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Trip

Backpack - Gwillim Lakes Basin

3-day relaxed-pace and photo-oriented backpack to one of BC's most beautiful back country areas in Selkirk Mountains. Spectacular scenery amid dozens of lakes and tarns, towering granite peaks, meadows with abundant colorful wildflowers, and small to large wildlife viewing. Submit leader permission requests beginning on April 18.

  • Moderate/Strenuous
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 15.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,180 ft
  • Pace: 1 - 1.5 uphill

7/22 7:00 am  Springer Creek RV Park, Slocan Lake BC.  Convoy/carpool approx 1.5 hr drive to TH parking

Note:  Leader will get update on road condition of last 2.4km (~1.5 mi) before TH, which may need to be walked if too rough for most AWD vehicles (even 4x4 high clearance).  Alternate alternate parking area within approx 1.5 mi of TH.

3/31:  More details to follow.  Priority to backpackers joining follow on 7/6-29 backpack to Glory Basin/Kokanee Glacier Prov Park (BC).

Read all leader notes and route/place including links, before submitting request for leader permission. 

Submit leader permission request forms beginning April 18, including complete responses to all requested info:   examples of your recent (last 12-24 mo) Mountaineers and private 3+day moderate to strenuous backpacks (incl location, mileage, elev gain), planned backpacks between now and 7/22, primary interest(s) (photography, backpacking, other) in this particular trip, comfort/experience with travel over potential early summer snow fields, comfort/experience with back country travel/camping in grizzly habitat and carrying bear spray, interest in joining Gwillim Lakes backpack only or both Gwillim Lakes and 7/26-29 Glory Basin/Kaslo Lake backpacks, transportation plans (drive or need ride, carpool interest), have current passport for border crossing, and commitment level for this backpack.

Explore and photograph Valhalla's Gwillim Lake Basin and surrounding area, perhaps the most beautiful and enchanting back country area in the West Kootenay's Selkirk Mountains.  As you ascend the trail toward Gwillim Lakes, you'll pass through colorful wildflower meadows, lovely lakes (Wicca, Drinnon) and scenic Drinnon Pass before entering the idyllic Gwillim Lakes Basin reflecting surrounding spectacular scenery and some with curving offshore lush greenery.  Beyond the main Gwillim Lakes Basin, we will explore the upper Gwillim Lakes and an offtrail route toward Lucifer Pass for ever expansive views of Valhalla's many lakes and peaks.  Relaxed pace to moderate pace, to accommodate photo opportunities near camp and occasional stops along trails/routes. 

Daily itinerary: 

Day 1:  TH via Wicca, Drinnon Lake and Pass to main Gwillim Lakes Basin and campsites.  Explore Gwillim Lakes Basin and afternoon/evening hiking, photography, relaxing.  Approx 5 miles, 2300' gain and 480' loss.

Day 2:  Sunrise/early AM photos in main lakes basin.  Partial day hike, trail and route, to upper Gwillim Lakes Basin and toward Lucifer Pass.  Approx 3 miles, 1400' gain and loss.

Day 3:  Return to TH mid-afternoon or earlier.  Approx 5 miles, 480' gain and 2300' loss.  Enjoy time at main lake basin for photos, swim, relaxing.

Back country camps at Gwillim Lakes (also Drinnon Lake & Drinnon Pass.  No back country camp fees.  Camps have tent pads, pit toilets, secure bear-proof food storage.

Grizzly safe travel and camping practices required.  Bear spray required. 

Links to trail description/photos:

https://westkootenayhiking.ca/gwillim-lakes/

https://hikebiketravel.com/valhalla-provincial-park-for-one-of-the-best-hikes-in-bc/

 Snowfree trails. Conditions report:  https://nrs.objectstore.gov.bc.ca/kuwyyf/valhalla_trail_report_5a4d20bc24.pdf

Be aware of 7.5-8 hours approx drive time from Seattle to Slocan or Nelson, BC area.  High clearance vehicles (and at least 1 full spare tire) recommended for travel on gravel/dirt forest roads accessing trailheads in Kootenay region.

Route/Place

Gwillim Lakes Basin


Roster
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
  • Bear spray
  • Trekking poles recommended
Trip Reports