Vidette Lake – Kamloops Trails
Posted on: October 6, 2019 2:44 am
by: Doug Smith
On a late summer sunny day, I drove all the way up the Deadman Valley and paddled Vidette Lake. It is a 56 km drive up the gravel road from the Trans Canada Highway. Because it is a scenic route with many places to explore, I return most years, choosing different lakes and different hikes each time. We have previously explored Deadman Falls, Deadman Lake, Snohoosh Lake, Mowich Lake, Castle Rock Hoodoos, Sherwood Creek Hoodoos, Split Rock, Pass Valley, Criss Creek, Hihium Lake and more. For this trip it was Vidette Lake and an exploration of the Deadman River, finding an alternate route to the falls.
There is a small Recreation site on the lakeshore with a good boat launch.
Vidette Lake is long and narrow, close to the road, with steep hills on both sides. At the end of the lake, the Deadman Road climbs into the hills.
Vidette Lake is not part of the Deadman River as the other lakes in the valley are. It is on a tributary drainage of three creeks (Hamilton Creek, Yard Creek, and Coal Creek) and the outflow goes into the Deadman River 0.3 km south. Each lake has a different ecology. Many of the shallow bays of our lakes of the area have water lilies, smartweed, and aquatic weeds like millfoil, but Vidette Lake had arrowhead in the bays near the shoreline. This plant grow from rhizomatous tubers which was historically harvested by First Nations people. Muskrats and ducks eat it too. Flowering was done for the year, but clusters of seeds were visible at the surface on the ends of stems.
Fallen trees become saturated logs and over time the wood decays, but as it does this, vegetation may take root in the above-water part of the log. Mosses usually start the process and then grasses and perennials grow on these small “islands”.
A the north end of the lake the Vidette Gold Mine can be seen. This is now on the Vidette Resort property and a tour can be arranged with the resort owner. I wrote a historical research report for Gold Country on the mine. Here is a link to the story – Vidette Gold Mine.
At the south end of the lake is a narrow channel, but it was jammed with logs which would require portaging the boat around or driving down the road and hauling the boat down a steep bank so I skipped that section. The paddle around the rest of the lake, following the shoreline was 5 km.