One of Slocan’s claims to fame is its status as the Gateway to Valhalla Provincial Park. The park encompasses most of the Valhalla Range of the Selkirk Mountains and follows 30 kilometres of the west shore of Slocan Lake. Most of Valhalla’s trails are accessible only by water or driving up forest service roads — and most are listed as moderate to difficult. The exception (though still rated moderate) is the Slocan-Evans Creek trail, which starts right in Slocan City and winds along the edge of Slocan Lake.
We tackled the Slocan-Evans Creek trail on a smoky Sunday morning. To this point on our trip we had completely avoided the smoke pouring into BC from wildfires to the south, but on this morning the wind turned and the air became thick. We resolved to hike at a moderate pace to avoid breathing the foul air too deeply.
For the most part, the trail was pleasant and wooded, with great views of the lake below. The area was noted as “prime Grizzly Bear habitat” but we saw no bears and no sign any had been there recently. Humans were also scarce — we saw a total of three the whole time we were on the trail. The biggest challenge was a wide boulder field that in some places demanded four points of contact — no small feat when one is carrying a camera! The boulders were ridiculously attractive, though, covered in orange moss and spilling down the steep hillside like a river of flowing stones.
Although enjoyable, we ended up cutting the hike short because of the smoky air. We tried to convince ourselves it was just mist (which it looks like in this photo), but our lungs told us otherwise. Still, we hiked for more than three hours, had a nice picnic on a beach and were happy to have made the effort.