This 2 hour (each way) hike is well worth it if you are looking for a good workout and a beautiful sight at the top. Briefly the pro’s and cons of this hike are:
– Stunning beauty all along the way
– Mostly shaded by large trees and brush
– Lots of fresh glacier water along the trail to cool off your body
– Reasonably short hike for such a gorgeous destination. You can camp at the Lake and hike / mountain climb further to the peaks if you are experienced.
– Not too far from major roads and towns and great for a day hike.
– Logging roads are not marked as clearly as you might like it to be. The key way to get to the Trail head is to ignore everything you read about how to find the trail head and follow the Brown signs from the Vernon Outdoors Club (VOC). At some forks in the road all you will see is a small little arrow… follow it! At other forks the sings tell you which trail the fork leads to. This is the most sure way to get to where you want to go.
– Road gets rough and rocky at the last fork to the trail head… if you’re driving in a car you might not want to go forward… backing up is scary on some of the very narrow/rocky spots.
– Almost a gurantee you WILL get wet and muddy. Unless your balance (and everyone else who you may be helping) is perfect you will fall into water.
– LOTS of bugs and horse flies, ESPECIALLY at the top. We sae lots of hikers with shorts and t-shirts, and some taking toddlers up wearing the same! DON’T DO IT! Clothe yourself responsibly for bugs and cooler temps at the top.
– Trail often branches off to different paths which will lead you astray (happened to us a few times). MAKE SURE you use the flowing river as your guide.. it leads to the Lake. Most of the trail follows the right hand side of the river/water falls once you cross over the river at the large dip where the trail forks to the left of the river and down and across the river. Go down and across the river into a mess of broken tress from a past avalanche. You’ll see many avalanche areas skewing the trail.
– Prepare for dangerous wildlife, grizzlies etc.. are known to be in the area, carry some kind of protection in case of emergency (make moderate noise to let them know you are around). It won’t be easy to get down quickly if something happens.
The story of our hike:
We left Vernon at 8:15 am and arrived at the trailhead at around 10:am. Once you pass the Gold Pan Cafe, it is the first logging road and your left (called South Fork) but DON’T take the llogging road ALSO named south fork before the gold pan cafe, and DON’T ask people in the cafe for directions, they didn’t seem to know what we were looking for but gave us confident advice to continue doen the main highway for 30 minutes before turning! Follow those Brown VOC (Vernon Outdoors Club) signs as they are the key to success. This trip I took Jacob (15), Isaac (9) and Timothy(8) along and we had a great time. Thye Lake is VERY cold being a glacier lake but you can take quick / shallow dips to cool off. Be careful as the water is VERY cold and it is possibleto go into shock should you go in deep and long enough or dunk your head in the water at a place colkd enough. Overall the trail was an excellent adventure that we will never forget. I would recommend people use google earth to scope out the area to get a general idea of the landscape and always OVER prepare or you’ll be sorry.