By Laura Keil
Valemount and area has some spectacular waterfalls, some easily accessible, others more difficult to reach. Here are my favourites.
Hawaii, BC trail
- Distance/Elevation: 1.2km return, 100m elevation to the main ridge viewpoint (benches)
- Best parts: Lush forest, stunning waterfalls cascading down the mountain, waterfall mist, and great photo opps.
- Trail description: The route ascends through a slide area, meandering through thickets of slide alder before emerging onto a rocky look-out with views of glacier-fed waterfalls and Kinbasket Lake. Two rope-assisted routes also descend to the base of the waterfalls. Watch out for: stinging nettle, bears, slippery wet rocks & drop-offs near the base of the falls
- Trailhead coordinates: 52.687851, -119.066831. The trailhead is about 20 feet prior to the 15km marker on the West Canoe Forest Service Road. CAUTION: there is active logging on this road.
Teepee Creek (Mt. Terry Fox lower route)
- Distance/Elevation: 12km return, 840m elevation to the lake
- Best parts: the Teepee Lake trail opens onto some truly stunning vistas, and traverses through wet alpine lands and waterfalls big and small. The waterfalls and rocky peaks jutting up from the narrow valley are two of this trail’s best features. Other features include the wildflowers that bloom here in spring, and the berries that ripen in late summer.
- Trail description: The trails offer a there-and-back option, as well as a Big Rock/Lower Teepee Lake Loop with a return trip distance of 13 km and a total elevation gain of 950m. From the Big Rock trail, hikers can access the upper portion of the old Terry Fox trail and reach the peak where a monument to Terry Fox is placed. The myriad water features along this trail include underground streams that flow just below the surface of the tree roots in the forest. Reaching the sub-alpine just prior to the lake took us about three hours, with two hours to descend the mountain.
- Trailhead Coordinates: Head towards the old Terry Fox trailhead, then instead of going to the old parking lot, take the fork to the right that says Teepee Creek. Follow the road up to the trailhead (at one point, there will be a sharp U-turn to the left).
Lily Meadows (Bulldog Creek)
- Distance/Elevation: 8.4 km return, elevation 800m
- Best Parts: Stunning view of Kinbasket from the top of a waterfall! Alpine flowers (yellow lilies from late-June to early July), meadows, huge bluffs, alpine lakes.
- Trail description: Once you cross the alpine meadow and reach the lake, you can follow the lake west where the water flows down a cliff. The waterfall isn’t huge, and nimble hikers can stand next to where it drops and get an unparalleled view of the Kinbasket Lake valley. The descent gets tricky from here; it is very steep and you have to pick your way down another rockslide just beyond the waterfall. Route finding is also a problem and it’s easy to lose your way if you veer from the creek. The descent follows Horse Creek closely until it meets up with the old better-tread trail. A GPS device is useful here.
- Trailhead Coordinates: 52.666797°, -118.974782°
- Distance/Elevation: 400m return, elevation 30m
- Best parts: From the viewing platform, you can stand at the top of a massive waterfall on the upper Fraser River!
- Trail description: hard packed wide trail, occasional soggy spots, a few steeper sections. Viewing platform has a ramp for those who can’t do stairs.
- Trailhead coordinates: 52.975191°, -119.363978°
- Distance/Elevation: 600m, 5km
- Best parts: Views of the Fraser River canyon & Overlander falls; historic sites.
- Trail description: This is a gentle hike with two different routes to the falls. The longer trail follows the Fraser River and gives way to several beautiful views of the canyon below. You’ll also discover the historic Hogan’s Cabin along this trail. On the longer trail there are some narrow sections that drop off steeply and would not be good for someone with a severe fear of heights.
- Trailhead coordinates: (1st parking) 53.031226°, -119.208004°; (2nd parking) 53.028177°, -119.230594°