Lake of the Hanging Glacier

Lake of the Hanging Glacier

Posted on: October 31, 2019 3:27 am
by: Doug Smith

We camped at Radium and hiked in the area for a few days.   One of the routes we wanted to do was the well-established trail to Lake of the Hanging Glacier.   From Radium, we worked our way on backroads to the Horsethief Creek Road, a good backroad that goes 50 km west into the Purcell Range.  The signed trailhead is at the end of the road.   The trail climbs over a bluff then drops down to the valley bottom, following the creek upstream.


After crossing Hellroaring Creek racing down a gully from the north, the trail goes over a ridge and comes down to a bridge over Horsethief Creek.   The trail continues west for 1 km, then turns and starts a switchbacking route up a side valley, following the creek.


At several points in the next 3k the trail comes close to the creek which drains out of Lake of the Hanging Glacier.   This final 3.0+ km climbs 534 m (1751 feet) to the alpine zone.



In the upper valley over 2100 m, larches in color greeted our final kilometer to the lake.   Horseethief Creek spilled in cascades over glacial scoured outcrops.   This was our favorite part of  this hike.

When we arrived at Lake of the Hanging Glacier, dark skies were to the south and a fierce, cold wind came off the glaciers and across the lake.  A band of sunshine landed on the larch slopes across the lake.   Directly across on the left Jumbo Glacier spilled over the rim from Jumbo Mountain, Karnak Mountain, and Commander Mountain.

Across the lake on the right side, The Lieutenants and Glacier Dome loom over the alpine lake.   Bergs calved from the glaciers were in the lake but had blown to the west shore.

We turned back away from the harsh winds and cold temperatures (2° C) and followed the trail back through subalpine larch meadows.


The trail back is 8 km, a  2.5  hour hike, following the creek valley through the Purcell Range peaks.



Fall colors had started in the lower valley as we followed the creek downstream.



This was our first time doing the hike to Lake of the Hanging Glacier.   It is a good trail all the way, well maintained and worth the long drive.   We hope to return to the area to do another hike in the valley – Farnham Creek,Thundewater Lake, or Catamount Glacier.


More Information:

  • Horesethief Falls information
  • Coordinates for the trailhead – N50° 29.478? W 116° 35.167?
  • Coordinates for Lake of the Hanging Glacier – N50° 27.058? N W116° 35.763?


View the full article from the original source

About the Author

Doug Smith

Doug writes for Kamloops Trails, a not-for-profit (and ad free) website, offering information on trails, waterways, routes, featured spots, viewpoints, and explorations in the outdoors in the Kamloops area (and beyond).

Doug started exploring this area in 1976 and continues to follow tracks and routes wherever they lead, with the aid of map, compass, GPSr and camera. After many dead-ends, but also many discoveries, he chose to share this information.

The Kamloops Trails website has a massive number of interesting posts and would be of interest to anyone in Kamloops who enjoys the outdoors. Visit the Kamloops Trails website at:


Read more from Doug Smith on