Kamloops Lake Trek – Tranquille to Copper Creek
Posted on: May 14, 2019 9:43 pm
by: Doug Smith
There are no trails that go around Kamloops Lake. There are too many bluffs that go right to the lake. There are railway lines on both sides and there are private property sections on the south side. Over the years we have hiked almost every hill and slopes overlooking the lake, we have been to many of the beaches and shoreline sections by kayak or by hiking down to the lake, and we have walked, hiked, or biked as many of the single and double tracks as we can. We had never hiked all the way from the east end of the lake to the west end, until we did that in 2 days this April. We started on the Dewdrop Range above the east end of the lake and we hiked west. there are double tracks to follow from the Tranquille – Criss Creek Road all the way to 18 Mile Ranch, but we often chose lesser-used routes instead to minimize up and down and to avoid vehicle -used roads. From the start, we traversed to Dewdrop Ridge and went cross country to pick up the unmarked Bluebird Trail.
Km. 0.5 – Dewdrop Ridge
We could have followed the Frederick Road, but we chose to hike across the hills instead as we went west. The benchlands of the Dewdrop Range lie between Dewdrop Ridge and the escarpment of Red Plateau.
6 Km Frederick Road
We rejoined the Frederick Road for a short distance before angling back up to the benchland, passing by Elephant Rock on the way.
7.5 Km – Dewdrop Range
We followed old sidetracks along the Dewdrop Range, turning to the upper road when the lower road went down to Red Point. A long detour gets around a deep gully there.
12 Km – Peregrine Bluffs
Once past the gully a rougher double track winds down the southeast slopes of Rousseau Hill toward Peregrine Bluffs. We had lunch on top of the bluffs.
As hiked along the colorful and ragged landscape a flock of sandhill cranes flew overhead.
From the viewpoints along the shoulder of Rousseau Hill we could look back to see the route we had taken. Red Point is in the foregound.
The whole south side of Rousseau Hill is ragged volcanic rock. The double track we followed wound through gullies and over ridges before descending down to the lakeshore area near the railway line.
An old homestead/ranch once was occupied on both sides of the CNR line in this area. A private crossing of the line led to an old overgrown track below the rail line. I called this Twelve Mile Ranch when I wrote an article about this in 2018 (link).
A the east end of the 18 Mile access road there were no trails, tracks, or benches to hike along. We tried the beach, the shoreline and the sidehill above the rail line. This was just a rough traverse for 1.5 km.
We chose to angle up a ridge to drop into the east side of Painted Bluffs Provincial Park. We have hiked or paddled into the area many times but on this long day of hiking, we only had time for a short tour of the area.
There is a bluff (with a train tunnel) that blocks the way to Copper Creek so we always have to climb over the hills to get to the Copper Creek Road. There is private property at the bottom of the road by the lake so the route over the hills is quite steep. We had planned to camp overnight on Crown land so we went north to the Carabine Creek Road where we had a vehicle parked with all of our camping gear safely stowed away. This section of the hike was a tiring climb at the end of the day.
We were pleased to meet the rancher who owned the lands just north of our camping area. We pitched our tents on Crown lands where he had a cattle grazing license. We talked about the area and he gave us his blessing to spend one night there. We practiced Leave No Trace Camping. No one stayed up since it was cold and we were all tired. We had another leg to do the next day.
The route we chose was the same one used by the Hudson Bay Company in the 1840’s. Here is an article I wrote in 2011 on the route – link.
- Kamloops Lake Trek – Carabine Creek to Savona to follow (May 16th)