Slocan Lake Paddle Tour
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Distance: 23 miles
Paddling time: 2-3 days
Season: March through November
Maps: Canada National Topographic Series 82F/13, 82F/14 and 82K/3 available from Northwest Map and Travel Service, 455-6981, plus Valhalla Provincial Park brochure available from park headquarters.
Info: Vahalla Provinicial Park in Nelson, (604) 825-3500.
PADDLING TRIP NOTES
Access: From Castlegar, British Columbia, drive 12 miles north on Highway 3A. At junction, turn onto Highway 6 toward Slocan and continue north about 28 miles. Turn left into Slocan. Go right at first paved road, then left on Fletcher Street, following signs to village park and boat launch at end of Main Street. Park’s boat launch is south trailhead.
To reach north trailheads, continue north on Highway 6. Drive through New Denver and go 10 miles. Turn left toward Hills on Bonanza Road, which forks at bridge across Shannon Creek. Choose from two options:
Follow paved road left short way to Alvorez Road, which leads to day-use beach. Overnight parking tolerated here but camping not allowed.
Take right fork, leaving pavement, and head up Shannon Creek Road. Go left at another fork, follow signs to Wragge Beach Forest Campground (5 miles from Shannon Creek bridge).
Shuttle: Distance from north to south trailhead is 60 or 70 miles round trip, depending on option.
Attractions: Sandy beaches and isolated campsites dot rugged, roadless and mostly wilderness western shoreline of Slocan Lake. Most camps accessible only by boat. Water adjacent to British Columbia’s Valhalla Provincial Park. Slocan Lake has highway and three small towns on east shore, but lake remains lightly used. Water clear enough to see paddle shadows 20 feet deep. Trails lead to waterfalls, alpine lakes and spongy lichen-carpeted old-growth forests.
Hazards: Unpredictable winds. Slight chance of bears.
Comments: Prevailing wind reportedly comes from north, but experience says winds from south not uncommon.
Area services include canoe rentals from Geoff Abbott in Hills, (604) 358-7789. Silverton Resort, (604) 358-7157, has canoes and cabins on east shore. Valhalla Lodge, (604) 365-3226 - a rustic resort featuring tepees - is only commercial development on west shore.
Boat launches and campgrounds found at Slocan, Silverton, New Denver and Rosebery.
All west shore campsites shown on map are good, although some more rocky, other more sandy.
Nemo Creek Falls Trail popular with power-boaters, making beach one of busiest areas on west shore.
Evans Creek Camp, also accessible by trail from Slocan, has three-sided log shelter.
Cove Creek Beach has public cabin with room for four-six people.
Between campsites, shoreline’s rugged with granite outcroppings. Pictographs found on rock walls on west side of lake in at least three places.
Forest lines shoreline with variety of trees, including cedar, hemlock, larch, grand fir, pine, lodgepole, spruce, yew, alder, birch, poplar, willow and mountain ash. Even some ponderosa pines are found on shore near Cove Creek, northern extreme of species’ range.
Valhallas well-known grizzly country. Designated campsites have poles, usually near outhouse, for hanging food.
Watch for loons and ospreys. Anglers can catch rainbow trout, kokanee and whitefish.
Although temps can be cold in winter, Slocan Lake rarely freezes, making it ideal as water highway for early-day mine and timber company barges.
Rain common all months. Snow typically sticks to shoreline in November and melts by April.
Valhalla Provincial Park, 122,500-acres, designated in 1983. At nearly 3 miles long, Evans Lake huge by high-mountain lake standards. Park also includes skyscraping peaks, most notable of which are near Mulvey Basin.
Park lightly used because of undeveloped nature and few roads. Visitation, however, was up 49 percent from 1993 to 1994 and up 157 percent in past five years. No fees or permits required in 1995.
According to mythology, Valhalla was magnificent palace for bravest of slain Norse warriors.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Map of paddle tour area
The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN - Routes: Classic Trips in the Inland Northwest