The Eaglenest Creek Trail is the shortest route to Cold Fish Lake for hiking into the Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Provincial Park. It is 56km long and is a very tough trail due to the daily rainstorms in a typical summer. The elevation gain is about 5000ft on this trail via Danihue Pass. Do not take the alternate and longer route via Icebox canyon.
The first section of the trail has a gentle grade, passing through a mix of aspen woods, pine stands, and open bogs. Log boardwalks cross the wet sections, where there are excellent views of the Eaglenest Mountain Range. After about 5km, the trail climbs over a low ridge and begins to drop steeply into the Eaglenest Creek valley.
At about 12km, the trail climbs steeply via a muddy landslide which has fallen into the creek. After 14km have been covered there is a small, dry campsite in a grove of pines on a horseshoe shaped bend in Eaglenest Creek. Ram Creek at 17km is reached in another one and a half hours. After crossing Ram Creek bridge, one will find a nice campsite.
Beyond Ram Creek the trail becomes rougher and is not well defined in some sections. MacDonald Creek camp is reached at about 30km. From there the trail leaves the valley floor and starts a gradual climb up to Danihue Pass. This section is wet, overgrown in places, and is confusing due to many horse trails and not in good condition after rainy days.
A beaver dam flooded the Eaglenest Creek near the crossing around kilometre 45 . These headwaters must be forded about 100 meters below the beaver dam and a junction is reached just before the crossing. The right fork of the trail leads out through Danihue Pass and is open, but very muddy after rain. After you traverse Danihue Pass and start your descent you will reach a final junction. Keep right and from here the hike to Coldfish Lake camp is about one hour.
There are 6 cabins located at Cold Fish Lake Camp. (9V 509083 6395426) All cabins are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Fees are $20/night/person. There is a cookhouse available also.
Spatsizi wilderness and nearby Mt Edziza Park are extremely wild places, where trails access is complicated by rivers and lakes. This is a perfect area for taking along a super light packraft from Alpacka Raft. Packrafts get you to some wild places, where lakes and rivers are no longer an obstacle to the backpacker!
Three of the photos below are courtesy Tad McIlwraith (copyright)
Drive north towards Iskut on the Cassiar highway. Tatogga Lake is about 480km north of Smithers. When you reach Tatogga Lake Resort and gas station, drive another 1.5km north and go past a gravel pit. The next road to the right is hard to see, as there is 2 large piles of gravel there. But there is a small sign indicating Spatsizi access and if you drive in between the piles of gravel, then you will see a road that continues up the valley.
Continue about 26km on the winding gravel road to a bridge across the Klappan river (watch for a couple of washouts and potholes here). Once you cross the bridge you are on the BC Rail grade road - an abandoned railway which was never finished (tracks were never laid). The Eaglenest Trail begins near the 50km mark on the BC Rail grade on the east side of the Klappan River. The trailhead is indicated by a BC Parks sign. You can park about 1km up the branch road.
Sign the registration booklet at the trailhead, you will notice that very few people hike this trail each summer. There is a photo of a missing hunter here, he has not returned from a hunting trip to this area in September 2005. His car was found at this trailhead, but no sign of his tent or belongings since he went missing.
Most people fly into Cold Fish Lake to stay at the cabins using the float planes of North Pacific Seaplanes based at Tatogga Lake near Iskut, BC - call Dale Leekie (250) 234-3140 (firstname.lastname@example.org) . Flying in and walking out is one option for groups, as 4 people can usually fit on a float plane. Price for one flight is in the $1000 range. Camping, cabins, groceries and restaurant are available at Tatogga Lake Resort at (250) 234-3526.
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Posted By: xtremepeaks
- Thu Dec 18 03:41:54 UTC 2008
CommentRoad has been fixed, you can drive to the trailhead now.
Posted By: xtremepeaks
- Fri Nov 30 22:13:20 UTC 2007
UpsideCold Fish Lake area is spectacular, nice hikes to the plateau from there. DownsideThe road is washed out at the Klappan river, not possible to drive to the trailhead. One can still walk to the McEwan creek trailhead in order to hike to Cold Fish Lake. CommentCan still fly to the cabins at Cold Fish Lake, using North Pacific Seaplanes based at Tatogga Lake.
Posted By: xtremepeaks
- Mon Oct 30 22:03:59 UTC 2006
CommentTo arrange for flights into and out of the Spatsizi and Mt Edziza Parks it is best to carry a satellite phone with you. Use an Iridium satellite phone with coverage of the far north. Contact Greg Smith at 604 250 4155 or email@example.com or see their website. They will rent or sell hand-held equipment, and can help with service contracts or pre-paid airtime cards.