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Gwillim Lakes Trail

Intermediate/Difficult
 5.0 (1)

Excellent alpine trail with terrific mountain views and beautiful lakes.


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Map Key

3.6

Miles

5.8

KM

68%

Runnable

7,048' 2,148 m

High

5,331' 1,625 m

Low

2,117' 645 m

Up

419' 128 m

Down

13%

Avg Grade (8°)

46%

Max Grade (24°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · Lake · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Need to Know

As with any of the backcountry parking in the Kootenays, make sure to wrap chicken wire around your vehicle to prevent procupines from chewing on your fuel lines, etc. We brought our own but there was plenty at the upper trailhead. Not sure about the various lower parking spots along the road, though.

Description

Most of the road to the trailhead is easy 2WD on a well-graded gravel road, but last few KMs or so get progressively rougher and bushier, so where you start depends on what vehicle you have and how comfortable you are with driving on the road. This track leads from the end of the road/upper parking.

The trail is relatively busy for the area, well-graded and easy to follow. There are some steep spots and a few ups and downs, so cumulative elevation gain is quite a bit more than net gain (I believe 800 m vs around 500 m). After an hour or so you'll reach Drinnon Lake, which is a nice spot to take a break, has camping spots available, or could be a turnaround point if you want a shorter day.

You then ascend up to a plateau and plateau/alpine meadow where the views start to open up while you rest your legs on the flat stretch. You then descend after the pass and finally make the final ascent through a valley up to Gwillim Lakes and an expansive meadow with plenty of other tarns and rewarding views. Lots of camping potential at Gwillim Lakes.

Flora & Fauna

Typical Kootenay/Rockies flora and fauna (e.g., lupine, paintbrush, heather, pikas, marmots, etc.).

Contacts

Land Manager: BC Parks - Valhalla

Shared By:

Tony Redford

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#5947

Overall
  5.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#5,947

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Photos

Gwillim Lakes, Devil's Dome in background.
Apr 27, 2021 near Nakusp, BC
Tarns in the meadow by Drinnon Pass.
Apr 27, 2021 near Nakusp, BC
Somewhat smoky view on the way to Gwillim Lakes.
Apr 27, 2021 near Nakusp, BC
View from Drinnon Lake.
Apr 27, 2021 near Nakusp, BC
Rocky outcropping just before Gwillim Lakes.
Apr 27, 2021 near Nakusp, BC

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