Danny Moore Basin-Axel Peak & Valhalla Ridge

Danny Moore basin trail is off of the Silver King Basin trail. The trail starts literally right after you cross danny moore creek, turn left and you’ll see a faint trail. Its about 3.4km to the creek and another 3km to the lower part of the basin. The trail follows the creek pretty much the whole time. The first bit is steep but beautiful as it winds alongside the creek. So To get to Axel Peak my Dad said we would have to bush whack a little bit lol and he wasnt joking. At the bottom of Danny moore basin you look to the right and see this massive peak that Axel peak on the left is Lagapus mountain. We had to cross over danny moore creek for a third time and headed straight up. Then we hit the shale which was at about 30% grade, hands and feet to get up but amazing views of the basin lagapus and the Galleon at the back end of the basin. We stopped and had lunch close to the top and watched 3 mountain goats. We cut across the saddle at the base of the peak up and over another ridge then headed down into a dry creek bed below Valhalla Ridge.I was feeling pretty done at this point but going down finally felt good. We hiked up to the lower part of Valhalla ridge to try and hook up with the trail that goes back down. We didn’t end up finding it for quite awhile. We again bushwhacked our way down. We did end up finding parts of the trail and random flagging tape but the last part we just decided to head thru the bush and get as close to danny moore creek as we could. We came out a couple of kilometers from the creek. Dad and I we’re both happy to be back on a boring trail. It was a very long day , 19km approx and 9hrs of hiking. We didnt get back to the truck till 8pm. Lots of yummy blueberries, huckleberries and red currants along the way!!

Note – I would not advise Axel Peak or Valhalla Ridge without someone who’s actually been there.

Directions – To reach the trail head turn off Highway 16 onto Old Babine Lake Road. This is three km east of Smithers or 300 metres east of the Bulkley River Bridge on Hwy 16. Follow BC Parks signs leading to “Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park” where you can stop for a picnic lunch and explore fossil beds. Continue past that park another 5 km to the trailhead parking and information kiosk. The road is gated at that point, with no motorized use beyond. Note that there are several other excellent trails starting in the same area. For more info on these see the BC Parks website http://wlapwww.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/babmtn.htm

 

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Little Onion Mountain/Astlais Mountain

So Hannah and I went on an adventure yesterday. We decided to go up the Onion mountain. I have hiked up here as a kid but the last few years ive snow mobiled this sections in the winter. We decided we we’re just going to do the little onion mountain because of the heat plus no air movement turns into the hottest hike i have done this year. This hike is steep all the way. you follow old roads up the mountain and there’s lots of signs so you dont get lost. The views from Little Onion are amazing,you can see across the Bulkley Valley in every direction. after a short lunch break we decided to keep exploring some old roads cause we wanted to see if we could get to the part of the onion where you can see the scored marks from the road where they had mined in the past.We found out its another Onion trail, there are 2 ways you can go up.The way went went its where the Smithers Snowmoblie Assc has their parking lot. So the junction we were at is called Astlais Mountain Pass trail (Onion Mountain) this part of the trail wasn’t bad however we ended up at another fork in road one goes down and one goes up. The Astlais pass to join up with the other onion trail is the one that goes down. However Hannah and I are both pretty stubborn so we went up. IT was steep and beautiful, the rocks changed color from pale orange to dark orange. The road was covered in loose rocks which we swore we were going to be sliding down on our butts. It was rough and hot and we made it to the top at 2:15. We ended up cutting thru the two peaks of the Astlais mnt and after another short break we started wandering around the top so we could look down into Ganokwa Basin. The views from up here were stunning, you can see the Babine mountain range all the way to the summit of Mccabe trail. 360 degree views. You could even seen Nadina Mountain in Houston. This hike took us about 6 hours and was about 7km one way.

Directions:

Drive east from Smithers on hwy 16, cross the Bulkley river bridge and immediately turn left to Old Babine Lake road. Follow the road 25km to the snowmobile parking area on your left. Start hike at 3300ft level going up the old road climbing steeply to a gate at 1.5km.

