This is one of the more memorable hikes that I have done in the past few years. Getting to British Columbia, and then to the border of Valhalla Provincial Park was a considerable part of this "day hike". I did this as a day hike, and a considerably long day it was indeed. Were I to do it again....correction...WHEN I do it again, I will certainly bring camping gear, and press further into Valhalla Provincial Park.
I will not sugarcoat the realities of this trail. It is pretty tough. Much of the ascent to Gimli Ridge consists of considerably steep switchback trails. These are not the steepest switchbacks one might encounter hiking, but be prepared for a lot of walking up and down. This is not a Sunday afternoon stroll through the park with grandma and a picnic basket.
The views along the way are well worth the energy expended getting there. The view from the top is a worthwhile reward. I did it while there were large forest fires south of the border in Washington, Idaho, and Montana, so the sky was a bit smokey, but still clear enough to see the majestic view all around.
Heading north on HWY 6 after Crescent Valley, watch for a sign for 'Slocan Park' - a few KM later on the left will be Passmore Upper Rd, take this and cross a bridge. Continue straight, the road curves and a sign for Valhalla (40km) greets you. The km markers count down from this end, bear that in mind. Pavement ends soon after. Gravel road is 2wd appropriate, the last 2km of switchbacks to the trailhead have some rock debris, but no big deal.
Signs for Valhalla are clear at any major fork - continue along Little Slocan FSR. At about the 22km sign you will come across Little Slocan Lake FS Rec site - a great spot to free camp if doing Gimli or Gwillim lakes. A few meters later is a sign for Drinnon Pass, which is another hike in the park.
Continue straight until just after the 15km marker, take a sharp (signed) left to a T intersection that is unsigned, go left again. The km markers now start at 0.
At 5km stay right at the ambiguously placed sign. After 10km mark, stay left.
Again, most forks are signed unless the main road is obvious.
A beautiful drive that I took for 9 days straight, and I loved every second of it! It's a highway that you won't mind being stuck behind truckers trying to make their climb in front of you. Don't forget to check out beautiful Yoho National Park, as it's on the way!
Campbell River is also the gateway to the largest park on Vancouver Island and the oldest provincial park in BC: Strathcona. Driving west on Hwy 28, enter 500,000 acres of luscious wilderness. A paved road travels the length of beautiful Buttle Lake where there are not only hiking trails galore, but also fresh water swimming, picnicking, boating, fishing and camping.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on trails in Strathcona Park and follow the Strathcona Wilderness Institute to find out more about guided day trips and overnight treks into the park’s spectacular, untamed backcountry.
Russ J. on Fraser Canyon: Hope to Lillooet
Call the fine folks at Fraser River Raft Expeditions and view the canyon by boat.