High Rim Trail Hiking from Vernon’s Kalmalka Lake Prov. Park

This hiking blog post will tell you: Where to meet to begin the backpacking trip Where to camp the first night (allows for a short 7km hike both days) What to bring on a British Columbia backpacking trip. At 8AM on Saturday June 21, several brave souls will set out on a backcountry adventure. The […]

Written By Clayton Kessler

On June 15, 2008

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This hiking blog post will tell you:

  1. Where to meet to begin the backpacking trip
  2. Where to camp the first night (allows for a short 7km hike both days)
  3. What to bring on a British Columbia backpacking trip.

At 8AM on Saturday June 21, several brave souls will set out on a backcountry adventure. The adventure will include 12 to 15 kilometers of hiking the first day. The hike will begin at the gate / parking lot in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park. After being dropped off at 8AM , we will hike along the Cosens Bay Trail then onto Brew Trail / High Rim Trail and on towards Cosens Creek as we progress ever upwards and on to the top of the Aberdeen Plateau.

Click here for my map that will help you get to the meeting place for departure.

After researching the condition of the trail, I found that there may be some obstacles. One area of the trail had many trees blown down onto it several years ago and another part of the trail was ruined due to road work. If the hiking group leaves or loses the High Rim Trail, I have entered points of interest into my GPS and have a backup paper copy for using with my compass so we will always be able to navigate towards our destination.

We will camp Saturday night at Cosens Creek on Crown Land (free backcountry camping) and the next day we will end our trip at Damer Lake where our prearranged rides will pick us up. On our hike to Damer Lake on Sunday we will hopefully have time to navigate to the repeater tower to enjoy the vista and then get back on the trail and find our way to Damer Lake.

Below is the image of the hiking area with my GPS points taken from Google Earth after I marked it up. The map below shows the alternate camping spot close to Damer Lake but without knowing the condition of the trail I decided to cut the first day’s hiking distance in half and then end the trip near Damer Lake. This shorter hike on Saturday will also give us lots of time to practice some bushcraft. I also came to the conclusion of a shorter trip because I did some scouting today (June 16 2008) and found almost that any vehicle can easily drive to Damer or Towgood Lakes. Previously I understood that the road was only a 4X4 road but that is not the case because my red Saturn SL easily made it with no threat of bottoming out. The road was typical though and had many pot holes.

The most common question about this backpacking trip has been, “What should I bring?”. Here is my thoughts on what to bring.

  • Bug dope and/or mosquito jacket or at least a long sleeve shirt and full length pants. When I was scouting parts of the High Rim Trail near Damer and Towgood Lakes the mosquitos were quite bad – I was there at the worst hour for mosquitos though – just prior to sunset.
  • comfortable shoes with a hiking shoe type grip (kind of important if you do not want to slip and break a leg – skate shoes, mmm…. not so good 🙁
  • Adequate clothing – but not too much. Accomplish this small clothing inventory by dressing for the day and packing something to keep the high altitude mountain chill out. A change of socks or two are important so you don’t get blisters from wet socks. If someone gets too wet we will have to stop and loan them clothing or get a fire going to dry some clothing out. If you overpack, you will waste room in your pack that could be used for other important hiking items and you will be fatigued by the extra weight.
  • Food – think about what meals you will need to have. For breakfast and lunch, try to pack hiking food that does not need cooking. For supper, a good can of beans and pork or a can of stew works great. I don’t bother with dishes except for a large single tin cup of which I can boil water in or use for making soup, porridge, coffee or tea.
  • Knife
  • Fire Lighting System
  • Blanket or sleeping bag.
  • Bearspray, Bear Banger, Flare, large caliber rifle. ….joke 🙂
  • WATER BOTTLE or hydration pack.
  • First Aid stuff (bandaids for blisters and small wounds is minimum)

    Mile Zero of High Rim Trail

Following is a fantastic list compiled by Jesse Kessler:

Required Equipment

  • Bag (backpack)
    • Cheap second hand backboards are sold at Venture gear for 15-30$
  • Food
    • 2 lunch
    • 1 supper
    • 1 breakfast
    • Tons of snack food
      • Dried fruit, nuts, trail mix, bagels, beef jerky etc.
  • Water
    • 1-2 L. We will be able to refill water Saturday night at Daymer Lake
  • Shelter
    • Bivy (bivy is short for bivouac sack) or hammock or tarp or tube tent.
  • Cooking equipment
    • Whatever you need for the food you bring (cup, pot, pan, fork/spoon, knife, flipper etc.)
  • Clothing
    • Jacket and/or Sweater
    • Socks and extra socks
    • Good shoes
  • Sleeping
    • Sleeping bag or good blanket


  • Pillow
  • Knife
  • Rope
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Comb (ticks)
  • Flashlight
  • Fire-lighting equipment
  • First aid kit
  • Sleeping pad
  • String
  • Soap
  • Towel
  • Toothbrush
  • Hot chocolate/tea/coffee
  • Water crystals (crystal light)
  • Compass

In my opinion the only way to really decide what to bring is by going on hiking day trips and several camping trips that will allow you to discover what your level of tolerance is for various outdoor situations. For example, I really would not want to be without my Lipsol or Tylenol. Maybe for you, those things would not be required.

After camping the first night we should be able to enjoy a relaxed slow paced morning and get to Oyama Lake with an easy hike of approx. 6 kilometers to find our rides and travel back to Kelowna.


  1. gail waberski

    Looking for a map of the high rim trail. we only want to go from cosens to oyama

  2. claytonkessler

    Yes, I am following up on a possible map. I will email the person that was creating a professional one. Will you be taking a GPS with you? I would highly recommend it. Is your group adults or do you have children with you? If you’re all adults or older teens then you will be able to make it to Oyama Lake in one day. You did mean Oyama Lake? As from Oyama Lake you would just want to get a ride to Oyama right?

  3. Big Bear California

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