Silvern Lakes

Silvern Lakes Trail starts at a creek crossing and the fist part of your hike is going to be a grunt as you climb about 70 meters. On your left is Glacial creek you steadily climb over boulders. At the top you join up with the old trail that comes from Duthie West Trail. There are signs showing which way to go. Stay left and cross the creek. The trail along this part is beautifully cut through the forest with a nice easy grade. You don’t get very much for view along this stretch but you get glimpses of Opal Ridge and the Turquoise Range. This part of the hike is about an hour. As you enter the red valley it is truly breathtaking, I was not expecting the mountain to be as red as it was(my pictures don’t even do it justice). You wander down to the valley floor and cross the most amazing red creek then head back up the other side of the valley.  The views of the back side of hudson bay mnt are amazing. As you climb up the other side thru a series of switchbacks this part of the trail is uneventful once you round the mountain from red valley you come across fields full of alpine flowers. Then you start down again and you get your first glimpse of The lower Silvern Lake. as you descend to the lake you can hear the marmots whistling warnings. The lower lake is a great place to camp there’s a fire pit their and lots of places to set you tent. To get to the second lake its another 15 minutes down the trail, follow the orange flagging. Their are 3 trails here the one the goes straight up take you to the back side of the peaks of hudson bay and gives you an amazing view of the basin. This could be a thru hike if you go thru the pass behind the upper silvern lake it takes you down Toboggan creek road and comes out below Glacier Gulch ( this route is approx 18km).

Silvern Lakes is 20km round trip and approx 7hrs.

Directions:

From Smithers take the Ski Hill road for about 15km to the junction of McDonell forest road. At about km 10 on the McDonell road turn right (before the Dennis lake campsite turnoff) and drive about 800 meters to a parking spot at a junction.
Walk down to the right until you see a creek, there is a marked trailhead here. Cross the creek and follow the skid road and the flagged route through the clearcut.

Crater Lake

Crater Lake is a very accessible alpine trail for all ages with some amazing views of the bulkley valley and surrounding areas. There’s lots of ptarmigans and marmots. The trail itself isn’t very long. and you could spend hours exploring the prairie creeks and shallow ponds. If your feeling brave enough you could go for a dip in crater lake. I have dones this its freezing even on the hottest days. You can also access the South Peak from here.

Directions:

Turn off Highway 16 (west) on to King St. Go to Railway Ave and turn left (south). Cross the railroad tracks and continue on the Ski Hill Road for 24 km. Go to the last parking lot at the Green T lift. Walk up the hill on the left along the rough dirt road. Take the footpath; bear left at the top.

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French Peak 

French Peak is out just past Fort Babine. I’ve been waiting a long time to do this hike and there’s not much written on it. From French peak you can see the whole Babine river and you look down into Suskwa pass. There’s a trail that joins up with this trail that you can hike all the way to Suskwa in Hazelton. French peak is used by local hunters for goat hunting. It’s also grizzly bear territory. The trail itself isn’t long only 2km from the trail head. However it’s a 5km quad ride in. It was quite overgrown in places we did have to cut some trees with my knife to be able to get the quad under some of the windfall. We realized pretty fast there was a bear on the trail ahead of us. Normally I don’t have a problem hiking by myself but this trail is very remote. We figured the Bears were a couple hours ahead of us and it turned out the sound of the quad was pushing them up the trail. We stopped 500 meters from the trail head because the bushes were moving and then they just stopped. This was 30 feet in front of us. We decided not to take any chances and turn back. The size of the bear scat were we’re seeing was huge plus little ones so it was probably a mom and her cub. We are going to try again in sept.

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South Peak Hudson Bay Mnt

The South Peak, I did this 5 years ago with my best friend and her husband and 3 preteens. after you get to crater lake you can either go below the lake and climb behind it and take the trail up to the peak or you can go above Crater lake and take the trail from there. This is a good day hike and I mean day!!! The views are amazing from the top. I would advise wearing good hiking boots because the rocks along the trail up on the ridge are big and you’ll want the extra ankle support.

Directions

Follow the ski hill road to Ski Smithers. Drive past the parking lot and the lodge to the T-bar. Here, you’ll see many of the private ski lodges. Hike away from the T-bar up the hill and onto the Prairie. Directly ahead and about a two hour hike will be the South Peak. Slightly off to your left is Crater Lake. An alternate route is hiking the ridge overlooking Smithers. This is off to your right. It’s a longer, but less demanding route than the straight ascent to the South Peak. Keep your eyes alert across the gulch to the peaks on the opposite side. Mountain goats are often seen picking their way across these craggy slopes.

