Hiking Trails in the Okanagan Highlands to be joined with a bridge accross Mission Creek!

Over the past three years Volunteers spent hundreds of hours restoring and maintaining 55 – 60 km of the High Rim Trail from hwy 33/Philpott Road to Cosens Bay in Kalamalka park. This section of trail is between Cosens Bay in Kalamalka Provincial Park and Mission Creek and Wrinkly Face Provincial Park is situated midway on the trail. The High Rim Trail is a section of the Okanagan Highlands Trail which was proposed in the early 90’s to circle the entire Okanagan Lake.

Recently, Cabin Forestry Services was successful, through a provincial Job Opportunities grant to put unemployed forestry workers back to work on the 55 km section of the High Rim trail where maintenance is still required. Crews have been working on the High Rim Trail since June and have completed about 17 km from the north end and about 15 km from the south. Some of the work includes widening the trail, restoration, removing danger trees and adding new creek crossings – new signage and km signs will be added. This year the trail has been used by more backpackers, runners and hikers.

In addition to this project, a federal grant has been applied for to work on the 55km section of the Okanagan Highlands Trail which continues south from Mission Creek to the Little White section. A bridge over Mission Creek is in the plan and will connect the High Rim Trail with the Okanagan Highlands trail. The backpacking opportunities are unlimited. This work will compliment the work that is going to be completed this October on the northern 55 km section of the High Rim Trail project. The contact person for this project is Steve Milne of Cabin Forestry Services – 250-308-4288 – email: cabinforestry@telus.net

We need support from the hiking community to make sure that we continue to have wonderful wilderness areas in the Okanagan to hike.

Trails in the Kelowna area are slowly being lost to cut backs to provincial parks budgets – for example the Goodes Basin trail in Okanagan Mountain Park has large timbers across the trail as does the trail to Lacoma Lake, making the route almost impassible. We have hiked these parks for decades but since the fire of 2003 the trails in Okanagan Mountain Park have been deteriorating.

The recent fires in Glenrosa and Terrace Mountain have impacted our hiking trails on Mt. Drought, Shorts Creek and Sugar Loaf to name some. It will be a very long time before we will hike these areas again.

We need non motorized multipurpose trails such as the Okanagan Highlands Trail which are centrally located and very accessible to everyone from Vernon to Naramata and beyond.

I am writing to a letter of support to The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts to help have a Grant approved for the completion of the following hiking trail work by Cabin Forestry Services. Please comment below in support of making the Okanagan Highlands Trail world class and for everyone to enjoy.

Okanagan Highlands Trail

Okanagan Highlands Trail is now the only verified route to backpack, hike, mountain bike or horse back to the summit of Little White.  A Provincial Park Ranger spoke with my son yesterday (as he was getting unstuck from the Bellevue Creek Forest Fire Access road – which will be deactivated soon) and told him that the Upper Crawford Trail has been cleared in the lower sections by her and her crew.  The Upper Crawford Trail can be accessed by hiking the dirt road found at the North end of the Bellevue Creek Trestle  for a few hundred meters and watching for the Upper Crawford Trail that leads off the road and up the mountain.

If you use the Little White Forest Service Road to access the Little White Summit, then be forwarned that it is severely deactivated for several kilometers before the Trail Head.

If you are caught on an old road within the Myra Bellevue Park Boundaries (like the forest fire access road), you may be fined up to $2000 the Park Ranger said.  At the point when she spoke to my son, she still did not have the sign up so she let him go this time. 🙂

The Okanagan Highlands Trail may also be accessed from Big Meadow Lake and Corporation Lake.  The trail from that end may have much dead fall on it making it impassable.

Okanagan Highlands Trail – Mission Creek to Grouse Creek

I asked a TracksAndTrails.ca visitor for information about Okanagan Highlands Trail and am pleased to post the following info from her reply and with her permission;

“I have also been coordinating the Okanagan Highlands Trail and this summer Nordic Cross-country ski club volunteers flagged and cleared the trail from the Nordic parking lot to Mission Creek – I also gps’d this section of the trail. On September 20th there were 19 hikers who hiked the High Rim Trail from highway 33 and then crossed Mission Creek on foot and continued on the Okanagan Highlands Trail to Grouse Creek.”

OKANAGAN HIGHLANDS TRAIL  (provided by Okanagan Highlands Trail building volunteers)

A 16 km (10 mi) section of the Okanagan Highlands Trail Head is located at the Nordic Cross-Country Ski Club main cabin, elevation 1,265m  (4,150’).  The trail travels north to Mission Creek where the High Rim Trail begins on the other side of the creek. The trail is marked with pink/black flagging tape and hiker signs.

     

  1. From the Nordic Cabin  trail head, west side of the parking lot start at the Okanagan Highlands Trail sign and
  2. then follow the Snowy Hilton snowshoe trail for 4.6 km (3 mi) to the plastic shelter
  3. and then continue north about 2.5 km (1.6 mi) along a trail passing Long Meadow Lake, and then west connecting with Browne Lake Road.  
  4. The trail continues on Browne Lake road for about 1 km (.6 mi)
  5. and then diverges left onto a trail which follows a forestry road for about 3 km (2 mi) to the Grouse Creek Forestry Road junction.
  6. The trail continues north/west about 5 km (3 mi) and eventually leads to Grouse Creek (you do not get to the creek, but you can see it on your left as you hike along the trail) through a dense forest of cedar trees, ferns and moss.  
  7. After  crossing a creek at an elevation of 900m (2,953′) the trail descends gradually to the east and then north dropping about 9m (30 ft ) down a steep slope to Mission Creek to an elevation of 800m (2,486′).

 

The trail is marked with pink/black flagging tape, pink dots and signs.

 

Four Access points to the Okanagan Highlands Trail:(access points listed in order of travel from the Nordic cabin heading towards Mission Creek)

A) From the west end of the Nordic parking lot, access the trail from the main ski trail at the Okanagan Highlands Trail signage; 

 

B) From McCulloch Road, take Browne Lake FSR and drive 5 km (3 mi) up Browne Lake Forest Service Road.  Just past Browne Lake; on your left you will see a Grouse Creek sign and markers that direct you onto the trail;

C) from McCulloch Road, Drive 4 km (2.5 mi) on Grouse Creek Forest Service Road to the hiker signs.  This road has been deactivated and a four wheel is recommended.

D) The end of the Okanagan Highlands Trail can be accessed from the High Rim Trail  head on highway 33 at Phillpot Road to Mission Creek in early fall when the creek is low, and walk across the creek from the High Rim Trail mile zero to the other side.