Gimli Ridge is a 5.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Slocan, British Columbia, Canada that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Mount Gimli (9100 ft) is situated at the south end of Valhalla Provincial Park in Southern British Columbia. The mountain is beautiful from all angles, but is particularly stunning when viewed from the south. A short, steep route to the very edge of Valhalla Provincial Park. Strangely shaped peaks and a birds-eye view of Mulvey Lake and basin are the reward on this outing; scrambles to the peak are optional. - Distance: 9.8 km (6 miles) round trip - Elevation gain: 765 m (2,500 ft) - Duration: 5 hours plus - Beautiful day hike with access to stunning scenery - One of only two alpine hikes in the Valhalla range - Opportunity to camp on an alpine ridge - Great climbing within close range First, it must be said, the way in is over 40km of dirt road, albeit quality dirt. There are some places where the road is very rocky, so drive slowly and bring a spare tire! As there are other hikes in the park, it would make sense to make a weekend of it. The trail starts off benign enough; a gentle wooded path through some shrubbery that soon comes to a bridged creek crossing. After the creek the trail begins to ascend, then soon steepens into treed switchbacks. The slope is not exactly knees-to-chin, but it is unrelenting. In about an hour, you break clear of the trees and continue to climb on more open hillside, soon glimpsing the first sight of the bizarre shark fin that is Mt. Gimli. 30 minutes later should find you at the edge of a talus hill, where a windbreak has been built from shale. The views into the valley are great, as is the looming Gimli. The trail continues directly up to the base of the fin, then two options have been tramped out - one staying high and requiring some scambling, the other dipping lower but exposed to drops. Crawling your way up Gimli is also a possibility, but allow for the extra time and excertion.
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.