Once you leave the T-bar area, you are above timberline. The Prairie is home to a flood of wildflowers earlier in the summer. Willow ptarmigan and marmots can also be seen. Avoid walking on cornices that may overhang Crater Lake early in the summer. The hike to the South Peak is moderately demanding but very rewarding. Sign the book kept in a cairn on the summit of the South Peak. Weather is very changeable, even in mid-summer so take extra clothing.

 

Opal Ridge

Opal Ridge this hike was a wet one. We were literally soaked 5 minutes into this hike. the first part of the hike was easy but once you start going up, you really go up. There were times on the trail i felt like my nose was going to touch the trail in front of me. I would say this hike is WAY steeper the Seaton Ridge. It stopped raining on us after an hour. I ended up dumping my pack off on the side of the trail after hiking for about an hour and a half but shortly after 2 hours and still not at alpine me knee had enough. So down we went. We probably werent that far off according to articles i’ve read about this hike it can be done in and hour and 20 minutes. I’ve been working on going up steeper hills and hikes because of my knees. I wasn’t expecting it to be like that. The trail is well defined all the way up.

Ganokwa Canyon Trail

Ganokwa canyon Trail on the other side of the creek..I actually did this hike last fall I’ve been busy working on my blog tonight and wanted it to have its own write up.  This hike is quite steep all the way up but it has some amazing view points along the way and is one of the first trails that is snow free to the top in early spring.It also is a great place to see goats. This hike is also one of the first hikes to be open spring where you can get to the top. It is on the same map as Ganokwa falls. Follow Old Babine Lake Road past the Telkwa High Road. Old Babine Lake road eventually crosses Ganokwa Creek just before the Mining School. For the trail right after the creek there is a grass opening on the left hand side of the road, you can park here.

Blue Lakes

This is the first time I’ve been on this hike and i went with my best friend Vicky and we took our time. The trail is amazing and so are the lakes. This hike is about 12km and 8 hours. The trail starts at the old logging deck car parking. You will walk under a old growth Hemlock and Balsam tree forest for 2 hours with an average slope of 5 degrees. You will hit three avalanche areas . At the second avalanche area you will see the first blue lake.The view here is amazing!! Walking along this part of the trail you see this lake on and off. If you continue on the trail ahead, you will hit Upper Blue Lake with 2 camping sites and picnic tables. At Upper Blue Lake, you can follow the creek for going to the glacier. At the glacier you can turn right and hit one of the peaks of the Roche Deboule Range. This is also where you’ll hit the third blue lake. And if you want do a real adventure, you can reach the Station Creek trail the other side of Roche Deboule Mountain, but a guide is necessary if you don’t know this mountain. Also there’s Pangea creek trail which is on the opposite side of the creek and follows the south ridge from blue lakes. Ive read multiple thing saying this trail is in good repair and some say its not. you can access it from blue lakes trail which would be the best way to go.

4×4 only until the parking lot, or leave your car at the gravel pit and put 2 more hours into your hike upwards. From New Hazelton, BC heading east to Smithers you will turn right on a gravel pit after the long straight stretch, before the curve, if you hit Susqua road at your left, turn back. Turn left at the forest service : Blue lake Follow the gravel road and park your truck the way to leave space for other truck.

Silver King Basin

This hike is pretty much just following an old mine road up to some old claims and Joe Lorsa Cabin. You can access this trail on horseback as well and there is stabling available behind the cabin. The grade of the trail is easy its a 17km round trip can be done as a day hike but there are lots of day hikes you can do once your in the basin. There’s silver king lake to explore that has petroglyphs. There’s old mine caves to explore and you could hike through Hyland pass and come down Cronin Creek road and end up on babine lake road. There’s so many possibilities in this basin. To reach the trail head turn off Highway 16 onto Old Babine Lake Road. This is three km east of Smithers or 300 metres east of the Bulkley River Bridge on Hwy 16. Follow BC Parks signs leading to “Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park” where you can stop for a picnic lunch and explore fossil beds. Continue past that park another 5 km to the trailhead parking and information kiosk. The road is gated at that point, with no motorized use beyond. Note that there are several other excellent trails starting in the same area. The Joe Lorsa cabin got built in 1999 by my Dad ( Driftwood Creek Log homes) This happened the year before I graduated from high school and I remember watching them move that cabin log by log by helicopter. 2 crews on in the basin and one where my Dad put it together. For more info on these see the BC Parks website http://wlapwww.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/babmtn.htm For more info on log homes http://www.driftwoodcreekloghomes.com