Davis Creek Trail

Tighten your hiking boots and prepare for an incredibly steep trail that ascends to a panoramic overlook of Kootenay Lake. Head further up the trail to explore an old growth cedar forest and reach Fishhook Lake.

Trailhead: Highway 31
Distance, round trip: 8.8km
Elevation: +700m
Season: late May to late October
Difficulty: Difficult
Download file: davis-creek.gpx

Trailhead & Driving Directions

From Kalso, drive 28km north on Highway 31 to reach Davis Creek Provincial Park. Slow down and pass by the campground gates, cross the Davis Creek bridge, and then park on the shoulder of the highway.

Spot the trailhead on the northern side of Davis Creek, just above the highway.

Steep Steep Steep

This first half of this hike is incredibly steep and gains 475m of elevation in 1.8km. The trail snakes and switchbacks through the forest at a punishing grade.

Lean forward and feel the burn! You’ll ascend through the forest and then wind between a series of rocky bluffs. Luckily there are many viewpoints overlooking the Davis Creek canyon and Kootenay Lake to stop and catch your breath.

The Scenic Bench

At last, reach the scenic bench at the rim of the slope and take a well-earned break.

Scenic bench at the half-way point on the Davis Creek Trail
Wildflowers over Kootenay Lake

The view at the scenic bench is stunning! The toothy Purcell Mountains lean away from Kootenay Lake to the East. Looking up the Davis Creek valley to the South-West, spot the ridges and sub-peaks of massive Mount Brennan.

Panorama at the Scenic Bench
Wildflowers with Mount Brennan’s snowy ridges in the background

It might be tempting to stop at the bench, but you’ve now done most of the elevation and the worst is behind. The trail continues on at a much gentler ascent and winds through old growth forest until it reaches Fishhook Lake. Continue!

Hiking higher

The trail will edge above Kootenay Lake with a quick glimpse North towards Duncan Lake. And then you’ll quickly ascend and enter a deep dark forest, leaving the wide views behind.

The North end of Kootenay Lake with Duncan Lake behind

Before you reach the cedars, the trail will weave through a hemlock forest interspersed with larches and pine. Some of these hemlocks are mighty big and impressive!

Hiking between Hemlocks

If you’re hiking the trail in the spring, you’ll find the forest still has snow until the end of May. Snow can make navigating tricky as the trail gets easily lost on the forest floor. If you’re not confident finding your way, best to turn back.

The Old Growth Cedars

Reach the old growth cedars after about 3.5km from the trailhead. It’s an impressive grove with massive trees reaching into the sky. The trail leads right to a cluster of five ancient giants – estimated at 400-500 years old.

A big cluster of old growth cedars

Continuing on, the trail will rise to a forested ridge and then dip down to your final destination.

Fishhook Lake

Reach Fishhook Lake after 4.4km where the trail ends.

The lake is shaped like its namesake, but you might have to look at a map to appreciate this. From the end of the trail, the lake stretches away through the trees and there aren’t any good spots to really get a look at it. We saw loons on the lake and heard lots of singing frogs in May.

Retrace your steps to head home!

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3 years ago

Thank you for the great directions and what to expect on the trail.

Trip Date
3 years ago

Thank you for the great directions

Trip Date
Nicole Dong
Nicole Dong
3 years ago
Trail Rating :

These directions were fabulous. Thanks for logging them all! I’ll just add that the lake isn’t a great spot to sit and rest after getting there. There was one giant log out on the water that we sat on, but it’s difficult to reach, and the bugs in the forest part can be a little bit of a nuisance but overall not that bad! The views after the first 2km of vertical are spectacular. Thanks again!

Trip Date
Trail Conditions
Great, all clear.
Leah Robinson
Leah Robinson
2 years ago
Trail Rating :

so beautiful, but poles are a necessity for the way down

Trip Date
Trail Conditions
good condition
Access Road Vehicle
2WD Low Clearance
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