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Blue Grouse Basin

A magical alpine meadow, surrounded by a cirque of peaks on the edge of Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. With opportunity to either picnic or peak-bag, this trail gets you to the alpine and lets you chose your own adventure from there.

Summary
Trailhead:  Enterprise FSR
Distance, round trip: 10.2km
Elevation: +743m
Season: mid July to late September
Difficulty: Moderate

Background

Enterprise Creek Forest Service Road was closed at 2km for many years, cutting off access to Blue Grouse Basin and nearby Tanal Lake. With the Friends of West Kootenay Parks and the North Slocan Trails Society, there has been a huge volunteer effort to advocate for the road staying open as well as work on trail maintenance. Enterprise FSR re-opened for logging in 2020, but there is no guarantee it will remain open long term. Enjoy the trails while you can, and get involved with these local organizations through donations and volunteering.

Trailhead and Driving Directions

From Silverton, drive South 11.5km to turn left onto Enterprise Creek FSR. There is a “Y” junction onto the road, so it can be accessed in two points. The road is just 0.5km before the hairpin junction on Highway 6.

Drive 12km up Enterprise Creek FSR, there are no junctions and the road is in good 2WD low clearance condition for small cars. At 12km, park just before a bridge crosses Enterprise Creek. You’ll see a park boundary sign with the trail leading into the forest.

This trailhead also accesses the Tanal Lake trail into Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. After hiking down an overgrown road from 0.4km, you’ll reach a junction and turn left for Blue Grouse Basin. Right will continue to Tanal Lake. Both trails are within the park boundary and dogs are not permitted.

Up the trail

The Blue Grouse Basin trail winds up the forest until 0.8km when it joins an old road, edging higher above the Enterprise Creek Valley. The grade is steady, the trail is shady. After 1.8km, the trail begins to turn North up Paupo Creek Valley – look out for a distant view of Kokanee Glacier far to the South East.

By 2.7km the trail breaks out of the forest to cross large avalanche paths full of colour in the fall. You’ll see the headwall of Paupo Creek as you continue to gain elevation. Cross rock slides and an impressive rock cut gorge as you make your way up.

Looking North up the trail with the Paupo Creek headwall still to overcome, Blue Grouse Basin is behind it. Virgil Mountain high above.
Fall colours, looking back down the trail South

After 4km, the trail enters the forest and begins to level out with Paupo Creek winding peacefully. You’re almost there!

A small waterfall on Paupo Creek

Blue Grouse Basin

At last! The trail winds smoothly through alpine meadows as you enter the basin. Big grassy fields full of trickling streams, encircled by ridges! Hikers will take 2-2.5 hours to reach the basin.

Grassy meadows with Virgil Mountain above

With ridges and peaks all around, there are plenty of off-trail adventures for experienced scramblers. The Kootenay Mountaineering Club has a long history in this area and you’ll find summit registers on most of the peaks. The trail eventually fizzles out as it curves into the meadows.

Looking South towards Insect Peak, another scramble option for a bigger day

North Slocan Trail Society

The North Slocan Trail Society has been leading maintenance work on Blue Grouse Basin. If you’ve enjoyed the hike, consider becoming a member, making a donation, or volunteering with them.

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Blair Murray
Blair Murray
6 months ago

Blue Grouse Basin is in Kokanee PP. After checking map and taking a closer look at pic of sign in this post I would say dogs are not allowed in Blue Grouse Basin. Please correct me if I’m wrong.