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Kootenay Backroads 2015

public forum -- share our road access comments.


Post Your Road Conditions Comment Here!
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What did you find out on the remote back roads!


The BC Sites and Trails website.

You must know the trail name from a list of the entire province sites.



There are a couple of BC Government websites
that may also post road and trail information.

(These are not completely current, but they are a guideline to what is open or closed.)

Here is the BC Government Rocky Mountain Forest District Road-Work Website.


The Summit Trail Makers Society - are a fabulous group that repairs and restores the local hiking trails.

2015 Road Forum
Date Road Name Description, Location, or GPS coordinates Other Details Sent From

Aug 1, 2015

Bugaboo Area, Silver Basin Road, Chalice Creek and Rocky Point

Silver Basin road, the logging company has completely rebuilt the Silver Basin Road and you can drive past the culverts right to the trail head. They have also re-decked the bridge that crosses Bugaboo Creek. (I have heard that they intend to log all the way around to Bugaboo Pass, I hope it will not be a massive clear cut but based on what they have done on the Septet Creek side I am expecting the worst.)

Wildflowers are amazing in Rockypoint Basin and Ridge, upper Chalice Creek near the Tarn, and along the creeks in Silver Basin.


July 31, 2015

Evans Mountain Trail and Road

Further to my note of 22 July, went back on 31 July to cut out the blow downs at the beginning of the Mt. Evans trail as well as clear the brush at the trailhead; it`s now easy going with trees off almost all of the trail to the basin. Leaving the Mt. Evans trailhead.

I then continued driving up the rebuilt Fiddler Creek Road for a couple of kilometers to the landing to check out the condition of the Mallandaine Pass Trail. If you have an old vehicle and don`t care about some scratches you can drive a kilometer or so further to another landing. Here there is a rough bulldozer track that cuts off to the right and up the side of the valley, presumably in preparation for logging the west side. The track ends after a couple of kilometers at a small landing but it does give great views of the back side of Mt. Evans.

The Mallandaine trail itself continues straight ahead from the last landing and while the trail is visible, you`ll be thrashing through thick alders that completely cover the trail. After a few kilometers the trail peters out and in doing some route finding I did stumble on a large tent-like structure covered in plastic and lumber wrap that is obviously in use by persons unknown - likely a hunting camp. The general route leading on to the Mallandaine Pass or up to connect with the Mt. Evans trail is obvious but would be best accomplished with a partner (and maybe a GPS) but that is something for another day.

Some details of the Mallandaine Pass trail at the BC government Recreation Trail site.


July 30, 2015

Forster Creek Road - Welsh Lake

Today we drove up the Forster Creek FSR, crossing over from the Horsethief FSR, on the way to Welsh lakes. The road is in generally good shape until about 1/2 dozen km from the Welsh lower parking area. That latter stretch is indeed badly rutted but passable on a DRY day in a high clearance, solid 2WD.

On wetter days a serious 4X4 is recommended.

There has been some machine work along the road possibly in preparation for logging and spur road construction in that area.

About 2 to 3 km from the Welsh Lakes lower parking area we were stopped by a run down wooden bridge crossing a small creek, maybe 7m in length. The decking at both ends was so dilapidated as to be dangerous for any vehicle. I stepped onto what looked like one of the few solid deck planks and my foot went right through it. Our vehicle is a relatively heavy 4x4 and I was not willing to chance crossing this wreck of a bridge. As we were late in the day we did not have time to complete the hike.

Hopefully some attention can be paid to this structure as this is spectacular area worthy of good access.

BC Forest Service notes on their website
Forester Creek FSR will be closed periodically from 18km to 35km for bridge replacements between August 15 to October 15.


July 30, 2015

Brewer Creek Road - Trail to Brewer Tarns

Road in very good shape, except for an old washout about 2km from Brewer trailhead. Washout is old and it's hard and dry. Many vehicles have driven over it including our SUV.

Trail in excellent shape, much improved to all 3 tarns.


July 29, 2015

Common Road Questions

I would love to get to the Height of the Rockies to do Russell Peak, Limestone Lakes It is beautiful but very rugged hike to get in there. I don't know about the roads this year.

Ralph & Queen Mary Lakes & King George Peak. Not recommended for hiking to Queen Mary Lake, unless you are on horseback - dozens of creek crossings. I have heard and most of the area is now in a large old burned area.

Whiteswan FSR & North White River FSR We will find out this weekend.

Kootenay Palliser FSR usually in good shape.

Albert Road Closed not sure where the closer is compared to the Ralph turnoff.

Spllimacheen FSR & McMurdo Creek FSR For Silent Pass hike and McMurco Hut and on to International Basin. Road Usually in good shape for a pickup truck 2WD.

Lakes Francis Creek FSR for Shangri-La Last year Frances Creek Road was in good shape, so I haven’t heard otherwise. Do not drive a truck up the side road up toward Shangri-la. Take an ATV as the road up is terrible and very likely it is gone. AlthoughI haven’t heard what it is like this year.

