Bush Lake Trailwork

The Bush Lake – Timber Lake trails were designed and built for the 1979 (first) BC Winter Games in Kamloops.   They became our "home trails" for cross-country skiing.   Then the Coquihalla Highway was buillt and it cut right through the middle of the trail system so the Stake Lake Trails were built as a replacement system for cross-country skiing.   Sections of the eastern side of Bush Lake Trails were still used by a few skiers untracked, but the main ski trails ran east-west and the Coquihalla cut those off (they can be reached from the Timber Lake Road when there is not too much snow).  

Most of the old sections of the Bush Lake area trails dead-ended at the Highway, but over time a couple of loops have been worked out as single tracks through the forest.   These are subject to deadfall so skiers and snowshoers should expect to go around fallen trees.   No official trailwork has been undertaken, except for some minor clearing and marking in the last two years.  The north loop is marked and cleared for rough cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.   It is not suitable for motorcycles, quads, and most bicycles because of the fallen trees.   It is fine for snowshoers who can step over or go around the deadfall (paths have been cleared).     It is actually better to leave some of these obstacles to keep the motorized vehciles out.   Mountain bikes can do the loop, but it is only 4km so this will not be worth the effort.     In summer, there may be cattle grazing (Crown grazing lease areas) so hikers or bikers should follow best practices (link).   Once the south loops are finished, there will be about 12km in a figure 8 pattern.   These are not "official" trails, but do meet permitted activity under the Forest Practices Code.   No trees have been cut, no chainsaws have been used, and no earth has been dug.   We have only used flagging tape, some trail markers, and have cleared hazardous branches and small deadfall.

These are single track, low-impact routes through the forest, perfect for snowshoeing, but probably okay for hiking, cross-country skiing, and mountain biking too.  

Bush Loop North

Joss Mountain

Joss Mountain is a fine hike in the Monashees.     It features alpine meadows, open ridges, and impressive scenery.  

Driving Directions (for the west approach):

  • Drive east toward Revelstoke, but at Three Valley Gap (lake), turn right onto the Wap Forest Service Road.
  • Follow the good gravel road for 6.0km and turn onto the Wap Spur Road #5
  • Follow this backroad up the mountain for about 10km where you arrive at a signed parking area at 1585m

Trailhead:

  • the trail starts right at the parking area at the end of the road
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Trail:

  • the trail climbs steeply through cedar-hemlock forest for about 2km before emerging into subalpine glades
  • wildflowers greet the hiker in the meadows
  • the trail follows a ridge, winding through open areas southeast; watch for flagging tape to stay on track
  • the route beasrs south to avoid the cliff band, then ascends steeply up an open slope onto a ridge
  • continue to the open summit
  • the main viewpoint is to the east; continue along the ridge, then drop through a gully and up to the old lookout
  • return by the same route
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On the Top:

  • the Dominion Forestry Lookout on Joss Mountain Lookout was built in 1921, then restored in 1960
  • views extend south to Tsuius Mountain and beyond toward Mabel Lake
  • the impressive peaks to the east are part of the Gold Range and include Mt. Begbie, Mt. Tilley, Mt. English, Blanket Mountain (and Blanket Glacier)
  • to the southeast, the crest of the Monashees features Mt. Thor, Gates Peak, and Mt. Odin in the distance
  • we spotted Eagle Pass Mountain to the northwest and the Northern Monashees in the distance
  • the end of Three Valley Gap Lake can be seen from the summit too; when we drove out we stopped to look back up at Joss from below
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Blanket Glacier

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Mt. Tsuius

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Mt. English

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The view through the window.

Notes:

  • the return trip was 9.2km
  • the elevation gain was 815m (2674 ft.)
  • the trailhead is at N50 50.369 W118.29.941
  • the summit is at N50 49.819 W118 27.243
  • the summit is at 2374m (7789 ft.)
  • this is a highly recommended hike

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A Tour of East End of Kamloops Lake

On a windy day, Kamloops Lake is not the best choice for paddlers, but on a nice day, a tour of the east end of the lake is a rewarding outing.   Launch from the parking area at the end of Tranquille Road.   The road to Tranquiile on the Lake goes past the entrance and continues on to the edge of Cooney Bay.   Padders will have to carry their boats down to the beach and launch near the river's mouth.   Once in the water, turn the corner to Cooney Bay, then follow the shoreline.

