A steep climb leads to almost unlimited ridge walking along the ridge above Cobalt Creek and Vowell Creek. Spectacular views. Also gives access to two lakes. This hike is part of Bugaboo Provincial Park.
From the lights in Golden, drive south on Highway 95 for 63.0 km to the hamlet of Spillimacheen. Turn right on the Westside Road and cross the Columbia River valley. After 2.3 kilometres, turn left on the Westside Road. Do not take the Giant Mine Road. Follow the Westside Road for another 7.5 km through the forest to a Y, where there is a hayfield. Take the right hand fork for another 2.3 km, when you reach a four way intersection. Turn right and set your odometer to zero. You are now on the Bugaboo FSR. At 11.5 km, stay right. Do not take the left fork to Cartwright Lake. At 36.5 km, turn right on to the narrow and rough road with a Bugaboo Provincial Park sign. (If you get to the Canadian Mountain Holidays Bugaboo Lodge, you’ve gone too far.) Follow the extremely rough park road for 1.3 km to the Cobalt Lake trailhead. There is very limited parking here. You might have to drive another 1.6 km to the main Bugaboo parking area and walk back. See the note about chicken wire below.
Alternative approach: From the lights in Golden, drive 75.8 km south on Highway 95 to Brisco. Turn right on Brisco Road and follow it across the valley. In 5 km, you leave the valley and the pavement. Once you enter the forest, look for a left hand turn that goes up the hill. The road here is steep and sometimes rough, but it will get you to the four way intersection described above. The intersection is 7.1 km from the highway. Set your odometer to 0 and drive for 36.5 km, turn right on the rough road, and drive for 1.3 km to the trailhead, or 2.9 km to the parking area.
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