Sunshine Coast parks, trails
A big, long addition
to the "wish lists" of many hard core backpackers in
British Columbia Canada is the Sunshine Coast Trail (marked
as SCT on many trail marker signs). Many years in the making,
the trail route opened as of just recently in 1999. A route spanning
over 180 km (yes that is not a misprint) starting/ending from
just outside the community of Lund, BC at Sarah Point and ending/starting at the BC Ferry community of Saltery Bay.
The Sunshine Coast Trail route travels through
many eco systems and different environments. Some areas of the
Sunshine Coast Trail seem civilized with accommodations and restaurants
found along the route. Opportunity to restock supplies. There
is the odd man-made bridge and sections of boardwalk too but do
no let that fool you. Most of the trail is rugged wilderness travelling
through valleys, forests and along mountain ridges surrounded
by natural structures like old growth trees, waterfalls, rivers,
lakes and ponds. The Sunshine Coast Trail delivers with panoramic
views, wildlife and a wide assortment of fauna and flora... and
some very slippery moss covered trail areas to navigate.
The whole Sunshine Coast Trail system is broken
into smaller segments for shorter hikes with some wilderness campgrounds
located along the trail. Some campgrounds are serviced by pit
toilets and many with picnic tables. Most sites range from two
spots to 20 or more sites. The segmentation of the trail into
sections creates a unique opportunity to explore sections of the
trail by day and, yet, still enjoy a warm comfortable lodging
Plan your hiking wisely, dress in layers and purchase a map from
any of the many communities in the northern portion of the Sunshine
Coast so to scout out your routes and campgrounds before embarking
on your journey. Below are some of the highlights to expect from
each section of the Sunshine Coast Trail.
Trail Segment #1- Sarah Point to Malaspina Rd. (21.3
Moderate hiking most of the way until 3/4 of the way through when
there are some elevation gains and climbs to contend with. There
is an emergency campsite at Feather Cove with the main campground
located at Cochrane Bay. Some great swimming holes along the way
including Wednesday Lake. There are ocean views from the Manzanita
Trail Segment #2 - Malaspina Rd to Powell Lake (29.2
Moderate hiking conditions. Canoe Bay is the location
of the main campground. Visit the big trees in Rainforest Valley,
the tall Toquenatch Fir and "Old Gnarley". A 9ft. diameter
fir tree. There are views from Gibraltar Viewpoint of the Pacific
Ocean and from the Kayach Bluffs there are viiews of Big Sliammon
Lake. Along one stretch of this trail section there are waterfalls.
Lakes like the Theth Yeth Lake, Dogleg Pond, Little Sliammon Lake
and Rievely's Pond are great for swimming and bird watching. The
trail ends at Shinglemill Pub & Bistro. Real food and chance
Trail Segment #3 - Mowat Bay Municipal Park to Fiddlehead
Farm (20.9 km)
Moderate hiking conditions to Inland Lake. Difficulty
level increases hiking towards Condederation Lake and heading
down to Fiddlehead. Campgrounds are located at Haywire Bay, Confederation
Lake and Inland Lake. Confederation Lake also has a cabin accommodation.
There are swimming opportunities at Mowat Bay Municipal Park,
Wednesday Point. Great scenic view of Giovanni Valley and Tin
Hat Mountain from Vomit Vista.
Trail Segment #4 - Tinhat Mountain to Eagle River (54.6
Difficult hiking conditions as tail section is more rugged,
slippery and less developed with large elevation gains and losses.
Campgrounds located at Lewis Lake and at Elk Lake. Both are popular
swimming holes. Some of the best scenic views are along this section
of the route like at Tinhat Mountain. Here you can view more than
two dozen lakes, many mountain ranges and the ocean straits. There
are ample opportunities to hike through old growth forests of
cedar and fir trees.
Trail Segment #5 - Lois Lake Dam to Saltery Bay (42 km)
Another difficult section of hiking along rough trails and hiking
up large elevation gains. Campgrounds are located at start of
Powell Forest Canoe Route, Elephant Lake, Rainy Day Lake and Saltey
Bay. Swimming is best at Rainy Day Lake and Elephant Lake. The
effort is rewarded during this hike with scenic views from 1300
m at Mount Troubridge and Grouse Ridge.