Kamloops Lake West End

There are some gravelly beaches on the way to Battle Bluff.   If you land, be careful of poison ivy above the high water mark.    The sheer face of the bluff rises above as you round the point.   Look for a smaller tunnel next to the train tunnel.   This is an escape tunnel that goes from deep within the main tunnel out to the east end of the tunnel.   It has recently been partly stopped up with rocks.   Watch for swallows nests high in the rocky bluffs as you round the point.   There are no landing spots at Battle Bluff or on the far side, but there is a pictograph on the west side in an alcove now covered with shrubs.   The shoreline past Battle Bluff is mostly rocky shoreline all the way to Frederick.

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Frederick is a small community on the shoreline that is linked by the Dewdrop Road.  The whole lake here is surrounded by rocky bluffs with a few trees found in gullies.   The Cherry Bluffs run from Cherry Creek east to the head of the lake.   Along the shoreline is the Salmon Beach, the location where some salmon fossils have been found.   We were on this beach twice this year searching for the oval mudstones that can be broken open, but found no fossils.   Read this article for more information – link.

On the way back on the south shore are some stoneworks built for the CPR line in 1885 and reinforced several times in the last 129 years.  The large arch is made from quarried blocks transported by rail.

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Where the river meets the lake, there are extensive sandbars running from south to north, leaving only a narrow channel in late fall and winter.   In summer, we can paddle across the shallows.   They are a feeding ground for visiting pelicans, returning seagulls, ospreys, llons, and ducks in late summer.   We can paddle across the submerged sandbars in summer back to our starting point,  a total of about 16 km of paddling (about 3 hours at a steady pace).   Pick some good weather enjoy Kamloops Lake.  

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Jade Pass

Drive up to the top of Mount Revelstoke on the Meadows in the Sky Parkway, then take the trail over the hill above, and then choose the Jades Lakes Trail.     Follow the trail as it winds through meadows, forest, slide zones, and wet areas.   At the trail junction, go steeply up to Jade Pass and have lunch.    This will be 9.5km each way.   If you have the time and energy, take the side trips to Eva Lake and Miller Lake.  On my hike to Mt. Revelstoke, I covered 21km, but much of the distance was on a moderate trail.      

At the top of Jade Pass, peaks surround the aerial viewpoint.  Jade Lakes lie below to the east.

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The Selkirks stand to the east.   The ragged Clachnaccudain Range towers to the north and the crest peaks of the Monashees lie west and southwest.

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Snow still lingered up in the pass in August.  When we came to Jade Pass another year, we were on snow for the final mile to the pass.   This time it was rocky and bare on a hot and sunny day.

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 The route back from the pass descended into the subalpine forest, meadows, rock slopes, and past a couple of tumbling streams.

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Wildflowers (as advertised) lined the trail.   The display starts in July and lasts until the first frost.  

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The drive to the top of the mountain, the long hike to the Pass and the lakes and return makes a long day.   At the end of the day, the sun shone through the wildflower smoke haze as I looked west over the pass into the Monashees.

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The best part of Mount Revelstoke is to drive 25km to the top of the mountain.   The whole hike is within subalpine and alpine zones, a special hike on a summer day.  

Johnson Lake Paddling

One of the best area lakes to paddle is Johnson Lake.   Go north on Highway 5, and at Louis Creek, take the Agate Bay Road.   Turn left onto the Johnson Lake Forest Service Road.   Follow the signs to the Johnson Lake Resort, but don't turn left at the end of the lake (to the Resort).   Instead, follow the road around the south side of the lake to the Johnson Lake Recreation Site.

Johnson lake map

There is a gravel launch site at the campsite, but if the site is full, drop off your boat and park up on the road.   The paddle around the lake shoreline is 11km.   Limestone shoals make the water crystal clear down to 20+ feet.   The aqua-green-blue water is similar to Pavilion Lake.   There are a small number of cabins on the northeast side, but for the most part the lake is surrounded by dense hemlock-cedar forest. 

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On a summer weekend, the beach area by the boat launch will be full of families in the water, and paddlers have now discovered the lake, but it is a quiet location with (almost) no power boats.   This is a lake to paddle every year.   More information: