S2S = Sea to Sky Helm meadows via Cheakamus - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-15-2021, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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This isn't the trip report, so much as a report on a trail I have not been to since I was 18 years old. As I recall from long ago, the trail up to Helm Meadows from Cheakamus River was steep, bouldery, loose rock and overflowing with water. It was a nasty slog.

Not now. My daughter told me the trail been substantially upgraded. Thought I'd go have a look. After several days of mountain biking adventures in Whistler I was somehow able to obtain a BC Parks pass for the day. So i headed up there with a couple of buddies. We had a great day. The trail has been much upgraded, clearly with machine work. It's in the manner of the Joffre lakes trails, a beautiful gravel path mostly. No more is this rough grinding wilderness for us intrepid types. You can go up there running shoes.

It's still steep enough to give you a good heart pounding workout, and fortunately it's on the north aspect so very shaded on a blistering hot day. Beautiful blue sky views of the north side of the tusk

Ended up with The Meadows hiked around a bit, had a great lunch, batted away horse flies and black flies... Headed back for beers. 18 km round trip for what we did.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-16-2021, 09:46 PM
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Nice, I was supposed to do that hike a week ago but I couldnt get a parking pass for the day. Beautiful trail and without the crowds of the Garibaldi Lake trail.

if you're not hiking you should be skiing
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-16-2021, 10:50 PM
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So what happens if they catch you without the pass? I am sure there are tons of people just ignoring it, or going anyways if they can't get the pass. BC Parks don't have nearly enough resources to police all that.


Here in Kananaskis AB Parks introduced this year annual 'Conservation Pass', and it's not even free like BC Parks pass (90 $ / year, more than National Parks Pass!!), but I know for a fact many are just not paying & still going.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-17-2021, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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Nice, I was supposed to do that hike a week ago but I couldnt get a parking pass for the day. Beautiful trail and without the crowds of the Garibaldi Lake trail.
I'm with you. When we parked at the Cheakamus Lake trailhead. The parking lot was full of course but almost everyone was going along the trail to the lake. Only a very small number were heading up the trail to Helm Meadows.

I like the Helm trail a lot better than Rubble Creek. It's much cooler because it's shaded and on North aspect almost the whole way. The new trail is wonderful and there are fewer people using it

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-17-2021, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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So what happens if they catch you without the pass? I am sure there are tons of people just ignoring it, or going anyways if they can't get the pass. BC Parks don't have nearly enough resources to police all that
No such luck my friend. You can't even get into the trailhead parking lot unless you go through a park ranger who is at the trailhead. They have an ATCO trailer, orange cones to direct cars ... The park staff have a spreadsheet output of all those who have confirmation numbers.

Unless you can show the email with the confirmation number you don't get in. They're taking this very seriously

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 08-24-2021, 06:48 PM
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xj6response,
That looks like a beautiful hike. Glad you had good weather.
I am unfamiliar with the area. Another trail conditions site mentions that the access road off the main road (sorry, nothing more specific) is rough, and maybe a high-clearance vehicle would be needed. Would that correlate with your experience?
Thanks!
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 08-24-2021, 07:11 PM Thread Starter
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xj6responseAnother trail conditions site mentions that the access road off the main road (sorry, nothing more specific) is rough, and maybe a high-clearance vehicle would be needed. Would that correlate with your experience?
Thanks!
The hike is very enjoyable, steep and strenuous for half of it not too bad for other half. Absolutely beautiful up there, makes a great day hike. I like that trail much better than the one from Rubble Creek which is so crowded but of course it's easier to get to.

As for the road, yes it's passable but pretty rough. You really should have a high-clearance two wheel drive or decent four wheel drive vehicle. You could do it in a lesser vehicle but you're going to have some big potholes to get through.

A few years ago we had to help two young guys with a low clearance 2-wheel drive vehicle get back to Whistler because they ripped their oil pan on the road.

At any rate, just don't drive too fast, you'll get there.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 08-24-2021, 07:50 PM
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Thank you. Hmm, I might not want to take a rental SUV up there. Especially if there are few turnaround spots should I chicken out en route.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 08-24-2021, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you. Hmm, I might not want to take a rental SUV up there. Especially if there are few turnaround spots should I chicken out en route.
Depending on the SUV, I would probably take it up that road. It's the low clearance and the potholes that would be an issue for a low clearance 2WD car. Most SUVs would be okay. But you should drive carefully to avoid the potholes. It's also a fairly long drive to the trailhead. Six or seven kilometres as I recall from the turn off on to the Cheakamus main road.

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post #10 of (permalink) Old 08-26-2021, 10:36 PM
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I made it at a time with very low clearance car; maybe conditions changed in the meantime. Went for Castle Towers & camped 2 nights at Helm. It's a nice trail, but really need to go further for all that glorious alpine
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 08-28-2021, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by zeljkok View Post
I made it at a time with very low clearance car; maybe conditions changed in the meantime. Went for Castle Towers & camped 2 nights at Helm. It's a nice trail, but really need to go further for all that glorious alpine
A few years ago I was up that way and it wasn't too bad. Lots of potholes for small cars to struggle with now.

You're right about going further, there's so much great terrain up there

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post #12 of (permalink) Old 08-30-2021, 09:08 AM
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I drove my Prius to this parking lot in July - had no problem
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 09-18-2021, 07:47 PM
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Anyone go up here in September? Im still hoping to make the trip next weekend.

if you're not hiking you should be skiing
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