Cerise Creek is a relatively short hike through pristine forest in the Joffre Group a short way along the Duffy Lake Road. Elevation gain is only 305m, as the trail head is just past the highest point of the Duffy Lake Road. The trail takes you to the beautiful Keith Flavelle Hut, a memorial cabin near the headwaters of Cerise Creek. "Keith's Hut", also known as the Cerise Cabin, adds a welcoming rest spot, especially in colder weather.
Views of Joffre Peak, Mount Matier and Vantage Peak can all be seen above the cabin. The Anniversary Glacier can be seen falling down towards the cabin between Joffre Peak and Mount Matier. From the pass between Mount Matier and Vantage Peak there are awesome views of Mount Hartzell, Mount Howard, Twin One Glacier and, in the distance to the south, Snowspider Mountain. This area offers miles of exploring, whatever the season.
Be warned, a late season thaw can still see a lot of snow up here, even as late as July. The area is a mecca for mountaineers and back-country skiers. There are many technical rock and mounaineering routes on Mounts Joffre, Matier, Slalok and Spetch. The winter skiing options are numerous, from the mellow meadows below Vantage Col, to steep chutes off Joffre and Matier. The area is highly popular in all seasons, and you are unlikely to be there alone. In mid winter it's not uncommon to have more than 20 people sleeping in the cabin, more on the front veranda, and still more camped nearby in tents. If in doubt, bring a tent as there are no guarantees of sleeping space, let alone a good nights sleep.
There are three different routes into Keith's hut, a summer route, a winter route, and a route that starts on the winter route, then switches to the summer route.
In summer, the winter route has many creek crossings and much marshy ground. In winter, the summer route is a little steep and too long. In the fall and the spring it's sometimes easier to start on the winter route then take the bypass trail to the summer route. This avoids crossing the top of Cerise Creek, and may be preferable if the start of the trail is clear, but the high section is still under snow.
Winter Route Description:
From the pull-out, drop down south off the embankment. Head down SE for a couple of hundred metres until you come to a large log with a rope rail and 2 by 4's nailed across it to make a wide stable bridge. Climb up from the creek, then head SE through the trees. At the big log cut, keep to the right (east) of the clearing. Turn right onto the road (Cerise Creek Main) at the top of the log cut, heading down a gentle hill for a couple of hundred metres until you see the sign posted winter trail heading left into the trees. If you get to a creek crossing, where a bridge used to be, you've gone too far. Head into the trees at the sign post. The trail stays east of Cerise Creek, passing through three small meadows. In one of these meadows (I think it's the 2nd one) there's a posted trail on your right that will cut you across the creek and climb up to the summer route. This may be a good choice in late spring or early fall.
After the meadows, the winter trail angles slowly down until it runs along side of the creek. Cross to the west side when snow bridges make it possible.
In the fall and late spring the creek can force you to have to take alternate routes higher up the hill side through tight trees on either side.
Eventually the valley opens up near the moraine wall at the foot of the Anniversary Glacier. Follow the moraine wall around to the right (west) until an obvious opening in the trees on your right. This will take you up to a bench with a small lake on it. Keith's Cabin is just above and NE of the lake.
Summer Route Description:
Once you've found the trail head, this route is fairly straight forward, and well marked. The trail contours along the side of the steep eastern slopes of Mount Chief Pascall. Before crossing the obvious boulder field, the trail climb steeply past many blueberry and huckleberry bushes. Once across the boulder field, you climb to a small bench before dropping down behind the cabin.
NOTE: the lake near cerise creek is not potable. This water will need to be filtered and/or treated before you can drink it.
Keith Flavelle Hut:
The cabin is a memorial cabin run by donations (envelopes are available in the cabin) and through a family trust set up in memory of (you guessed it) Keith Flavelle, who died in a mountaineering accident. The cabin's got an outhouse, a wood shed (wood is helicoptered in each summer) a pot belly stove with a large stainless steel pot for melting water, a large kitchen table, and a mezzanine for sleeping in. It sleeps 20 (officially) but gets very busy, so if you're coming in late, plan to sleep outside.
NTS Map: 92J8 (National Topographic System - Canada)
There is a summer route and a winter route. Both routes now start at the Duffy Lake Road.
Trail Head Access
From Lake Lillooet, drive up the Duffy Lake Rd. Pass the Joffre Lake trail head (provincial park), cross the bridge across Cayoosh Creek, and pass the road work sheds on your right. Shortly after you pass the road works ("Salt Shed") lot you will see a "no stopping avalanche zone" sign. This marks the beginning of the run-out zone for the south-facing Rohr avalanche slide paths that rise up on your left. The Cerise Creek TH is the pull-out past the end of this no-stopping zone on the right hand side, where you'll see a valley open up on your right. This is the Cerise Creek watershed. Just before the pull off, there's a difficult-to-see sign for the Cerise Creek Trail head (this sign may be gone as of 2013). Park here. Note that the TH is in between two different avalanche run-out zones from Rohr. If you enter a second no-stopping zone, you have gone too far. Note this TH is very busy in the winter so have a "Plan B" objective for if there is no room to park as is often the case. The road is on a curve here so you shouldn't obstruct the traffic lanes. Joffre, the Cayoosh basin, Marriott Basin (inc Wendy Thompson Hut) are all in the near vicinity (you just drove past them)
Summer Route Access
The Cerise Creek FSR was deactivated years ago now (2007 or 2008) and is not passable by vehicles. Culverts were dug up and bridges removed, alder has grown up everywhere Instead the new route uses the existing winter trail head (pull out on the Duffey Lake Road, just after the 1st Rohr avalanche path no-stopping zone). Start along the trail and cross the first bridge which crosses Cayoosh Creek, after which you will see a fork off to the right. Take the trail to the right. If you find yourself crossing a 2nd bridge (which some might also call a "log", with rope handrails) you've gone the wrong way! The trail is flagged, joins the old logging roads for a bit and then starts into the old summer trail as described above.
