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Larch Hills Traverse

Salmon Arm & Area
Distance: 38 km (one way)
Difficulty: More Difficult
Duration: 6 - 10 hours (one way) by cycle, or 11-14 hours backcountry ski tour
Trail Access / Features
Walk / Hike Mountain Biking Horse Trail Snow Shoeing Cross Country Ski Wildlife

Trail Notes / Current Conditions:

June 20/2017: Timber Harvest Work along Larch Hills Traverse on Metford Road above South Canoe - Canoe Forest Products (CFP) has begun road upgrades/reactivation activities along the upper section of Metford Rd. (106.000 Rd) beginning around 4.5km from the South Canoe trailhead, and heading north out of the woodlot. Recreational users can expect to find to tracked equipment (excavators), dump trucks, crew trucks and fallers working along this section of road Mon – Fri 3am – 6pm for the next few weeks. Where work is occurring road crews will have signs up indicating controlled access through the work site area. Users wishing to access the Larch Hills Traverse through this area may consider using Ravens Run as an alternate route around the road work. (See the map link for details.)
 
June 12 2017 -   Condiditons shared by hikers -  starting at the Larch Hills XC area and ending at the Sicamous Trailhead just above the TC highway. Track was 33.3 km's, started at 7:30am and finished at 3:15pm.  2-3 trees down (recently) - trail is in great shape. No snow, and trail tread dry. Fresh bear scat evident mostly along the old forest service road/xc tails at the beginning and end of the trail. Did not see any bears. Lots of moose scat evident as well especially in the many young forest sections and it would appear that moose enjoy the LH Traverse too! Lots of tree clearing work recently done at the Larch xc end
 
May 18 2017 - Blowdown has been cleared from Rock Garden to Sicamous.  If you know of any other downed tree's or poor trail conditions please send in a Trail Report. Access above this point is questionable.
 
Water pooling upto axle for about 25 meters at the bottom of Raspberry Hill. Please dismount and walk through wet section to avoid rutting. Your feet will get wet.

WATCH for LOGGING TRUCKS - May - July: Canoe Forest Products will be harvesting cutblocks located on the 110 road to the west (approx. 300m) of the start of the “Game trail” section of the Larch Hills traverse.   Access to the Larchhills traverse on the 110 FSRoad is unlikely. Road repair is required. If you use the 110 road expect industrial logging traffic on the main 110.000 road Monday – Friday.

 Trail Notes and Conditions: Maps and and a GPS are recommended.  Or go with someone familiar with the trail.  Some intersections are confusing and some signs may be missing or down.

Trail Description:

The Larch Hills Traverse is the first section of the Shuswap Trail to be completed. It’s an epic 38 kilometre highland cross-country romp through the forests, fens, and dramatic lake vistas of the Larch Hills, linking the communities of Salmon Arm and Sicamous.

Watch for new trail sections being added each season, including the most recent 3 km Raspberry Hill section with spectacular new views high over Shuswap lake.

Seven distinct sections make up the full traverse. Each offers its own unique character to the journey. The trail connects forestry road and singletrack trails through a variety of ecosystems and terrain. Many amazing viewpoints overlooking Shuswap and Mara Lakes are your rewards. Best traveled from Salmon Arm to Sicamous for cyclists.

The route is a four season challenge, with variations in the winter where more obvious lines open up under snow cover. It’s doable in a very long day by mountain bikers or nordic ski tourers, but also lends itself well to an overnight, especially for through hikers.

A series of shorter circuit trips can be linked along the extended route. Together they can be collected over time to build a complete traverse. Parties can also add overnight visits to the Larch Hills Nordic Society’s Main Chalet or Cec’s Cabin. New single track trail sections and overnight shelters are planned for the future, to extend winter and summer touring options for the area. Watch for updates. 

Trail Info: Map

Annotated Guide: PDF (Goes with the GPS map numbers match waypoints along the track)


Access:

Travelling West to East :

The western trailhead starts in the community of Salmon Arm in the parking area at the eastern end of 10th Ave. SE just off the Highway 97 B connector to Enderby. This is also the site of the South Canoe trail system frequented by cyclists, hikers and equestrians in the area. 

From the South Canoe parking lot in Salmon Arm the traverse climbs Metford Forest Service Road to link into the Larch Hills Nordic ski trail system via Mushroom Fantasy, Ermine Frolic and Reino’s Run to the South Hub. From there follow Larch Hills Road, Larch Lake Loop, Moonwalk, and Clearcut Connector ski trails. Then watch for the Larch Hills Traverse sign posts. 

From the northern point of the nordic trails, new sections of flowing single track trail connect the 110, 109 and 112 Forestry Roads, with views of the surrounding highlands and lake. The final descent to Sicamous follows a beautiful trail through mixed cedar and hemlock forest on a remarkable weave of switch backs. For mountain bikers the descent comes as a fine reward. Walk or ride down the highway and over the Sicamous Narrows bridge (use sidewalk on the north side) to the Sicamous wharf parking area – the official eastern trailhead.

West Trailhead (Salmon Arm ):

From the Trans Canada Hwy and Haney Heritage Park in east Salmon Arm, travel 2 km south on Hwy 97B to the cross walk, and turn east onto 10th Ave SE. Follow to the end where the road turns to gravel then park on the left. The traverse starts here following Metford Forestry Road at the locked gate.

East Trailhead (Sicamous ):

Park at the Visitors Information Centre or Wharf in Sicamous. Walk or cycle west along north side of Sicamous Narrows Bridge to the “Welcome to Sicamous” sign 1 kilometre from the Sicamous Narrows bridge. Turn south (left) off the highway at the sign. Follow the 2 wheel drive accessible Forest Service Road 400 meters, to the obvious trailhead sign on the right.

Alternate South Trailhead (Larch Hills ):

Approx. 8.7 km south of Salmon Arm on Hwy. 97B, turn east on Grandview Bench Rd. at the Larch Hills Nordic sign. After approx. 5.4 km turn left/north onto Edgar Rd. After another 3 km, keep left at the junction, and travel another 3 km to the Larch Hills ski area. Park at the main Larch Hills Nordic Chalet Parking Lot. NOTE: Equestrian access is limited at other trailheads. This is the best access for equestrian riders with trailers to park.

Access Map: From Sicamous, From Salmon Arm, From Larch Hills

Access PDFs: 109 FSR, 110 FSR, 112 FSR, Metford Rd.

Warnings:

CAUTION: Wilderness Trail. This is not for the faint of heart. Careful preparation, adequate food, water, gear, knowledge of backcountry travel and navigation are essential. Plan accordingly.

 

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