By Laura Keil
A new hiking trail that makes use of an existing ski touring cabin has been roughed-in, affording access to an alpine basin with stunning lakes, mountain peaks and boulder fields.
The current trail involves some route-finding at various points where the flagging ends and some gingerly crossings of rotten bridges, but once it’s brought up to the same standard as other local trails, it will
be another fantastic offering in Valemount’s hiking roster.
The distance of this trail is deceiving – only 4.5km to the back of the basin where you’ll find three scenic alpine lakes below a ridge. It’s the elevation (700m), the sidehilling, and the boulder hopping that make
this trail more varied and more strenuous. At a slow and steady pace, taking some short breaks, two
of us ascended to the lakes in just under four hours from the trailhead.
It took just over 2h to descend.
The day we hiked was very smoky so we didn’t get any views until the very top. The alpine basin was
pristine and lovely, with streams flowing under the alpine peat in one area, and tablets of white rock in
another. An inviting alpine meadow crested up to one of the ridges, beckoning us further in. On the
other side of the ridge, out of view, is another basin, followed by the slope that slips down into Kinbasket Lake.
Locating the trailhead is a bit tricky. On Hwy 5, just before Clemina Creek, there is a pipeline/ logging road that ascends steeply (on the left hand side if you’re heading south). About 3km down the road, there’s another steep FSR on your left with a very small hiker symbol marking it. Take this road
several more km until you pass a large ditch (high clearance essential) and about 1km beyond that is the
trailhead, marked by a yellow sign with a cabin and the letters YORA (which stands for Yellowhead
Outdoor Recreation Association).
For more information on trails in the region, including maps, photos and GPS tracks, visit www.valemounttrails.com