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Bedwell Lake Trail Guide - photos & guide by Lonny Barr  


Early morning Bedwell - Bedwell Lake Trail Guide - photos & guide by Lonny Barr
Early morning Bedwell

Info:

  • Distance: From parking lot to Bedwell Lake Campground is 6km, with about 500m of elevation gain. From Bedwell Lake to Cream lake is about 6km, with about 400m of elevation gain.
  • Difficulty: From parking lot to Bedwell Lake is easy/moderate. From Bedwell Lake to Cream Lake is easy/moderate.
  • Hiking Time: About 3-4 hours one-way from parking lot to Bedwell Lake. About 2-3 hours one-way from Bedwell Lake to Cream Lake.
  • Camping Fees: $10 per person per night camping fee paid at parking lot/trailhead. Be sure to bring receipt with you while in the backcountry.
  • How to get there: Take the island highway to Campbell River and turn onto Highway 28 (to Gold River). As you enter Strathcona Park and get to Buttle Lake, do not turn right towards Gold River. Instead, continue heading south along the east side of Buttle Lake to the very south end of Buttle Lake. After reaching the end of the lake, look for Jim Mitchell Lake Rd on your left immediately after crossing the Thelwood Creek bridge. Follow Jim Mitchell Lake Road all the way to the trailhead, which is 7km up. Note that Jim Mitchell Lake Rd is a gravel road and it would be best to have a high-clearance 4x4 vehicle to get up it.

[slideshow:click here to see images full size / or hit any thumbnail to resize images to fit your screen] keyboard shortcuts: arrows = Fwd & Back | F11 = full screen

Trailhead - Bedwell Lake Trail Guide - photos & guide by Lonny Barr
Trailhead
Old Growth - Bedwell Lake Trail Guide - photos & guide by Lonny Barr
Old Growth
Switchbacks - Bedwell Lake Trail Guide - photos & guide by Lonny Barr
Switchbacks
Bridge - Bedwell Lake Trail Guide - photos & guide by Lonny Barr
Bridge

Remarks:

  • This trail is best between June and October. Be aware of snow levels early in the season.
  • The weather can deteriorate quickly at higher elevations. Always dress appropriately and watch the weather carefully.
  • Camping is available at Baby Bedwell (about 4 km in) and Bedwell Lake (about 6km in). There are wooden platforms for tents and outhouses as well as bear caches. You can also backcountry camp at Cream Lake, but there are no facilities of any kind there.
  • This is a great area to use as a base for climbing a number of mountains, including Big Interior, Mt. Tom Taylor, Mt. Septimus, and Nine Peaks.
  • There are no fires permitted in this area of Strathcona Park at any time of year.
  • There are lots of rivers and lakes along this trail to provide drinking water. You may want to filter water from the lakes.
  • All the lakes are great for swimming in.
  • http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/strath/

Baby Bedwell - Bedwell Lake Trail Guide - photos & guide by Lonny Barr
Baby Bedwell
Bedwell Viewpoint - Bedwell Lake Trail Guide - photos & guide by Lonny Barr
Bedwell Viewpoint
Bedwell and Big Interior - Bedwell Lake Trail Guide - photos & guide by Lonny Barr
Bedwell and Big Interior
Swimming - Bedwell Lake Trail Guide - photos & guide by Lonny Barr
Swimming

The Bedwell Lake area of Strathcona Park is a beautiful area to explore. It can be a good day hike, or used as a base camp for many great destinations in the area. Options include Mt. Tom Taylor, Mt. Septimus, Big Interior, and a route down the Bedwell Valley to the Pacific. The trail is very well built, and the campsites offer a chance to camp among some amazing scenery.

