The old growth trail up Kokanee Creek is a short and spectacular hike. The cedars are ancient and massive, reaching up towards the sky and back across the centuries.
Trailhead: Kokanee Glacier Road
Distance, Round Trip: 2.4km
11.7km up Kokanee Glacier Road. This was a slow and bumpy ride, and though possible with a 2WD vehicle, you’d have to be very careful. The road widens to allow for parking along the left.
Down to Kokanee Creek
The trail quickly descends to the creek in a series of steps and switchbacks. It’s an easy trek, suitable for all levels of hikers.
The path is peppered with interpretive signs and view points. The forest is considered old growth because it has reached a stage of ecological equilibrium – not because it has never been logged. There are many old stumps that bear the century-old mark of springboards where loggers once stood and swung axes.
The Cedar Grove
These trees are big. Biiiiig.Their bark twists up in papery layers and disappears into the distant canopy. It is impossible to take a picture that shows the magnitude of each tree – you’ve just got to go there!
Walking into an old growth cedar forest invokes the same quiet reverence as walking into a medieval cathedral. There is a history and timelessness in the grove that is palpable. Some of these cedars are estimated to be over 800 years old, they are pre-Columbian, older than the Renaissance.
This ended up being a perfect hike for a rainy day. The rain made the colours stand out from the wet bark and stones.
Looping Back Up
After winding through the cedar grove, the trail loops back along the creek to rejoin the main section. There have been a few changes in the last couple years and the trail no longer crosses Kokanee Creek over two bridges.
All in all, this is a neat little spot if you’re spending some time in the area and looking for a family-friendly hike. We saw lots of little kids scrambling along the trail, totally amazed at what they were seeing!