upside Nice to have a new trail to explore. Good artile on this trail too. Downside This is a direct quote fro the article which appears at the like above "But only for hikers with a high degree of fitness and some mountaineering skills, added McPherson, saying that the Indian Arm trail will be too challenging for most recreational hikers."

Comment This loks like a trail that would take your average hiker 2 full days to do.
By gumPosted By: gum  - Tue Jan 27 00:19:12 UTC 2004 Not Rated Comment more information about the trail may be found at:

http://www.ecospirit.ca/adventuremaps/bc/indianarmtrail.htm
http://www.ecospirit.ca/adventuremaps/bc/indianarmtrail09.htm

and the Vancouver Sun article at:

http://www.ecospirit.ca/adventuregallery/2003/2003-10-IndianArm-Vancouver-Sun-Article.htm
By dirtydeputydogPosted By: dirtydeputydog  - Tue Oct 28 03:45:34 UTC 2003 Not Rated Upside Couldn't find the article. Is this a continuation of Dilly Dally - Does it continue on the Seymour side. I spend a lot of time on these ridges and I'd love to help out but I need more info.
dirtydeputydog@hotmail.com
By trailpeakPosted By: trailpeak  - Thu Oct 09 21:35:01 UTC 2003 Not Rated Comment We'd like to turn this into a real description if someone would volunteer to snag pics, write a proper description, perhaps even GPS it? info@trailpeak.colm if you'dlike to volunteer


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