Elk Lakes Provincial Park Most of the trails are closed for most of the 2015 only a portion of the trails are open this year. See BC parks website.

Horsethief Creek FSR - Hanging Glaciers Road is usually in good shape road and trail. Although I heard the hike is a couple kms longer due to bridge removal.

Toby FSR - Mt Nelson I don’t know about that hike or access.

Wild Horse FSR for Bear Lake Rough road but 4x4 can do it large rocky sections and one creek crossing.


Aug 26, 2015

Summer Lake Road

Summer Lake Road is open for pickups and SUVs this season.


July 26, 2015

Grey Creek Pass Road

Drove west to east from The Gray Creek store to Kimberley. Our vehicle is a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk with all the off road trimmings. Road up to the summit from Crawford Bay side is in very good shape, appears well maintained with no obstacles or impediments up to Oliver Lake site and onto summit.

Heading down from the summit towards St Mary Valley and Kimberley, the road has several km of very rough, rocky sections with irregular surface. Some water incursion was present as well as washboarding from skidding, slipping 2WD vehicles on the road.

This section of the road should not be attempted in a 2WD vehicle. A solid 4WD of 4Runner, real Jeep or heavy duty 4x4 P/U is needed, if for nothing else than to preserve the road surface.

Road improves progressively down to Redding creek section and improves further to St Mary valley road.


July 22, 2015

Mount Evans Trail from Meachen Creek FSR

On 22 July we did the Mt. Evans hike to the head wall. The trail is still in great shape and a testament to the Evans brothers` skill and hard work in building the trail 100 years ago. There are a few blow downs at the start of the trail and the route from the cabin across the talus slopes up to the last mining trench at the head wall has a few rough spots due to avalanches and rock slides pushing rocks onto the trail.

None of the colonies of pikas that were always there in the past were noted and it is possible that the hot dry weather has done them in - due to their high body temperature (104 F) a pika dies if exposed to 80 F temperatures for 30 minutes.

For those who have not done the hike in the last few years, there is now a new and greatly-improved access road from the Meachen Creek FSR (at the hard-to-see 14km sign) leading to the trail head, and beyond. The sign for the trail itself is almost invisible due to brush but there is flagging to indicate the start point. This spot and the blow downs will get cleaned out later. Parking is available just beyond the trail head but it means getting off the road and close to a deep ditch.

P.S. If you plan to do another issue of Mountain Footsteps, I suggest you put this one back in the book as it`s still a great day hike.


July 20, 2015

Forester Creek Road to Thunderwater Lake trail.

The road is very rough, with lengthwise ruts along it from vehicles driving in muddy conditions and making ruts down the road surface.

It took us 6 hours to reach Thunderwater Lake. Spectacular place but it's work to get to.

The hot dry weather recently has increased the melting glaciers, making the creek crossings more numerous and with deeper water than in other years.


July 12, 2015

Ptarmigan Lake, White Swan area.

The road is in Ok shape. But the Forest Service or logging company pulled out the last 3-4 kms of the road access. It makes the hike that much longer.

The trailhead was hard to find at the end of the road as logging has slashed out the bottom part of the trail. Once we found the steep trail it had many blow-downs on it.


June 5, 2015

More on White River Roads
see post below June 10

FORSYTH BRIDGE at 59KM: The washout is now crossable at Middle White River, just past Mt Forsyth Rec Site bridge at 59km. CanFor saved the road and put two loads of crushed rock over the culvert section just in time. That section was eroding and getting pretty deep. The flooding further along is only a foot deep, with a gentle current, with a solid gravel bottom, and can be crossed. But keep to the left side of the road, since it's deeper on the right side.

Forsythe Rec Site Flooding, culvert visible by front of car.

66KM: The wooden Seena Creek Bridge at 66km is fine.

MAIYUK REC SITE Bridge at 68km The Middle White River road at 67.9KM is still washed out at the culvert just before the bridge, and reports are it won't be fixed until Sept 2015. Washout cutting through the Middle White River road, exposing the culvert. Note the yellow "narrow bridge" sign, with the intact bridge just 100 metres behind.

FORD: Some people have been driving across a ford just downstream of it, going through 18 inches of water with a solid sand and gravel bottom. The washed out road behind, looking North towards (likely) distant Mt Joffre & Mt Neville. There are some dead trees fallen across the river further downstream that a person can walk over.

Interesting to note: Fording: 18 inches is max for my car according to Jeep: "the Patriot has high-mounted drivetrain vent tubes to support 18-inch water fording capability." Any deeper than that, and the hot differential will cool in the ice water and suck in water through the top air vent tube. One tip is to wait and let it cool for ten minutes before driving across, then drive really slow so you don't make waves and splash it up. If you get water in your oil, you'll have to change it, or it can blow seals, corrode gears and do other damage.
There are some mulchers working in the area, cutting four foot wide swathes into the thick carpet of replanted pine trees. The pines grew back really thick like a jungle, and are now 6 foot tall.

