A nice, short outing for folks staying overnight in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. This trail will take you past the historic Slocan Chief Cabin and then dip down to visit two alpine lakes.
Trailhead & Driving Directions
This hike assumes you’ve already backpacked into the heart of Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park via the Kokanee Lake Trail. The starting place is the signed junction that is 0.3km from the Kokanee Glacier Cabin or 0.5km from the Kaslo Lake Campground.
Up to the Slocan Chief Cabin
Follow the signs to the Slocan Chief Cabin! The first part of the trail rises steadily to climb over the end of Smuggler’s Ridge and then dips back down to a series of alpine meadows and pools.
As you cross through the meadows, you’ll see the iconic rock formations that surround Kokanee Glacier high overhead – the Battleship on the left and the Pyramid on the right.
To the East, you’ll see the shear and spiky edges of Sawtooth Ridge. It feels a bit like journeying to Mordor.
The Slocan Chief Cabin
Reach the historic Slocan Chief Cabin after 1.2km. The cabin has been preserved as a museum and is full of photographs and stories from the park’s past. Go inside!
Heading behind the cabin, you’ll see a signed junction to the Smuggler’s Ridge Trail (with an outhouse a little ways down there), as well as the signed junction to Helen Deane Lakes.
Down to Helen Deane Lakes
The trail continues loosing elevation and will dip down to cross a beautiful creek pouring through the forest.
Continue on to reach the Helen Deane Lakes! The trail winds between the two lakes, but the larger lake is more prominent to the left. It can be very buggy down here at certain times of the year.
It takes about 45-60 minutes to reach the lakes. The trail continues on a long ways towards the old, overgrown Keen Creek Trailhead into Kokanee Glacier Park. This trailhead is no longer accessible by vehicle and trail conditions become poor.