Parker Ridge Trail

Parker ridge was the third hike we did while in jasper but this trail is actually in Banff it’s just past the Columbia Ice fields. Anyone hiking in this area it’s a must see. The views are amazing from the top. It’s about 5km round trip and it’s a well worn trail. There’s switch backs but it’s a moderate hike. There’s a 250 meter elevation gain. The Saskatchewan glacier is in full view once you get to the top. You can either go down alone the ridge or up. Lots of little critters running around up there. If you want to beat the crowds early morning or evening would be the best time to go. Plus you’ll be the heat in the summer. 

Elk Island National Park

Elk Island is a massive park just outside Edmonton it has tons of trails and lakes and so many options for different things to do. Sonya and I did the first trail after the bison loop it was about 11km hike, for us it was easy since we’re use to going up mountains we did it in about 2.5 hrs. The bugs were really bad and we forgot bug spray. Halfway thru we met a couple who let us use there’s. We didn’t see any wildlife other then a frog the whole loop. 

West Coast Trail

So I finally got home from doing the west coast trail. IT was long and wet and gray and rainy, the sun came out in the last kilometer of the hike. Which we gps’d and its not 75km it was 101km. Sonya and I did this hike in 6 days but knowing what I know now I probably would’ve done it in 7 or 8 days so you can enjoy the trail more. We had some long intense days in the beginning, we started from Port Renfrew and worked our way north. The first day e we’re doing about 1 km in an hour and 15 minutes so we didn’t make it to campers bay cause we didn’t’ want to hike in the dark so we set up camp at trisle creek about 1/2km away.  Day 2 was ladder day, which we thought was ladders all day long turned out to be extensive boardwalks thru bogs and 3 sets of very high ladders over Sandstone Creek, Culite Creek and Logan Creek. I pulled my tricep muscle in the bog area after the first set of ladders so the rest of the day was fun. The suspension bridge over Logan creek I almost didn’t make it over( I’m scared of heights and that bridge was swaying pretty good from the wind). We set up camp at Walbran Creek. Day 3 was beach day and Chez Monique’s so it was a nice easy day with a burger that I only managed to eat half of because it was so big. Got into Cribs creek around 2 so we set up camp and had a nice relaxing afternoon. Day 4 was out longest day we had a ferry to catch at Nitinat narrows another place you can have fresh salmon and crab cooked for you. We managed to get to the hole in the wall when the tide was going out and continued to Tsusiat falls campsite. Night 4 it poured so hard all night. Day 5 was wait for a break in the rain,pack our stuff and go. Huge ladders back up to the main trail. This day we saw a bear at 18km and had 2 river crossings which were hard because they were so swollen from the rain and the tide was coming in but we made it to Michigan creek and this is our last night on the trail. Day 6 we did in 4.75 hours which was about 16km and we we’re so done, tired of being wet. This trail was beautiful. I wish the weather was better so we couldve seen more of the views.

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

 

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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