This trail is a lot harder on your car than your calves! As far as hoofin' - I can think of few trails with easier access and greater pay-offs. The short ascent allows you HOURS to explore the vast meadows.
The trail begins as long switchbacks on open hillside (bring a hat!) and eventually they shorten as you enter cooler forest. Within 45 minutes, the hard work is over, and you enter the lower portion of the meadow, wild with larches (mid-Sept or later is spectacular!) There is even a small creek where dogs (yes - off-leash allowed!) can hydrate.
You'll reach a fork at an open meadow lined with a stand of larches at the far side (remember this is where you need to turn up on your way back) - the trail continues left (right, apparently, takes you the long way round back to a boot path and the parking area). This is also the area in which you can find an outhouse and is the recommended camping spot (please avoid pitching in the upper meadows).
A little ways beyond the fork the official trail peters out and the meadow is yours to explore. The ridges on either side are easy to ascend, or you can stroll the length of the meadow to the saddle at the far end. Really, the choices are endless and the scenery is beyond description.
From Kaslo drive north toward Lardeau & Cooper Creek. Just before (and after) the village of CC, a sign will direct you right to the Purcell Wilderness (Argenta Rd). Take this, cross a bridge, and take the main road to the left (Duncan RIver FSR) along the vast river. Set odometer to 0.
At about 10km there is a fork; take the right spur (Glacier Creek FSR) and stay on this for the next 25km (around km16 watch for cows at a random farm). The road is well-maintained and wide up to the fork at km34. Right will take you to Jumbo Pass trailhead (also an awesome hike), left for Monica meadows. Here the road gets steep and somewhat ugly - high clearance is a must (or you could park and walk the 5.4km to the trailhead).
About 1500m along stay left on Monica Rd - which gets worse still (deep waterbars, run-off, loose rock). The parking area is a widened area in the road, with a marked trail in the bushes. People have missed the trail and walked down the road southward (don't be one of them!) - keep your eyes peeled for the marker.
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Posted By: kathrynj
- Fri Aug 17 11:56:47 EDT 2012
DownsideThe road is closed as of August 10, 2012 with no estimate of reopening
Posted By: wanderlust
- Tue Jan 06 20:51:13 EST 2009
UpsideEasy ascent, amazing colours in the fall, unfettered wandering through vast meadows, pikas.
DownsideLooooong drive on dirt road, about 6 or 7km of which is nastylicious (apologies to my suspension).
CommentIf you've got 2 days, do Jumbo one day and Monica the other - avoid repeating the grueling drive by camping near the junction to the two hikes, or even in the parking areas. (Anywhere along the road that continues NW (straight) at the junction for Monica Meadows Rd is quiet and should see no traffic).