There are many trails between the Coquihalla Highway and Greenstone-Chuwhels Mountains, but there is so much terrain, it is hard to link the trails and routes. The Greater Kamloops Motorcycle Association (GKMA) has explored the area on ATVs and motorcycles and has set up route signs along various trails, but has not provided maps to anyone wanting to ATV, hike, or bike the area. By following the trails using a GPSr and combining the data with Google Earth and topo maps, it is possible to create maps of the area. By hiking the trails, we can accurately note the many turns and routes along the way. It is time-consuming work, but hiking in the forest is always a personal investment.
In an earlier story (link), I reported on the Outer Inks Trail System. This was all explored from the lower end, from the Inks Lakes turnoff on the Coquihalla. The trails link over to Greeenstone Mountain (a later project) and south to the Timber Lake area. Starting from the south end, I hiked trails down to the Outer Inks Lake system, linking south to north, and at the same time, searching for a good loop, which I found.
to get to the Timber Lake area, turn off the Lac le Jeune Road onto the Timber Lake Forest Service Road (at N50 34.450 W120 25.981), follow the gravel road west and go under the Coquihalla Highway, and follow the road north past Timber Lake. Park at the far end of the lake. Even in winter, there was lots of room to park. Beyond this point, roads will have more snow.
The counter-clockwise loop starts by following the Fibre Optic line north. Walk along the Forest Service Road west for a couple of minutes and watch for the marked crossing (or take the track from the north end of Timber Lake). Start on this track and continue north for 2.5km. The sound of the highway will always be present along this route. Along the way, you will see side routes, but the fibre optic line is well-marked so continue north. Once you come closer to the Outer Inks Lake Trails, there are several links over to Dam Lake or Long Pond, but an obvious one angles northwest (at N50 36.000 W120 29.032). This links close to the Dam Lake area. Bear left and climb up to Long Pond (the map on the Outer Inks Lake article shows the turns). At Long Pond, stop for lunch and enjoy the view.
The route back follows an ATV track called the Outer Inks to Connelly Lake Connector. Stay on the this trail all the way to the Timber Lake Forest Service Road. The trail picks up at the east end of Long Pond at the fenceline. It winds through the forest, through forest openings, past small ponds, through a pass between two hills, around another fence, onto a secondary road, and then up the hill. The entire route was a little over 10km. When I hiked it in winter, the road had ATV tracks over the whole route so I walked on top of the snow all the way. After a snowy day, it would be a good snowshoe route and in drier months, a good mountain bike route. We will return to area to enjoy the trails and explore areas south and west.