Little Jim Lake - Bedwell Lake Trail Guide - photos & guide by Lonny Barr
Little Jim Lake
Drinkwater Pass and Mt Septimus - Bedwell Lake Trail Guide - photos & guide by Lonny Barr
Drinkwater Pass and Mt Septimus
Lonny and Jordan at Drinkwater Pass - Bedwell Lake Trail Guide - photos & guide by Lonny Barr
Lonny and Jordan at Drinkwater Pass
Nine Peaks - Bedwell Lake Trail Guide - photos & guide by Lonny Barr
Nine Peaks

Day 1

I did this hike in mid-July 2013 with my wife and our 5-month old puppy. We had clear skies, warm temperatures, and a full moon. After driving to the trailhead Friday night and sleeping in the box of the truck, we got started on the trail by about 8am on Saturday morning.

The trail begins by winding through some nice old-growth forest, and soon there are 2 large bridges to cross before starting up steep switchbacks. There are some large boulders on this steep forested slope, and at one point the trail winds through a large gap between two of them. After some more elevation gain you will start to catch glimpses of Mt. Myra if you turn around to look down the Thelwood Creek Valley behind you. After another few bridge crossings the trail begins to get steep again, with a number of wooden staircases. Shortly after a steep, metal staircase the trail begins to level out as you begin to approach Baby Bedwell.

Baby Bedwell is a nice little lake with a selection of campsites, all with a great view overlooking the lake and Mt. Tom Taylor in behind. You can either camp here or continue along the east shore of the lake, where the trail climbs up a series of steep metal staircases up to a viewpoint overlooking Bedwell Lake. This spot gives you an amazing panorama of the area, with Big Interior to the left, Bedwell in the middle, and Mt. Tom Taylor to the right. The trail then descends down to the lake and follows the east shoreline to the campsite at the south end of the lake.

After setting up camp and having lunch, we went for a swim to cool off before heading up to Cream Lake for the afternoon. The trail climbs upwards, parallel to a river flowing down to Bedwell from Little Jim Lake. You then arrive at a nice waterfall, which you must scramble up the left hand side of to reach Little Jim Lake, which will either be frozen over or the clearest water you’ve ever seen. From the lake, you get your first view of Mt. Septimus to the East, which will be your bearing for the rest of the hike to Cream Lake. After traversing the north shore of Little Jim, you begin to climb up to Drinkwater Pass. From here, you get a good look at Nine Peaks and even the top part of Della Falls. A little bit farther along the trail and you will see Cream Lake below, sitting right at the base of Mt. Septimus. In the background you can see Flower Ridge along the skyline.

Cream Lake is a beautiful green colour, and is a great place to backcountry camp. There is a large boulder with an overhang that would nicely fit a tent under it. From here, it is possible to link up with the old Price Creek trail, which follows Price Creek down to Buttle Lake. This route is no longer maintained, and the connection between Cream Lake and Price Creek is steep, with a route that is not well marked. It would also be possible to continue up and over Septimus and down to Love Lake, to complete a Buttle Lake to Great Central Lake traverse via the Della Falls trail.

After a break at Cream Lake we reversed our tracks back to Bedwell for another swim and dinner. Then we had some gin and tonics while watching the sun go down behind Mt. Tom Taylor and the full moon rise over Big Interior. We talked to other groups of campers who were doing similar excursions in the area before heading to bed.

Cream Lake Viewpoint - Bedwell Lake Trail Guide - photos & guide by Lonny Barr
Cream Lake Viewpoint
Tired Puppy - Bedwell Lake Trail Guide - photos & guide by Lonny Barr
Tired Puppy
Ukee after a long day hiking - Bedwell Lake Trail Guide - photos & guide by Lonny Barr
Ukee after a long day hiking
Bedwell Map - Bedwell Lake Trail Guide - photos & guide by Lonny Barr
Bedwell Map

Day 2

After breakfast, we lounged in the sun and swam all morning, being in no rush to leave our scenic spot on the lake. We had lunch before packing up our gear and heading back towards the trailhead. It was a hot afternoon for the hike down, and after we got to the trailhead we drove to Buttle Lake for another swim before the long drive home.



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