Ever been driving home down the Coq, on the Hope side, looked over to the high ridges on the left, and thought - That looks like an awesome hike? You might even recognize Jim Kelly, or Coquihalla Mountain in the background. After doing some research I talked a couple friends into helping me cut a trail to the group of lakes. Our first try was a big success, and when we broke through the pass we truly believed a new kingdom of hiking had been discovered.
The next weekend we were back, and had a try at descending into the valley, then cutting a trail up the other side. Our luck continued, a horse trail ended at the small lake in the valley bottom. This trail led to many wonderful things, and eventually all the way to Jim Kelly Mountain.
In part because we didn't want people leaving garbage on our trail, and also because I wanted to protect our "secret", the trailhead and first 50m of trail were never cut or marked. I've asked Karina (trail co-founder) if it's o.k. to post our route on CT. She was fine with that, and probably never cared to begin with. Our plans for a trip to Jim Kelly were cancelled by the rain, so I decided to clear the trail yesterday instead.
To get to the trailhead, drive through the toll booth
then take exit #228, turn right on the parallel road, then left onto Tulameen FSR. At the 6km mark there is a fence and a filled-in cattleguard. At 6.5km the trail is on the right hand side, and is now marked with pink flagging. The trail cuts through a strip of forest, then across a marsh (not too bad- but watch for frogs), and then back into the forest. This is a well cut and marked trail all the way to the "alpine pass", there is no cutting or marking required beyond this point.
The trail described in pictures:
View across the marsh
Looking down on the marsh and pond
Nearing the first lake
Second Lake and Jim Kelly
Third Lake and Thar
Needle Peak and blueberries
Jim Kelly and Coquihalla
Yak with snowstorm
Jim Kelly far away
Alpine Lakes overview