The Beatrice Lake Trail offers steady hiking through forests and wetlands as it traces an old mining road, following a chain of lakes through Valhalla Provincial Park. There are several backcountry campgrounds along the way at Emerald and Cahill Lakes until the trail finally ends at distant Beatrice Lake.
Trailhead: Evans Creek (accessible by boat or hike)
Distance, round trip: 12km to Cahill Lake (east shore), 18km to Beatrice Lake
Elevation: +715m to Cahill lake (east shore), +930m to Beatrice Lake
The Beatrice Lake Trail starts at Evan’s Creek campground, a backcountry destination accessible by boat or 8km hiking trail from Slocan. You can read about the hiking route at Slocan Lakeshore/Evan’s Creek.
We took the 3 hour hike into Evan’s Creek on a Friday after work and camped overnight. Then Saturday morning, we started up the Beatrice Lake Trail into the interior of Valhalla Provincial Park.
Up the Beatrice Lake Trail
The trail crosses roaring Evan’s Creek and then begins a steady uphill climb over a long switchback to ascend a low ridge. There was lots of deadfall along this route, but also, promisingly, many huckleberry and Saskatoon berry bushes.
Once you ascend the high ridge, you can look back down over Slocan Lake and see how high you’ve already hiked.
Looking forward, the area splits into two creek valleys – the left with Evan’s Creek churning down from distant Evan’s Lake, and the right with the trail following Beatrice Creek to head up to Emerald, Cahill and Beatrice lakes.
Dipping down from the ridge, the trail begins closely following Beatrice Creek. It is pleasant hiking with a manageable uphill grade through open forest and ferny wetlands. We saw a black bear ducking away off the trail to avoid us.
The trail widens in a few places to reveal that it’s following the remnants of a mining road.
We arrived at Emerald Lake after about 2 hours of steady hiking. Emerald is the smallest of the three lakes with a little campground near the shore.
The water level was quite high and the trail was partially submerged in some places, with a ‘high water’ bypass route climbing higher above the shoreline. We stopped for a quick break at Emerald and admired the reflections in the water. Although the water was high, the pollen lines on nearby trees showed that it had been much higher.
After scrambling along the ‘high water’ bypass route, we left Emerald Lake and followed the trail further up the valley. We crossed Beatrice Creek on an impressive bridge and then the trail steeped significantly to climb up to Cahill Lake.
Beatrice Creek was roaring alongside the trail and we saw plenty of old remnants from the mining days – signs of old bridges and wood work, as well as an old kettle hanging form a tree. The last portion of the trail was very steep – a real leg grinder!
We reached Cahill Lake after about 3 hours of leaving Evan’s Creek. This is a much bigger lake with the trail continuing 1.5km along the southern shore to reach another backcountry campground on the far side. However, we didn’t have time to explore further and had a break along the near shore.
With the hike back down to Evan’s Creek and the further hike back out to Slocan, we left before lunch to head back down the creek valley.
We didn’t go past Cahill, but apparently the Cahill Lake backcountry campground 1.5km further is the nicest of the bunch. Past Cahill, it is another 2.5km to Beatrice Lake where the trail finally ends.
We were 2 hours hiking back down to Evan’s Creek, picking up time along the descending trail. While this trail isn’t especially scenic compared to alpine backcountry routes, it’s a great shoulder-season backpacking trip for June.