Trip 159 - July 12, 2019 (Friday)
Crazy Creek Trail Hike
Off Highway 20 Near Tatla Lake BC
Liked: Excellent mountain views, shade in the forest.
Of Note: Remote wilderness area, numerous mosquitoes in the second half of the trail, a very long marshy area with high bushes in sub-alpine, loose rock and dirt in alpine. Hiking poles and boots are recommended (to sub-alpine) and are essential (in sub-alpine and alpine). GPS recommended.
Cariboo Chilcotin Coast BC Backroad Mapbook (4th edition) Trailhead Coordinates: Page 13 (Tatlayoko Lake) F3.
Related Trip Report: 130 - BC Highway 20 (Williams Lake to Bella Coola).
Another Trip in Tatla Lake Area: Tatlayoko Lake East Trail Hike.
Crazy Creek Trail is located off Tatlayoko Lake Road, which, in turn, branches off BC Highway 20 near the settlement of Tatla Lake. It's a remote area, which means that you are likely to have it all to yourself, regardless of when you hike it. The mountain views are great. However, to see these views you would need to traverse a very large marshy area with knee-high bushes and hordes of mosquitoes, and then climb a steep mountain made of loose rocks and dirt. It's a very challenging trail beyond the forest, and would be suitable for experienced, well-equipped hikers only.
As for the trailhead access, Highway 20 is paved, Eagle Lake and
Tatlayoko Lake roads are gravel with some potholes, and Snoring Horse
Ranch access road is gravel and in a somewhat rough shape. High
clearance vehicles (2WD ok) would easily make it to the trailhead
parking. Low clearance vehicles may have to park on Tatlayoko Lake Road,
so the hike would be extended by 2 km each way.
1. We are Westbound on BC Highway 20, heading towards Tatla Lake.
2. Approaching Eagle Lake Road - the sign indicates that Eagle Bear Lodge and Eagle Roost Guest Houses are located in that direction.
3. Approximately 210 kilometers West of Williams Lake, we are turning left onto Eagle Lake Road. Tatla Lake would be several kilometers ahead on Highway 20 - food and gas are available in Tatla Lake.
4. Eagle Lake Road immediately after turning from Highway 20. Coordinates: N 51’55’541 W 124’29’130. Elevation: 965 meters.
5. Driving on Eagle Lake Road. It is possible to maintain a speed of 50-60 km/h. Watch for cows.
6. 16 kilometers after turning from Highway 20, arrive to a T-junction with Tatlayoko Lake Road and turn left. Coordinates: N 51’47’976 W 124’27’968. Elevation: 1,012 meters. Turning right would lead back to Highway 20, but closer to Tatla Lake. So, if you are driving East on Highway 20, make a right turn onto Tatlayoko Lake Road less than a kilometer past Tatla Lake, in order to get to Crazy Creek trail.
7. Tatlayoko Lake Road has fewer potholes than Eagle Lake Road, and driving at 70-80 km/h is quite feasible.
8-9. After driving on Tatlayoko Lake Road for 6.7 km, turn right onto Snoring Horse Ranch access road. Coordinates: N 51’44’611 W 124’26’758. Elevation: 906 meters. You may need to leave your low-clearance vehicle on Tatlayoko Lake Road, and walk the final 2 km to the trailhead, as Snoring Horse Ranch access road is substantially rougher.
10. Drive on Snoring Horse Ranch access road for 2 km. Stay left at the split at 0.7 km (not pictured).
11. Arrive at the parking area on the left side. Coordinates: N 51’44’446 W 124’27’919. Elevation: 1,028 meters. Driving further would lead to Snoring Horse Ranch gate within a minute or two. Note, that there are no signs pointing towards the trail or indicating the trailhead. We found it thanks to Backroad Mapbook software on our GPS.
12. There are actually two trails starting here. Crazy Creek trail is on the very right, if facing from the road, as seen in the photo below. The trail on the left (not seen) is more narrow, and it is unclear where it leads.
13. The first part of Crazy Creek trail is fairly easy, when you are hiking in a forest.
14. There are rocks and roots, and an occasional muddy stretch, but nothing too complicated - just a steady elevation gain.
15. After eight kilometers of hiking, the forest ends, and you enter the sub-alpine. Coordinates: N 51’43’049 W 124’32’197. Elevation: 1,900 meters (872 meters elevation gain from the start of the trail). It took us just over 2.5 hours to get here, at an average moving speed of 3.4 km/h. Here is where the easy stuff ends. First of all, there are no cairns or flagging tape of any kind. The path disappears shortly after the end of the forest. The vast marsh is about to begin. So, if you have no hiking boots and poles, and no GPS or good route finding skills, this is the right place to check out the view seen in the photo below, and head back.
Here is Our Video of the Views After Reaching the Sub-Alpine:
More ihikebc.com videos are on our YouTube Channel.
16. We did not know where to go from here, but saw a climbable mountain straight ahead, and decided to give it a shot. Things got complicated in a hurry - the ground was marshy, so we had to hop from one dry elevated spot to another. There were numerous knee-high bushes, and our rain pants saved the day. And the mosquitoes jumped on us with reckless abandon, dying by dozens yet never relenting in their ceaseless attacks. This was about just as bad as when we hiked Mount Murray near Barkerville. Is it possible to avoid the marsh? Hard to tell. Perhaps, going a bit to the left would have helped, but it's just a guess, as some areas were a total mini-swamp. And the trees are not an indicator of dry ground - marshy areas were all around the trees as well.
17. The marsh lasted for two kilometers, and it took us one hour to get through. Here we are at the edge of the mountain seen in the photo above, and are looking back at what we have just crossed. Coordinates for this spot: N 51’42’411 W 124’33’076. Elevation: 1,995 meters.
18. So, we started to climb the mountain. It was quite steep, made of loose rock and dirt, and the elevation was over 2,000 meters and increasing, so the oxygen was in short supply too, making for a slow go.
19. Halfway through the climb, we realized that there was quite a view hiding to the left, so that's where we went.
Here is Our Video of the Views From Around This Area:
More ihikebc.com videos are on our YouTube Channel.
20. A great view indeed. Approximate coordinates for all this beauty: N 51’41’656 W 124’33’617. Elevation: 2,194 meters.
21. Looking to the right.
22. A close-up of the most prominent peak.
23. Looking more to the right (no zoom).
24. And a bit more.
25. Yet more to the right we see a ridge, which would have been nice to climb, if we had time.
26. Eventually, we returned to our original mountain, in order to cross the marsh the same way we did earlier today, in case the surrounding area would be even more complicated. A neat view on the way back.
27. Finally, a look at the mountain we have to descend and the marsh beyond it. This is our highest and final point of the hike. Coordinates: N 51’42’114 W 124’33’896. Elevation: 2,450 meters.
It took us a total six hours to get to the alpine and check all the views, and three hours to get back at an average moving speed of 3.8 km/h (it's 10.7 km of hiking from the point seen in the photo above to the parking area). It is entirely possible to hike here for much longer. Provided you are properly equipped and experienced to tackle this sort of terrain, Crazy Creek hike would not disappoint. Highly recommended.
ihikebc.com -> 159 Crazy Creek Trail Hike (near Tatla Lake BC)