Your best bang for the buck in Valhalla country - this trail takes you into high ground quickly, and has no shortage of lakes, tarns, wildflowers and dragon-tooth peaks. Three campsites give several options for overnighting.
Soon after leaving the lot you cross a beautiful creek with several pools above and below the bridge. The trail then winds gently through valley steeped in greenery, and passes through a large slide-path. A modicum of a trail has been hacked and trampled through the avalanche debris, but stay aware of flagging to keep you on the right path.
You then emerge from the valley at a boulder field. If you squint, you can actually see the trail materialize along flat stones. Find the dirt path on the other side - the next, short stone spill is tougher to discern, just aim for where the rock wall meets the plants, the trail reappears shortly below there.
After a short switchback, you suddenly find yourself at Drinnon Lake (45mins from car) and the first campsite. The lake is nice, nothing mind-blowing, but less buggy than the others (which isn't saying much, but less is good, right?).
The trail continues left over a small bridge and immediately climbs 100m to the pass, where it levels out through wildflowers. It drops ever so slightly to Wicca Lake and the 2nd campsite. Just as you reach the lakeshore, the trail to the right skirts the shore for a different view, and reaches some tent pads.
Main trail continues forward and then drops 150m to a swampy basin with a small lake and a few creek crossings (and more than a few buzzing demons). Note - this is where my GPS died.
Trail continues regardless - at the end of the moist flats, it climbs 250m to the open, meadowy basin of Gwillim Lakes.
Note - porcupines reign in the parking lot - bring wire for the tires.
Long, long way on dirt. About 1.25 hours from the highway. 2wd fine until last 2km.
The park access from north (Slocan) and south (Castlegar/Nelson) is different, the following description is from the south.
Take hwy 6 through Slocan Park and watch for Passmore Upper Rd on the left. Take this and cross a bridge, stay straight at the fork, then road curves north and pavement ends. The km markers count backwards from 45 at this end. All major forks are signed 'Valhalla' to keep you on course - soon you are on Little Slocan FSR. At about 22km marker, come to Little Slocan Lake FS rec site - a nice place to spend a free night camping. Meters later, take a signed left for "Drinnon Pass".
KM markers start at 0 now - again, all unclear forks are signed. A little after km 18, stay left, and then right. Low clearance cars may want to park here, as the 1st km of the next 2 to the lot is downright ugly - reminded me of an old creekbed.
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Posted By: Jude
- Tue Jun 07 01:19:14 UTC 2016
QuestionWanting to go hiking Thur June 9, 2016 - do you think we will hit much snow? It is so warm I wonder if it will be melted up there?ANSWERS are in this forum: Gwillam Lakes - Valhalla Park
Posted By: passmore
- Fri Jun 19 01:00:14 UTC 2015
Commentthe km markers have been changed in 2015 and now count up from the end of Passmore road,rather than down from 45km, so the turnoffs for Little Slocan Lake and Drinnon Pass are a bit further, past 23km.
Posted By: Teneighty23
- Mon Feb 06 00:28:21 UTC 2012
UpsideEverything DownsideNothing. CommentOne of the most beautiful hikes I have done to date. so many places to explore and the location of the campsite is amazing too.