In May 2014 we backpacked the Tikwalus Heritage Trail (formerly named the First Brigade Trail) in the Fraser Canyon. The trail starts near Hell’s Gate, and it is a steep but worthwhile 6.5km hike (with many rewarding switchbacks, as we like to joke). There are several interpretive signs along the trail, detailing the use of this route by First Nations and later by fur traders and prospectors as well.

The choice – follow the miners (left) or the fur traders (right)?

The choice – follow the miners (left) or the fur traders (right)?

We opted to take the Bluffs Route on the ascent and looped around the next morning on the Lakes Route before heading down.

Black Canyon viewpoint on the Bluffs Route – looking down at Hell’s Gate tunnel

Black Canyon viewpoint on the Bluffs Route – looking down at Hell’s Gate tunnel

The campsite at the top is well equipped with an outhouse, picnic table, bear bin and a couple of fire pits, plus many benches. There are no tent pads but quite a few flat-ish spots for setting up.

Benches and fire pit

Benches and fire pit

May seems to be an ideal time of year for this trip, as the snow is already gone from the top but the scorching heat of summer in this area is still a long way off.

View from the top

View from the top

Rather than doing the loop, it is possible to continue on the Bluffs Trail and then down to the highway on the 17 Mile Creek Mule Trail, or on to Gates Mountain.

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Raegan

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