DescriptionThe 49,600 hectare Valhalla Park is a dramatically diverse area encompassing 30 kilometres (19 mi) along the west shore of the Slocan Lake (near New Denver and Slocan) and most of the Valhalla range of the Selkirk Mountains. The peaks are truly magnificent.
In the northwest, the New Denver Glacier at 2,758 metres (9,102 ft) in elevation dominates the landscape while the block shaped Devil's Couch at 2,667 metres (8,801 ft) and Hela Peak at 2,717 metres (8,966 ft) define the central area. Along the southwestern boundary is an outstanding group of spires including Mount Dag, the Wolfs Ears, Gimli, Asgard and Gladsheim, all over 2,660 metres (8,778 ft).
Numerous cirque basins, several larger deep lakes and chains of smaller lakes surround the ridges. Cascades and waterfalls are common on almost every creek. The shoreline of Slocan Lake is for the most part a rugged combination of bluffs and large rocks interspersed with beautifully isolated pebble and sand beaches. The forest vegetation is a diverse, dense mix of species with cedar and hemlock being the most common.
The park supports important populations of mountain goat, and grizzly bear along with most other locally common species of large and small animals. Alpine ptarmigans and golden eagles are favoured birds to watch when hiking. Pictographs on the rock bluffs overhanging Slocan Lake are reminders of former First Nations inhabitants while overgrown trails and logging flumes mark the passing of the local mining boom which brought European pioneers to this area a century ago.
How to get to Valhalla Park: The park is accessed from Highway 6 with the nearest communities being Slocan to the southeast, Silverton to the east and New Denver to the northeast. All of these villages have public boat launches. Most of the park which fronts on the west side of Slocan Lake must be reached by boat. Commercial water taxies operate to take visitors across the lake. Others choose to canoe along to the beaches and trails.
Boating Opportunities: Valhalla Park encompasses 30 km of Slocan Lake shoreline. There are many attractive sand and cobble beaches for boaters (motorized and non-motorized) to enjoy. Nine separate camping areas with outhouses and bear proof food caches. It is recommended that larger motor boats use the more protected areas as strong winds can come up with little notice.
Drinnon Pass/Gwillim Lakes Trail: Turn off Highway 6 at either Passmore or Slocan City. Follow signs on gravel road for about 44 kilometres (27 mi). Upper sections of road may be rough. Fires and pets are not allowed. Trailhead elevation is 1,615 metres (5,329 ft).
Trailhead to Drinnon Lake: Moderate, 2 kilometres, 1.5 hour., elevation gain 435 metres (1,435 ft). Good lake fishing. 3 tent pads, outhouse, bear proof food cache. Drinnon Lake to Drinnon Pass: Moderate, 1.5 kilometres, .5 hour, elevation gain 125 metres (412 ft). Very scenic vistas and alpine meadows. 6 tent pads, outhouse, bear proof food cache, cooking centre at Wicca Lake.
Drinnon Pass to Gwillim Lakes: Moderate, 2.5 kilometres (1.5 mi), 1.5 hour, elevation loss/ gain 120/250 metres (396/825 ft). Very scenic lakes, meadows and peaks. 8 tent pads, outhouse, bear proof cache, cooking centre. Several peaks and traverse routes can be accessed from take-off points along this trail. They require route finding and mountaineering skills and climbing equipment. The terrain is often dangerous and many areas are prime Grizzly bear habitat.
Bannock Burn to Gimli Ridge: Turn off Highway 6 at Slocan City, cross the Slocan River and follow the gravel road for 12.8 kilometres (7.9 mi). Turn right onto the Bannock Burn Creek logging road for 13 kilometres (8 mi) to the parking lot. Fires and pets are not allowed. Moderate, 4 kilometres (2 mi), 2 hour, elevation gain 600 metres (1,980 ft). Views down into Mulvey Basin, a spectacularly beautiful alpine area with world-class climbing opportunities to a number of peaks. Two routes down into the basin are used by serious mountaineers. One is a steep descent from the Gimli Ridge. The other is a high elevation traverse from Drinnon Lake. These routes are only suitable for persons with excellent route finding abilities and equipped with ice axes and ropes.