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Posted By: canadiandegelder
- Fri Jul 31 01:28:19 EDT 2009
UpsideFantastic scenery, with cabin nestled at foot of Anniversary Glacier. Great for overnighting, and a good intermediate point for rock climbing and back country skiing. Inviting cabin with water and outhouse.
DownsideBugs (mosquitos in particular) come out in swarms during summer months, (late June, July and early August in particular) make repellent mandatory. Cabin is becoming more popular, and people are not donating money -- see below.
IMPORTANT: CERISE CREEK MAIN, AS OF THE SUMMER OF 2008 HAS BEEN DE-COMISSIONED. THIS MEANS: vehicle access via the logging road is now impossible due to large trenches and the large bridge has now been REMOVED, resulting in a stable, though narrow crossing of Cerise Creek. The creek can be fast-flowing and cold in the winter months, and the bridge consists of a medium sized log, and a second span of thick, sawed wood; NO handrails. You must be confident in your footing. Because of this de-comissioning, the trailhead is now off Duffey Lake Road, approximately 40.5 km past the Petro-Can in Pemberton. Also, the cabin is becoming increasingly popular, although donations are still expected and appreciated. This is a family run hut, in memory of a lost mountaineer, Keith Flavelle. It is maintained by a group of volunteers every September. Due to the remote nature of the cabin, running costs are high, and it is presumed that every person using the hut will donate, even if only $5 (although $20 per person, per night is requested, in particular if it is a guided tour). PLEASE DONATE. The firewood, in addition, is brought in by helicopter, which is rented and also costs several hundred dollars an hour. -- Please, be conscientious and conservative, pack in pack out, and donate to a worthy cause.
Guide: At the Pemberton Petro-Can station, reset your odometer to zero. The pullout is approximately 40.5km from zero, and cannot be missed. It has enough space for roughly 20 cars. The trail drops from the pullout to the first river crossing, which is easily navigated. Followed by a second crossing, slightly more challenging, but also very basic. Both have ropes. The trail then begins to climb, and eventually opens up into the logged meadows until it meets the logging road. The trail is now well marked, although set aside a visual reminder. Turn right onto the logging road, and follow the obvious path. A few minutes down the road you see the winter route off to the right; this can be fairly overgrown during summer months. Continue until you hit Cerise Creek, where the bridge has been removed. Tip-toe along the bank to the narrow log bridge, and say a short prayer if you aren't confident in your balance. There is no rope, and if the spring runoff in 2010 is substantial, there is a distinct possibility that the bridge could be wiped out. After this, the trail continues on the logging road. Take the well-worn road up to the left, where a sign marks "trail", and enjoy the scenery in the meadows. The second part of the trail begins at the end of the meadows, and quickly moves into the trees again. The trail is very rocky and rooty, with lots of short and sharp ups and downs, but nothing to serious. After roughly an hour, you cross an opening which was flattened by an avalanche many years ago, then cross another stream, and continue uphill. The trail climbs a little more and then forks; one to the left which is the glacier, and the one to the right is the hut. To the right, the trail begins to steepen, and eventually becomes a nice lung burner alongside an old rockslide. Once you near the top of the slide, the trail cuts across it, and climbs once more, this time only more gradual. The trail slowly loses its pitch and aggressiveness, and approaches the cabin and glacier from behind. Depending on physique, number of people, conditions, gear etc. the hike can be done in under 2 hours, or as many as four. Once you reach the top, you will understand this raving review. Take in the scenery, enjoy, and remember that if it weren't for volunteers and donations, the cabin would not be there; take your role in helping maintain it, and drop a little cash in the box. --Please, once at the hut, conserve the firewood, and leave the cabin in better form than which you found it. If you would like to know more about the trail please send questions to email@example.com
Posted By: ChrisO
- Wed Feb 14 16:09:49 EST 2007
CommentWinter access is gained from a point on the Duffy Lake Rd a few miles north past the work sheds, between Duffy Lake and the Joffre Lake parking lot. There is a Cerise Cr sign at the start of the trail, just next to an Avalanche Area sign post, though it's a little tricky to spot. You park here, hike down to the creek, cross a new log bridge, and follow the markers. Avoid the right hand turn half an hour in. This is the summer route. Keep going straight up the valley, following the Creek. When you get to the morraine wall, head right up the valley, and up through the trees to the cabin, just above a small lake.
Posted By: Adam+Laura
- Fri Jan 05 02:14:02 EST 2007
UpsideThis is very beautiful and in the middle of nowhere. There is a cabin up there as well to hang out in.
DownsideWatch out for ticks. The road to get to the trail head was hard to find and when we did find it we drove for ever unsure we were on the right trail. It seems like an old logging trail so it is hard to figure out if you are on the right one.
CommentI would do Joffre lakes before I did this one. But this is good too.