Posted by: cherylyoung | September 12, 2012

Valhalla Provincial Park is a magnificent world-class wilderness

 

Valhalla Provincial Park is a magnificent world-class

wilderness, encompassing 49,893 hectares of natural

landscape and 30 kms of pristine shoreline along

Slocan Lake.

Three biogeoclimatic zones are found within

Valhalla: interior cedar/hemlock, Engelmann

spruce/subalpine fir and alpine tundra.

Due to a moist climate, interesting plant

communities such as yellow cedar, Engelmann

spruce/fern associations, and coastal fern

communities are important features of the area.

 

According to Norse mythology, Valhalla was a

palace roofed with shields, wherein lived the

bravest of the slain Norse warriors. 

There, under the leadership of the god Odin, they

lived a happy life waiting for the day when they

 would be rallied to march out of the palace and

do battle with the giants.

 

The spirit of Valhalla lives on in the splendour of

 this portion of southeastern British Columbia,

where great palaces of rock call forth majestic

images with names such as Asgard, Gimli and Thor.

 

The Valhalla Range is a dramatically diverse area

in the Selkirk Mountains.

 

Deep river valleys, large subalpine lakes and granite

 peaks of up to 2,827 metres grace this park.

Both Evans Lake and Beatrice Lake are uncommonly

 large for high elevation lakes in BC. Surrounding

 the lakes are numerous mountains with

castellated peaks.

 

The peaks are truly magnificent. In the northwest,

 New Denver Glacier at 2,758 metres dominates the

landscape, while the block-shaped Devil’s Couch

at 2,667 metres and Hela Peak at 2,717 metres

define the central area.

Along the southwestern boundary is an outstanding

group of spires including Mount Dag, the Wolfs

Ears, Gimli, Asgard and Gladsheim – all over

2,660 metres.

 

 Numerous cirque basins, several larger deep lakes

and chains of small lakes surround the ridges.

 

Slocan Lake sits at 537 metres, well below most of

the park, forcing waterways to cut deeply into the

landscape as it descends some 2,000 metres before

reaching the lake.

 

Numerous cascades and waterfalls are scattered

throughout the park.

Mountain caribou, mule and whitetail deer,

mountain goats, cougars, black bears and grizzly

 bears roam Valhalla Park, and smaller mammals

like marmots and pikas can occasionally be seen

among the rocks.  

 

Alpine ptarmigans and golden eagles are favourite

birds to watch for when hiking Valhalla.

Backcountry wilderness hiking and camping are

the main recreational activities in this park.

 

Camping is restricted to designated sites along

established trails and on Slocan Lake beaches. 

Campfire pits are provided on the beach areas.

Only some sites provide pit toilets. 

 

There are some overnights cabins available in

the park.

 

Evans Lake Cabin and the Cove Creek Cabin serve

 as public shelters and offer accommodation for

 a maximum of four persons in each cabin.

 Camping facilities are provided at Gwillim, Wicca

and Cahill Lakes.

 

Visitors are reminded that this park is a rugged

wilderness area without supplies or equipment

of any kind.

 

Campers need to be fully self-sufficient and

 practice “no trace” camping.

 

The hiking trails that cover a variety of distances

and terrains lead from the six main drainages

 from the mountain heights to Slocan Lake below,

and from the Hoder Creek Logging Road past

Drinnon Lake and Gwillim Lakes in the southwest.

Hiking ranges from short walks to wilderness treks

 and mountain climbing.

 

Higher elevation lakes have been stocked to provide

 good fishing.

 

Visitors who opt to canoe to the beaches and trails

should note that strong crosswinds may blow up

suddenly. 

 

Early morning starts are recommended.

 

The shoreline of Slocan Lake is for the most part a

rugged combination of bluffs and large rocks

interspersed with beautifully isolated pebble and

sand beaches. 

 

Pictographs on the rock bluffs overhanging Slocan

Lake are reminders of early native inhabitation

of the area by the Kootenai and Salish First Nations.

 

It wasn’t until the 1850s that prospectors and s

urveyors came into the area, and Slocan Lake

became a highway of commerce for early towns in

the Kootenays.

 

Overgrown trails and logging flumes mark the

passing of the local mining boom that brought

 Europeans to this area.

 

Valhalla Provincial Park is located on the west

shore of Slocan Lake, north of Slocan and

Castlegar, and encompasses most of the Valhalla

Range of the Selkirk Mountains.

 

Boat access across Slocan Lake is required to reach

 this wilderness – from Highway 6 between Slocan

and New Denver.

 

The closest communities of Slocan, Silverton, and

New Denver all have boat launches. Commercial

water taxis will also take visitors across Slocan

Lake to the various trailheads.

 

The park can also be accessed from forestry

 services roads and wilderness trails from the west

side of Slocan Lake. 

 

 Helicopter and floatplanes can access the park at

Evans Lake

 

This Blog is brought to you by

CHERYL YOUNG, SISTER, REALTOR

SAANICH PENINSULA REALTY

www.cherylyoung.ca 

www.facebook.com/cherylcyoung

www.twitter.com/CherylCYoung

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