I did not have time to post your photos with this post. Sorry Rick - JS


July 5, 2015

Teepee Mountain to Saddleback Trail

We did turned out to be a 20 hr hike...and of course we should have followed your advice and do Saddleback to Teepee. I'm not sure if we didn't find the right trail down or if we lost the trail somewhere on the descent...but we lost quite some time hacking through the bushes coming down from Saddleback...;-) Also, the descent from Teepee to the ridge was borderline and rather dangerous. I think if I ever approach it again, I would bypass Teepee. Coming from Mt. Stevens, there is a little valley on the right which looks easy accessible (emphasis on looks like, since I have not tried it) and there should be an easy ascent from there to the ridge line.

I just posted a blog about it with lots of images: See it here.

As soon as it cools down a bit I will hike up Saddleback Ridge to see where we went wrong. Other than that it is quite spectacular up there.


July 4, 2015

Jumbo Pass road and trail

The road is excellent with all the new bridges, (but they pulled the last bridge after the trailhead on the way to the Jumbo/Developemtnt area. I guess they don't want anyone to see it.)

The trail is in good shape all the way to the top with several blown-down trees but accessible. Very busy with campers near the top tarns.


June 25, 2015

Cliff Lake Road Access and "Trail"

The road was OK, but the trail is really hard. Lots of blow-downs along the lower part and the upper sections are almost completely overgrown with alders. It was very hard to find the way up there. Exhausting, but we made it


June 24, 2015

HourGlass Lake Trail

Hiked up to Upper Hourglass Lake the morning of 24 June. Trail in good shape all the way to the talus slope and plenty of snow on the slope made for a very fast round trip from truck to the upper lake and back (note: requires caution not to lose control on snow). Plenty of snow on the hills and shoreline around the upper lake and not many wildflowers as yet.

P.S. thanks for hosting the Back Roads Forum on your web site - it`s very useful.


June 22, 2015

Meachen Creek Road to White Boar, HourGlass and Haystack

Up to White Boar Lake today. Road has a few large boulders on it at the beginning. Vehicles are still able to pass. Main road up has a bit of potholes, didn't notice any ruts or washboard. Branch off going up to White Boar was cobbled and a bit rough. Starting to become over grown. We were on a quad. Sides of a vehicle would most likely have the branches brush against them. A bit rutty from the run off waters. There was an SUV that didn't have much clearance in the parking lot. A jeep and a truck parked also.

Muddy at the entrance to the lake and the mosquitos were quite thick. Still unable to hike Around the lake due to slides from the past years. Glacier looked nice. A large crack in it and a few chunks bobbing around in the lake.

After White Boar we ventured the road to Hourglass Lake. Clear. Trucks and a smaller car in parking area.

Traveled up to Haystack entrance. Road narrowed. Quad worthy. Would only take a vehicle...truck... as far as the Haystack sign.


June 10, 2015

White River Washouts Forsythe River

Went up White Swan Road to Middle White River and Forsythe Creek and much of the roads are badly washed out.

See this link for amazing images.

Some taken from a flying drone over the road.


June 10, 2015

Elk Lakes Provincial Park

Most of the main trails in the popular part of the park will be closed all 2015. They were also closed all of 2014 season too.

Link for the Elk Lakes Park Trail Report


June 15, 2015

Perry Creek Road to Richmond Lake Trailhead

Hiked into Richmond Lake today. Trail is muddy and in some spots run off is occuring on trail. Trail still has snow around in spots by lake.


June 16, 2015

Mause Creek Road and Trail to Tanglefoot Lake

Here is just a quick report on Tanglefoot Lake. The access road is all clear, just a few little creeks running through. The trail is just like last year, still lots of debris from the big storm, but with the "short cut" easy to bypass.
Even though, it was a gorgeous hike with all the Glacier Lilies out and the weather being so nice.

The area around the tarns seems just to have thawed off and the lake is not yet accessible, the backside, right after tanglefoot Pass is still covered with snow...just as you predicted.


June 17, 2015

Baker Lake Redding Creek FSR

Drive to Baker Lake. Tried to get to Baker Lake on 16/06/2015. There is active logging just past Alki Creek, and first 2km of Redding Creek. The Redding Creek road is rough and bouncy. The Baker Lake/Baker Creek road is starting to washout and growing in badly. Never made it to trail head as second bridge is totaly washed out. Only way around is with quad.
Nice day for drive however.


2014 Road Forum

2013 Road Forum

2012 Road Forum

2011 Road Forum

2010 Road Forum

2009 Road Forum

2008 Road Forum

Also share your backcountry experiences of any kind with me! Save everyone the frustration of driving for hours on a backroad only to find the last bridge has been pulled or there is a huge impassible washout. Also tell us about the roads that are new, or rebuilt.

The East Kootenay stretches for 200 km north and south in the southeastern part of BC between the summits of the impressive Canadian Rockies and the height-of-land in the rugged Purcell Mountains. See Kootenay Maps

**** Janice Strong's Hiking Guide Book to the East Kootenay / Southeastern BC
Mountain Footsteps

**** See Also the Updates for Mountain Footsteps the Hiking Guide Book


Thanks to Summit Trail Builders in the Invermere area for their volunteer trail work.