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Trip 265 - September 5, 2022 (Monday)

Red Rock Canyon Trail Hike

North of Fort Nelson BC / Near Muncho Lake BC

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Red Rock Canyon Trailhead Location: Off BC Highway 97 (Alaska Hwy), approximately 244 km North of Fort Nelson and 1 km South of Muncho Lake.

Liked: Canyon and waterfall views, several fine creek views, few bugs.

Of Note: Extreme fall danger at the top of the waterfall stay away from the edge, wading for a long distance would be required in high water conditions, several creek crossings are required, steep unbarricaded drop-off for several hundred meters before the waterfall top view, some trail parts are overgrown long pants and a long-sleeved shirt are recommended, uneven ground, numerous loose rocks, some steep sections, hiking poles and boots are essential.

Northern BC Backroad Mapbook (3rd edition) Approximate Trailhead Coordinates: Page 79 (Muncho Lake) E4.

 

Red Rock Canyon Trail (not to be confused with Red Rock Trail in Lillooet) is located in Northeastern British Columbia by BC Highway 97 (Alaska Hwy) just South of Muncho Lake, which, in turn, is about 245 km North of Fort Nelson. You basically hike up a creek to a small canyon with a rather impressive 15 meter-high waterfall. As we hiked at the end of the season, the water level was low, and we were able to stone-hop in a few locations while crossing the creek and, also, when approaching the bottom of the waterfall at the end of the 200 meter-long canyon. Earlier in the season, or after a heavy rainfall, chances are pretty good that much wading would have to be done while hiking this 2.6 km-long (one way) trail. There are actually three viewpoints: 1) the waterfall view from the path about 100 meter away; 2) the top waterfall view; and 3) the bottom waterfall view via the canyon. Extreme caution must be used when checking out the top waterfall view, as you need to get pretty close to the edge for a better look, and the ground is slanted towards the canyon with nothing to hold on to. It's a very high fall hazard - watch out. There is also a fairly dangerous stretch as you approach the top view, due to a steep unbarricaded drop-off by the path.

Also, there are some overgrown sections, so having a long-sleeved shirt and long pants would save from minor skin damage. The hike steadily gains elevation, but nothing too major as far as steep stretches. It does get very steep as you descent for a few meters towards the top view, but just go past that descent for a minute or so, and you will get to a much easier descent path close to the end of the trail (which is 100 meters past the waterfall top view).

*All trail distances are based on a GPS odometer and are approximate.

1. Here is a Google Map location of Muncho Lake. Red Rock Canyon Trail is located just to the South of Muncho Lake.

2. We are Northbound on BC Highway 97 (Alaska Hwy), approaching a sign indicating Muncho Lake services are 3 to 10 km ahead.

3. Just a bit further there is a turnoff to Red Rock Canyon trailhead, which is located right by the highway. This turnoff is exactly 8 km from Peterson Canyon North trailhead, with Peterson Canyon being the subject of our previous trip report.

4. We will return to Red Rock Canyon Trail shortly, but now we are going to check out a bit of Muncho Lake. Here is the community sign, 600 meters past the Red Rock Canyon trailhead turnoff.

5. A gas station at the South end of Muncho Lake. The pumps were broken, so we had to go to the North end, where there is the only modern pump (i.e. accepting credit cards right at the pump) North of Fort Nelson that we could find, located at the Northern Rockies Lodge. Hopefully, once the pumps are fixed here, the price of gas would be a bit less at this station than at the lodge, where it was 2.50 per litre, about 50 cents more per litre than in Vancouver, and 20 cents per litre more than in Toad River 50 km to the South.

6. A sign at the gas station advertises a local towing service. As there is no cell signal for a long, long distance around here, a sat phone is your friend (or use InReach and ask someone you know or the emergency centre to call this number for you).

7. Muncho Lake is a looker for sure.

8. And here is the Northern Rockies Lodge on the northern end of Muncho Lake, with the most expensive gasoline in North America that we know of. The pump is on the right side (not seen in the photo below). They do offer 20 cents per litre off to anyone staying at the lodge. There is also a very small store inside. They did have ice.

9. Back at the Red Rock Canyon trailhead, with BC Highway 97 just behind us. Coordinates: N 5855.351 W 12546.248. Elevation: 880 meters. Plenty of parking.

10-11. The info board.

12. The hike begins. 25 meters from the trailhead.

13. At 60 meters, we are already hiking by the creek. Follow it upstream to reach the waterfall about 2.6 km later.

14. At 310 meters, the path ended and we started hiking on the creek bed.

15. At 430 meters now.

16. At 635 meters from the trailhead, we are still hiking up the creek bed. Earlier in the season, there could be a lot of water here.

17. Red Rock Canyon Trail path briefly reappeared. At 775 meters now.

18. There is an occasional cairn (seen in the bottom right) and a flagging tape here and there, but, as long as you hike up the creek, you will get to the canyon and the waterfall. At 870 meters from the trailhead.

19. At 1.16 km, we are still hiking up the creek bed.

20-21. At 1.71 km, a creek crossing is in order. Hiking poles and boots are essential for this hike.

22. At 1.80 km, we are approaching the most interesting part of the hike.

23. At 2.02 km, the path reappeared and we started to climb up.

24. At 2.06 km of the Red Rock Canyon Trail.

25. At 2.30 km, the path came down back to the creek.

26. At 2.31 km, we are back in the creek bed.

27. At 2.34 km, we are approaching a key split.

28. Here is this key split at 2.36 km of Red Rock Canyon Trail, at this small waterfall. Coordinates: N 5854.760 W 12544.935. Elevation: 935 meters.

29. At this split, going straight leads to the bottom of the waterfall (via the canyon) within 200 meters, while going to the right leads to the viewpoint in 100 meters, and the top of the waterfall in 200 meters.

30. We went to the right at first.

Our Red Rock Canyon Trail Hike Continues on Page 2.


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ihikebc.com Trip 265 - Red Rock Canyon Trail (By Muncho Lake North of Fort Nelson BC) Page 1 of 2