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Larch Hills Traverse

Sicamous & East Shuswap
Distance: Approx. 2 km from visitor centre to trailhead, 4 km (one way from trail to Sicamous Forest viewpoint), 7.4 km (one way from trailhead to Hyde Mtn. viewpoint), 38 km (one way from trailhead to Salmon Arm)
Difficulty: More Difficult
Duration: Various. 1 hour (one way to Sicamous Forest Viewpoint), 2.5 hours (one way to Hyde Mtn. viewpoint), 8-12 hours (one way by cycle or ski to Salmon Arm)
Trail Access / Features
Walk / Hike Mountain Biking Horse Trail Snow Shoeing Cross Country Ski Wildlife

Trail Notes / Current Conditions:

June 28, 2018 – Hemlock Glide Trail Closure - CFP will start harvesting adjacent to the Hemlock Glide trail June 28th.    Hemlock Glide from the intersection of White Pine and After Thought  trails and north to Larch Hills Road is closed  for public safety due to the proximity of harvesting to the trail.   Harvesting is from Mon- Fri and from 4am to 5pm.  Outside of those hours and weekends the trail can be used.  White Pine and After Thought trails are not affected. Trail closure notices have been placed at closure at the intersection of Afterthought and Hemlock Glide,  Fir Lane and Hemlock Glide as well as the at the entry to Lookout Run.  This closure is temporary and will be removed as soon as possible.

June 26, 2018: Temporary Trail Closures - Sicamous Switch Backs Closed JUNE 27 2018.  Starting June 27 /18 (TOMORROW) Canoe Forest Products will be conducting harvesting operations at the top of the Sicamous Switch Backs from: Mon – Fri from 4am to 5pm daily.  Canoe Forest Products is working with The Shuswap Trail Alliance to ensure that this closure is as short as posible and has minimal effect on the trail network. The Sicamous Switch Backs will be open out side of operational hours. There will be no exit to Sicamous during operational hours

June 15, 2018: The 112 FSR is actively being used by logging trucks and other industrial vehicles Monday – Friday 4am – 5pm daily.  Here's a dropbox link to a map showing the current reroute section.

June 15 2018 UPDATE: Canoe Forest Products are done harvesting adjacent to the end of the Raspberry and start of the Mica sections of the LHT.  Users of the 112 road are advised to be aware that log hauling is ongoing on the 112 road Mon – Fri from 4am to 5pm daily for the next 4-5 weeks. 

Harvesting is STILL occurring adjacent to the uppermost road access to the start of Muffin Top.  Log hauling down the 110.000 road from this location will occur Mon – Fri, 4am to 5pm daily for the next 4 5weeks.  There are no trail closures associated with this harvesting, however individuals utilizing the 110.000 road for access to the trails must be aware of the increased logging truck traffic and yield the right of way to these vehicles when encountered. 

Dec 10/17: NEW! Top-o-the-Sic section added - another 2 km of single-track trail gets you off the forestry road and completes the Larch Hills Traverse trail section above Sicamous. Combined with the Raspberry section built in 2014 & 2015, and the Hyde-Around section built in 2016, the new Top-O-the-Sic section creates over 10 km of dedicated non-motorized single track trail bliss accessible from Sicamous by mountain bike, hiking, snowshoe, and backcountry skiing. Create 8 - 20 + kilometer loop options just from Sicamous. And of course, add it to your already epic Salmon Arm-to-Sicamous traverse on foot, mountain bike, or backcountry ski/snowshoe for an epic 40 km! Plus it links into the Hyde Mountain Lookout route adding a lovely new non-road trail section to that day-long hike option from Sicamous. Very awesome! (STA, RSTBC, BCRDP Grant) Check out the new Geo-Referenced PDF Map

 
General Trail Notes and Conditions: Maps 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:

This is the Sicamous Trailhead of the epic cross-country highland trail linking Salmon Arm and Sicamous over the Larch Hills. It’s also a lovely trail for a shorter stroll up through the forests on the western slope above Sicamous Narrows, or a day hike to the spectacular viewpoint above Hyde Mountain, with views east over Mara Lake. (See the Salmon Arm section for a description of the full Larch Hills Traverse or see the Hyde Mtn. Lookout Trail description in the Sicamous section). 

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.

Explore three new trail sections added each season between 2014 and 2017, including the 3 km Raspberry Hill section with spectacular new views high over Shuswap lake, the 2+ km Hyde Around section winding through varying forest types, and the most recent 2 km Top-o-the-Sic section that now connects the top of the Switchbacks all the way over to the Raspberry Hill section, eliminating the need to use the 112 Forestry Road. Effectively, the entire east side of the Traverse is now doable all on sweet single track trails. These sections can also be combined with the old 112 Forestry Road to create unique loops of their own for an out-and-back trail experience starting and ending in Sicamous.

A series of 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.

As mentioned, 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

New! Geo-Referenced PDF Map

Annotated Guide: PDF (Goes with theses GPS Map numbers which match waypoints along the track. And here is a Dropbox link to the KMZ file to open in Google Earth with all those lovely post numbers.)

 

Access:

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 km from the Sicamous Narrows bridge. Turn south (right) 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. NOTE: For those driving to the trailhead, please drive out to the Shuswap Lake rest stop 3km West of the turn. Turn around here and drive back to the Forest Service Road. There is no turn lane and it is a dangerous spot to turn left/south off Hwy 1 (double yellow line). Please park in the designated area only.

West (Salmon Arm) and South Trailhead (Larch Hills): See the Salmon Arm section for a description of alternate trailheads.

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, and knowledge of backcountry travel and navigation are essential. Plan accordingly.

 

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