A glorious valley-edged romp through grizzly wilderness into top notch alpine scenery. The trail is fairly long, but the gentle grade and constant distractions make it easy to plod along. Don't let the presence of bears scare you off - like with any other trail, stay vigilant and avoid stealth.
The first 45 minutes is a gentle ascent through shady forest, on foot-pleasing packed earth. Along the way you'll cross a few small rivulets which will be the last of the water until the basin.
Next, you emerge into more open foilage, with the greener side of the canyon across the valley, where you can cast your eyes in an attempt to spot bears, or at least see the line of the old trail on the hillside. The ground underfoot becomes more rocky, and the trail features the occasional short, no-nonsense switchbacks to improve your height, and view. Up-valley you can glimpse one of the several granite peaks you'll be lounging in the shadow of at trail's end.
5.5km from the trailhead, you cross a run-off creek and soon thereafter reach a campground (marked only by a barely-standing outhouse and fire ring).
Here's where things get tricky, only because of some preceeding idiots. The trail proper continues along northward, then suddenly ends at some boulders which feature a series of cairns, lord only knows why. The route the cairns lead through is just as awkward, dangerous and time-wasting as any other you could hope to pick, so to avoid the rock fall altogether, back track 20-30 meters and keep an eye to the west for a faint trail leading to the sound of the creek. It is easy to get over the creek without even seeing the water under the massive rocks, and pick up the still-faint trail on the other side.
If you look northwest you'll see a high point of land with a crazy rectangular rock at the top that looks like it should have Wile E Coyote jumping up and down on it, baffled that it won't topple over. There is a faint trail switchbacking up to that ridge, but if you lose it, worry not, it reappears in full strength at the top.
Continue climbing along the ridge until you reach the trail's high point at about the 7km mark. You are now surrounded by serious mountains. This is a rewarding destination in itself, but if you must press on, here's where you can go (add an hour and 2km to your roundtrip):
See the natural scree dam beneath Whitewater mountain? It's the only logical place to hold a lake, and that's what it does. You can eyeball your route up the scree from here. The trail continues a slight descent along the ridge NW and ends at a mining road. From here the scramble to the lake will take roughly 15 minutes.
East of New Denver or West of Kaslo along Hwy 31A, go to Retallack mining site. There is a dirt road on the north side between old buildings that comes to a wide clearing with an 'all roads lead here' feel. The one you want is at the end and far left of the open space. Stay on the main road from here, there are signs where the way may not be obvious. In a short 4km, arrive at the trailhead.
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Posted By: TroyNordyke
- Thu Mar 14 12:09:07 EDT 2013
I'm looking to go hiking and camping for a week in April and was wondering if anyone had some suggestions. I'm most liklely going to be limited to BC due to the winter conditions. Any must go places that you can think of?
TroyANSWERS are in this forum: Looking to go camping and hiking in April for a week.
Posted By: Clarey
- Sat Jan 26 16:17:58 EST 2013
I'm a new Trailpeak Member - today. Totally suprised to see all the photos of dogs on mountain trails. Maybe a controversial issue, but consider the quality of the surface water, please. I adore dogs and totally understand how wonderful it is to have them along. But do you really pick up every time they drop?
If this site is about sustainable backcountry practises, please consider whether taking your dog in the backcountry is fair to the rest of us, since there are thousands of others who will also bring their dogs along.
And, of course, we all know that dogs and bears/wildlife are a bad combination, so why post photos of dogs in bear country? Bit of a disservice. Happy to be corrected if I'm wrong, but please consider. ANSWERS are in this forum: Dogs on trails
Posted By: Clarey
- Sat Jan 26 16:09:53 EST 2013
DownsidePlease, no dogs. Sorry. Are you really picking up their poop everywhere and taking it out with you? Do the rest of us have to stop drinking from these creeks on account of hikers' dogs? Moreover, dogs and bears are a proven dangerous combination. Why post photos of dangerous behavior? For your consideration, please and thanks.
Posted By: Nell
- Thu Aug 20 17:01:37 EDT 2009
UpsideStunning views and scenery well worth the hike
DownsideFollow bear safety guidelines
CommentThis moderate all-day hike is very worth going out of the way for. The trail never gets boring and the views are well worth the effort. Pay close attention as you ascend out of the trees and hike along the ridge with the valley dropping away to your right, the chances are good you will get to see a grizzly in the meadows below. The second half of the trail becomes more rugged and steep but there is the option of camping midway (area marked by a small outhouse) should you decide to take it more slowly. Just remember to follow bear safety guidelines as they are plentiful in the area.