Diana Lake

Travel 4.4 miles with 2,200 feet gain along Pinnacle Creek through dense forest, transitioning to a diverse scenery of slide slopes, alpine meadows, and abundant subalpine larches, ending at Diana Lake. Explore beyond Diana Lake surrounded by the Brisco Range. Explorations up to 3 miles round trip and 1,250 feet gain beyond Diana Lake lead to Whitetail Pass and the Judge summit for sweeping views of the Diana Lake Valley.

Getting there

Directions to trailhead from Radium Hot Springs via Highway 95: Moderately high clearance AWD vehicle recommended for rough road sections and 1-2 stream crossings on upper Pinnacle Creek FS road near the trailhead. Drive highway 95 about 11.2 miles north of Radium. From the highway, turn east (right) onto Kindersley Pinnacle FS road (S of Spur Valley Resort road). At 3.2 miles from the highway, see one of oldest operating aquaduct water systems in western Canada with a wooden flume along the right side of road. Take the left fork at 4.5 miles, right fork at 4.9 miles, then the left fork at 5.4 miles and continue on Pinnacle Creek FS road. Take the left fork at 9 miles, right fork at 14.6 miles, and then arrive at the road end and trailhead parking, 14.9 miles from highway. Watch for Diana Lake signs enroute to trailhead.

Recommended guidebooks: Mountain Footsteps: Hikes in the East Kootenay of Southeastern British Columbia, 4th ed (Strong). Hikes Around the Columbia Valley (Mclellan & Strauss), and Hikes Around Invermere and the Columbia River Valley (Cameron and Gunn) for route details on the Judge.

Topo map (1:50,000):  Spillimacheen 82K/16.

on the trail

Diana Lake trail is popular during peak summer wildflower blooms (approx mid-July through early-August) and during early autumn's spectacular subalpine larch season (approx late September to early October). Immediately past the trailhead, the trail has eroded away (as of 9/2023) on steep slope. The better alternate route may require careful unbridged stream crossing, below the left side of road between the parking are and the trailhead, then travel on route to washed out old road toward bridged crossing (about 1/2 mile upstream). One or more unbridged crossings may be necessary before reaching accessible trail and bridged crossing. 

The trail climbs through forest along Pinnacle Creek, crossing some avalanche paths. At 2.2 miles, the trail crosses  a slide path, then turns uphill. At top of hill, the slope lessens and the lake may be reached in about an hour. Two primitive campsites and a nearby outhouse are located at the south end of the lake. From the lake, explore  through the upper bowl and ridges, ascend Whitehall Pass (7,585 ft) and the Judge (8,989 feet, the lone peak east of lake) for sweeping views of the larch studded valley below.

Options to explore beyond Diana Lake:  Follow the trail along the lakeshore to the north side of Diana Lake. Follow trail signs and flagging through larch forest. The trail becomes indistinct in meadows below the pass. Ascend the hill to Whitehall Pass below the Judge. Travel through the bowl towards the north end for about 1 mile, and over to the pass and the base of ridge. At the ridge, turn right and pick up the trail on ridge top. Follow the ridge edge, and for next mile, take in expanding views of Diana Lake valley below and Brisco Range, and more distant Bugaboos, Mount Assiniboine, Lake Windermere, and more. Bare light gray shaley col is encountered just before the Judge. Stop here if not comfortable with scrambling on the Judge. Route from here to the Judge summit is exposed moderate scramble and loose rock. On the route to the Judge, beware  of extreme drop-off on the ridge's east side.

Bear safe travel and camping practices are a must. Bears are occasionally seen or encountered soon after the trailhead, in slide paths and elsewhere. 

Chicken wire vehicle wraps (secured with sticks and stones) are recommended for overnight parking at the trailhead, to porcupine-proof  to avoid chewing damage on brake lines, hoses, wiring, undercoating, or tires. See online chicken wire wrap tips on West Kootenay Hiking or other websites.

Nearby front country camping:   Redstreak CG (Radium Hot Springs, Kootenay NP) and Dry Gulch Provincial Park (S of Radium Hot Springs).

Diana Lake Lodge and Teahouse:  dianalake.ca for info/reservations and 250-300-9150 (info recording) for specific weekly info/hours, lodge availability, and road conditions. Tea house may be open for day hikers for hot lunch and fresh baked goods. Private lodge is available for overnight bookings.  Public trail passes east and north of the  lodge.

Radium Hot Springs visitor centre (open year round), 7556 Main Street E, Radium HS, 250-347-9331. Excellent travel resource for East Kootenay region travel/accommodations, trail recommendations, NP brochures, and Kootenay NP info (summer to early fall). Gift shop sells guidebooks, maps, etc. Guidebooks also available at Four Points Books (Invermere).

See more trail details and photo links at: https://goldenhikes.ca/trail/diana-lake-the-judge/

  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking, Day Hiking
  • Seasons: June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Moderate/Strenuous
  • Length: 12.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,600 ft
  • 7,600 ft
  • Land Manager: British Columbia Recreation
  • Parking Permit Required: see Land Manager
  • Recommended Party Size: 6
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
Trip Reports

There are no resources for this route/place. Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.