Wee Sandy Creek Trail: Trail starts on the west shore (access by boat only) of Slocan Lake, at the beach. Fires are permitted only in designated sites; dogs are not allowed past the shore of Slocan Lake. Difficult, 14.4 kilometres (9 mi), 10 hours, elevation gain 1,370 metres (4,521 ft). The first 6.4 kilometres (4 mi) follow an historic logging trail, opportunity to view Mountain goats, old trappers' cabins at 5.8 and 10.5 kilometres (3.6 and 6.5 mi). Good log shelter with stove for overnight accommodation at 11.2 kilometres (6.9 mi). Beautiful lake with excellent fishing. Access to other lakes, peaks and traverses requiring route finding and mountaineering skills. There are no facilities at or past Wee Sandy Lake so hike and camp in a manner which minimizes impact on the vegetation and wildlife.
Slocan City/Evans Creek/Beatrice Lake Trail: Parking for this trail is located in town just south of the Slocan River bridge. Non-resident parking is not permitted north of the bridge. Fires are permitted in designated sites within this trail corridor; dogs are allowed only on the Slocan City to Evans Creek section.
Slocan City to Evans Creek: East, 8 kilometres (5 mi), 2.5 hours, no elevation gain but several steeper sections. Walk across the bridge, turn right and proceed along the narrow residential road for about 200 metres (660 ft) to the trailhead at the park boundary. A good early season trail with flowers, swimming and fishing. Please respect the private land which is posted. Many people shorten the hike to Beatrice Lake by boating across Slocan Lake to the small cove south of Evans Creek.
Evans Creek to Emerald (Little Cahill) Lake: Moderate, 4 kilometres (2 mi), 2.5 hours, elevation gain 500 metres (1,650 ft) but steep for the first 1.5 kilometres (1 mi). Excellent fishing, look for old logging flume and corduroy wagon road near the lake. 4 tent pads, outhouse, bear proof food cache.
Emerald Lake to Cahill Lake (east end): Moderate, 2 kilometres (1 mi), 1.5 hours, elevation gain 215 metres (709 ft). Trail follows old wagon road beside Beatrice Creek. Watch for dams that were used to store water for the logging flumes.
Cahill Lake (west end): Easy, 1.5 kilometres (1 mi), .5 hour. Excellent fishing, sheltered camping area with 6 tent pads, outhouse, bear proof food cache.
Cahill Lake to Beatrice Lake: Moderate, 2.5 kilometres (1.5 mi), 1.5 hours, elevation gain 215 metres (709 ft) but steep near Beatrice lake. Excellent fishing. 8 tent pads, outhouse, bear proof food cache. Several traverse routes can be accessed from take-off points along this trail. They require route finding and mountaineering skills and climbing equipment. There are no facilities so hike and camp in a manner which minimizes impact on the vegetation and wildlife. The terrain is often dangerous and many areas are prime Grizzly bear habitat.
Cove Creek Trail: Trail starts on the west shore (access by boat only) of Slocan Lake, behind the old cabin and the Cove Creek beach. Fires and dogs are not allowed past the shore of Slocan Lake. Easy/Moderate, 3.5 kilometres (2 mi), 2 hours, elevation gain 282 metres (175 ft). An interesting short hike through impressive ponderosa pine and a patch of rare coastal salal.
Nemo Creek Trail: Trail starts on the west shore (access by boat only) of Slocan Lake, 50 metres (31 mi) north of the creek. Fires and dogs are not allowed past the shore of Slocan Lake. Easy/Moderate, 4 kilometres (2 mi), 4 hours, elevation gain 905 metres (2,986 ft). Picturesque Nemo Falls at 200 metres (660 ft), Rock Castles at 3.4 kilometres (2 mi), historic cabin at 4 kilometres (2 mi), massive old growth cedar/hemlock forest. Due to extensive prime grizzly bear habitat, travel in upper part of this drainage is not recommended.
Sharp Creek Trail to New Denver Glacier: Trail starts on the west shore (access by boat only) of Slocan Lake, at the beach. Fires and dogs are not allowed past the shore of Slocan Lake. Difficult, 8.8 kilometres (5 mi), 8+ hours (each way), elevation gain 1,719 metres (5,672 ft). Very steep throughout, waterfalls and cascades, stunning views from the glacier. Access to traverse routes. There are no facilities so hike and camp in a manner which minimizes impact on the vegetation and wildlife.