Glory Basin & Kaslo Lake

Enjoy a premier, scenic day hike or backpack into heart of lake-studded glorious high country of Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park in British Columbia's Selkirk Mountains. Scramble to the 8,700 ft Keyhole for an up-close view of Kokanee Glacier and sweeping views of the Selkirk Mountains. Enjoy seasonal colors of abundant wildflowers, alpine larch, and occasional wildlife sightings including bears.

Getting There

From Canada Highway 3A, 12 miles northeast of Nelson, turn north into Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park and drive up Kokanee Creek for 10 miles to the Gibson Lake Trailhead (5,040 ft). Higher clearance or 4x4 vehicles may be recommended, especially early summer months. 

IMPORTANT NOTE

High clearance vehicle recommended. As the road could become rough and deteriorates before the trailhead, consider parking vehicles in a pullout or wide area along roadside. For overnight parking at or near trailhead, be sure to do precautionary chicken wire wrap including anchoring with sticks, lumber, and rocks around  the vehicle's base (ground to lower exterior coverage) to prevent damage to hoses, tires, brake linings, and the under carriage from gnawing of small mammals. 

On the Trail

Hike 4.7 miles from the Gibson Lake Trailhead to Kaslo Lake (6,470 feet) passing Kokanee and Garland Lakes. There are first-come, first-served  campsites, outhouse, metal food cache, and wastewater drain at the south end of Kaslo lake, and the ACC (Alpine Club of Canada) Kokanee Glacier Cabin which requires reservations is at the north end of the lake. The cabin has 20 bunks, a fully-equipped kitchen, electricity, water, and showers. Hike 5.7 miles with 1,300 feet of elevation gain from  Kaslo Lake to Glory Basin (7,870 ft) via Enterprise Pass.

Consider a side trip to Keyhole (8,700 feet)  for a view of the Kokanee Glacier. It is reached typically mid-summer to late summer depending on current ice/snow conditions via rough, steep unsigned trail starting at 6,500 ft ~4 miles from the Gibson Lake Trailhead. Turn right off of the Kokanee Lake Trail and follow unsigned trail as far as comfortable. The ascent continues on an increasingly faint boot path with a few helpful cairns. It requires some scrambling including negotiating a few difficult boulders on final steep pitch to Keyhole.

Notes

  • Bear safe travel and camping precautions are necessary while visiting amid the park's backcountry populated with grizzly bears during summer and early fall hiking andbackpacking season, especially during mid-late summer berry season. Bear spray is recommended.
  • Guidebook: Don't Waste Your Time in the West Kootenays: An Opinionated Hiking Guide by Kathy and Craig Copeland (Wilderness Press, 2000).
  • Guidebook: Where Locals Hike in the West Kootenay - the Premier Trails in Southeast B.C. near Kaslo and Nelson, 2nd ed. by Kathy and Craig Copeland (hikingcamping.com, 2005, updated  2007).
  • Learn more about the Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park and the Kokanee Glacier Cabin in The Spokesman Review and on hikebiketravel.com.

  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking, Day Hiking, Scrambling
  • Seasons: July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Moderate/Strenuous
  • Length: 21.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,830 ft
  • 7,870 ft
  • Land Manager: Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park
  • Parking Permit Required: None
  • Recommended Party Size: 6
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
Map
  • CNTS Kokanee Peak 82F/11
  • CNTS Slocan 82F/14
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