Sproule Creek

A walk in the woods, a bubbling creek, nine bridge crossings! What could be better? If the bridges were repaired! As of 2018, several bridges are broken or washed out. The trail is still passable, but more caution is required at the crossings.

Summary
Trailhead: Sproule Creek Road
Distance, round trip: 10km
Elevation: +262m
Difficulty:  Easy

Background

The main Millsite trail traces an old wagon road and winds back and forth across Sproule Creek until it ends in a clearing where an old timber mill operated in the 20’s.

In addition to Millsite, there are two shorter trails to explore – the Westside Loop and the East Fork Trail.

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Trailhead & Driving Directions

Drive 7km up on Sproule Creek Road, turning off in Taghum outside of Nelson. There is parking available on the left as the paved road turns to gravel. Cross the vehicle bridge on foot and you’ll come to the trailhead on the right:

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Sproule Creek Trailhead

Up the Millsite Trail

Following the trail you’ll soon come to the first bridge crossing over Sproule Creek. In the spring, look for Western Trilliums and Skunk Cabbage along the path. In this summer, enjoy the cool valley shade and mossy slopes. In the fall, mountain ash turns gold and mushrooms pop along the way.

Close up of Sproule Creek

The first half of the trail is wide and flat, suitable for hikers new and old. After about 3km, the trail will rise to cross a forest service road. It continues on the other side, but starts to get a little rougher with rockier footing.

Mossy logs along the trail

Trails End

If you make it as far as the final bridge, you’ll find old remnants of the saw blades and machinery along the river.

Saw blade at Sproule Creek

Bridge Problems

The Millsite Trail crosses nine bridges as it zigzags across the creek. Bridges are great when they’re working, and problematic when they aren’t. 

The final bridge before it washed away

As of 2018, two of the bridges are damaged (but carefully passable) and the final bridge is completely washed out. You can no longer make it all the way to the old mill site without fording Sproule Creek. This isn’t too much of a problem in the fall when the water is low, however the final segment of trail on the other side of the creek is now badly overgrown and reportedly full of poison ivy. Bummer.

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Robert MFall Hiking – The Kooteneer Recent comment authors

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[…] Sproule Creek was snow-free and glowing with golden mountain ash trees. The boardwalks and bridges were slick, but we hiked all the way down to the final bridge (still broken) and then made a loop by following a gravel road up to the East Fork Trail. Lots of colourful mushrooms along the path, including a lavender patch! […]

Robert M
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The final bridge #9 has washed downstream. For the adventurous, you can cross 25m upstream from the bridge fdn. on a fallen tree and bushwack back o the trail on the other side and continue for 1.5 kms to a level clearing with a Teepee frame, strawberries and 2′ Poison Ivy, although No Mill to be seen