In Babine Mountains Provincial Park, near the town of Smithers,
which is approximately 370 kilometers
West of Prince George via Highway 16.
fairly easy trail, lake views, shade in the forest, no bugs.
A very long trail with no views until the lake, numerous
long muddy stretches, several small creek crossings are required. Hiking
poles are recommended, and hiking boots or rubber boots are essential.
The trail is somewhat brushed-in most of the way – long pants are highly
At over 13.5 km (one way) from the parking lot
Fletcher-Gardiner Trail is by far the longest in Babine Mountains
Provincial Park, and one of the easiest too, as there are no steep
stretches along the trail and the elevation change is very gradual. The
major obstacle are numerous long mud stretches, which were quite
substantial even today, at the end of a fairly dry season. In the Spring
and early Summer, it's likely to be quite a swamp out there. Also, two
small creeks need to be crossed, and we managed to stone-hop across
them, but wading would be the only option, should the water level be
A major disappointment is the lack of good views for such
a long trail. There is literally nothing to look at until
the end of the hike at Lower Reiseter Lake, which is not bad, but
definitely far from spectacular, hardly justifying such a long hike.
There is a small campground there with a fire pit, a bear cache, a
picnic table, a boat with paddles, and even a plastic toilet without
cabin but with numerous flies trapped under the lid. So, if you are
interested in camping by a fairly large lake, Fletcher-Gardiner Trail
might be a good option. Also, it appears to be possible to hike at least
a bit around the lake, which is connected to another lake by a creek
(river?), so there
could be better views further on. There is also a mountain across the
lake, and it appears possible to hike it, if you can get through all the
*All trail distances are based on a GPS odometer and
1. Here is a Google Maps location of Babine Mountains
Babine Mountains Provincial Park Fletcher-Gardiner
3. Here is a map of Babine Mountains
Provincial Park. We have indicated as follows: Red square - parking lot.
Red dot - Fletcher-Gardiner trailhead. Red arrow - Fletcher-Gardiner
Trail. Blue square - end of the trail by Lower Reiseter Lake.
Babine Mountains Provincial Park Map
4. This is the start of the trailhead
access road by the parking lot.
N 54°52.455’ W 126°58.308’. Elevation: 1,023 meters.
Fletcher-Gardiner Trailhead Access Road
5. At 1.4 km of the access road,
McCabe trailhead is to the right, and the way to Fletcher-Gardiner Trail
is to the left.
McCabe Trailhead - Babine Mountains Provincial Park -
6. At 1.47 km, there is a bridge.
Hike in Smithers Area - Babine Mountains Provincial
Fletcher-Gardiner Trailhead - Babine Mountains
8. Fletcher-Gardiner trailhead.
N 54°53.157’ W 126°58.661’.
sign says 10 km to Lower Reiseter Lake, but it's more like 12 km.
9. Fletcher-Gardiner Trail begins.
At 25 meters here.
Hike in Smithers Area - Fletcher-Gardiner Trail
10-11. At 50 meters, a trail info
Fletcher-Gardiner Trail Information
12. Fletcher-Gardiner Trail is
quite easy for the first 6.5 km, which is a dirt track, albeit with
several long mud stretches and two small creek crossings. At 1.68 km
Smithers Trail - Fletcher-Gardiner Trail
13. Now at the 1.92 km mark.
Babine Mountains Provincial Park Hiding -
14. And here comes the mud - at
3.78 km. Even at the end of a fairly dry season this is quite
substantial. Must be quite a swamp earlier in the season or after a
Fletcher-Gardiner Trail Muddy Stretch
15. The first creek crossing comes
at the 4.87 km mark.
Fletcher-Gardiner Creek Crossing
16. At 5.62 km it's time to cross
the second creek. We were able to stone-hop across both creeks this
time, but wading might be required should the water level be any higher.
Second Creek Crossing Fletcher-Gardiner Hike
17. Another muddy stretch at 6.18
km of Fletcher-Gardiner Trail.
Muddy Stretch of Fletcher-Gardiner Trail near
Smithers British Columbia Canada
18. At 6.50 km, the dirt track ends
at this turnaround point.
N 54°55.337’ W 127°00.972’. Elevation: 981 meters.
British Columbia Hiking - Fletcher-Gardiner Trail
19. Now it's time for a real hiking
trail - another 5.5 km to Lower Reiseter Lake, and the trail gets a bit
steeper, though nothing too extreme. At 1.65 km here.
Hike in Smithers Area - Fletcher-Gardiner Trail
20. There is very little of
interest to see all trail long until the lake, with this small bridge
being one of the very few exceptions.
Hike in Canada - Fletcher-Gardiner Trail
21. A sign at 5.10 km from the end
of the dirt track.
Fletcher-Gardiner Trail in Babine Mountains
Provincial Park British Columbia
22. Just a bit further, and...
Babine Mountains Provincial Park Hiking -
23. ...here comes Lower Reiseter Lake.
It's a decent-looking lake, about 1.5 km-long, but, unless you are here to camp or want to
explore further, it's hardly worth the 27 km round-trip hike from the
parking lot, especially considering spectacular alternatives in Babine
Mountains Provincial Park.
Lower Reiseter Lake
24. Another look at the lake,
located about 5.50 km from the end of the dirt track.
Lower Reiseter Lake - Babine Mountains Provincial
25. Here is the campground. Coordinates:
N 54°57.497’ W 126°58.965’. Elevation: 1,170 meters.
Lower Reiseter Lake Camping Area
Camping at Babine Mountains Provincial Park Lower
26. This boat has paddles and is,
by the looks of it, available to anyone who wants to use it.
Boat for Lower Reiseter Lake Boating
27-28. Lower Reiseter Lake view
from the campground. Plain and zoomed. It appears to be possible to hike
around the lake and get to the Grassy Mountain on the other side, though
it might not be easy due to all the vegetation.
Lower Reiseter Lake British Columbia
Grassy Mountain British Columbia
29-30. A bear cache at the campground
contains several axes. There is also an open air toilet nearby, but,
once you open the lid, dozens of flies which are camping inside would be
eager to meet you, so beware.
Bear Cache - Lower Reiseter Lake near Smithers BC