Running through the heart of William A. Switzer Provincial Park, Jarvis Creek and its associated lakes provide canoeists with the best way to explore the southern half of this protected area. For accomplished flatwater paddlers this trip makes a perfect introduction to moving water. If two cars are available it can be done as a point to point trip between the Jarvis Lake Day Use Area and Graveyard Campground. Otherwise the current in the creek is such that strong canoeists would have no trouble paddling upstream.
From the south end of Jarvis Lake follow the east bank for two kilometres to a marsh which is the entrance to Jarvis Creek. A beaver dam will have to be negotiated and if water is low some poling or dragging may be required to enter the creek proper. A twenty metre portage over Hwy 40 is required but if water levels in the marsh are very low then it may be preferable to make a 400m portage via Kelly's Bathtub and Hwy 40 at the north end of Jarvis Lake.
Half a kilometre downstream from Hwy 40 Jarvis Creek passes through the corner of Blue Lake, home of the Blue Lake Adventure Lodge. Another kilometre down the creek is Cache Lake. From the northern tip of Cache Lake Jarvis Creek reaches Graveyard Campground in a short 200 metres. Graveyard Campground is the end of this canoe route as the rest of the creek to Gregg Lake is filled with sweepers and strainers and is just not a pleasant trip. The exception to this is Graveyard Lake another 200m downstream.
The route can be done using the park brochure (http://www.cd.gov.ab.ca/enjoying_alberta/parks/planning/gateway/pubsandmedia/Switzer%20WEB%20brochure.pdf) for a map or you can buy the government 1:50000 topo "83F5 Entrance" from Map Town (http://www.maptown.com/). With numerous campgrounds and trails, Switzer is a perfect park for a weekend getaway with the family.
Submitted by 'mtncat'.
From Hinton travel west on Hwy 16 for 3km, then north on Hwy 40 for 19km.
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