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Recommended This Week

Vancouver Squamish Garibaldi Whistler Hiking Rental

Black Tusk Approach Looking Back

From Helm Creek to Black Tusk is about 5.5k and takes about two hours and there are a couple options.  One of course is to keep to the marked trail as it runs past Black Tusk far to your right and get on to the Black Tusk trail up the conventional, Rubble Creek trailhead way.  The better option from Helm Creek is to veer off the trail about 400 metres before reaching Helm Lake, cross the shallow, though wide Helm Creek and follow the obvious route to Black Tusk.  This route is faster and absolutely amazing.

The terrain is breathtaking from the moment you leave the established trail until you reach the summit of Black Tusk.  Though it looks daunting from the start, near Helm Lake, it is only moderately challenging.  No excessive climbs, no ropes needed.  The distance from the Helm Creek crossing to the summit is about 2.6k as you follow a relatively straight line.  Climbing quickly and reaching the shockingly black rock that has crumbled from the Tusk.  To your right you will eventually see the broad sloping side of Black Tusk give way to a massive valley of snow.  To your left the valley descends away from you into a breathtaking valley of dead trees, green grassy meadows and the distant river flowing through the mountains.

The Ridge to the Base of Black Tusk

Looking Back on the Ridge Connecting to the Base of Black Tusk

This route joins with the normal Black Tusk trail route near the base of Black Tusk.  From this point you walk the black bridge-like ridge of rock to touch Black Tusk itself.  Then you walk the trail that runs at the top of the scree around the left side to reach the perilous looking chute up to the summit.  This resting area has The Final Chute to the Summit of Black Tuskincredible views of the valley below and the amazingly blue Garibaldi Lake contrasting with the black rock all around and the pure white snow more distant.

This final chute turns back quite a few people at this point as it looks extremely dangerous.  Chunks of rock tumble down it from people above.  Handholds routinely crumble in your hands.  And looking down reveals the distinctly real possibility of tumbling down a brutal scree slope for several hundred metres.  There have been some injuries here requiring emergency airlifts out, however they are remarkably few.

If you have the courage to make this final ascent, you quickly realize that it is much easier than you thought.  There are plenty of good hand and footholds along the way and the gentle slope ensures a comforting feeling of safety.  This chute is just a dozen metres until it slopes to a crawling scramble and finally walking on top of the world with absolutely phenomenal views all around.

Black Tusk Summit View - Squamish Hiking July

 

Meager Hot Springs - Squamish Hiking

Meager Creek Hot Springs - Squamish Trails in July


With the catastrophic mud and debris slide let loose from Devastator Peak in 2010, the nice new (in 2009) million dollar bridge to the Meager Creek Hot Springs was destroyed.  Though destroyed doesn't even begin to describe it.  Looking on the now, dead end road, where the bridge once stood, the place still looks a mess.  "Meager Creek FSR is closed indefinitely; no access to the hot springs."  This is from the BCParks Upper Lillooet Provincial Park site, and evidently quite accurate.Meager Area Geothermal Activity

Dead and still dying grey ghosts of trees still stand as they did in piles of forest wreckage.  Even the road in looks bizarre.  The road was simply bulldozed back to life.  On either side, hemmed in by piles of dirt and dead trees.  The mudslide that did this seems beyond belief.  This river valley in the midst of a beautiful, green forest, is a sea of brown.  Mud, dirt, and dead trees.

At its peak of popularity in 1994, Meager Creek Hot Springs had 30,000 visitors a year.  With the unrestrained numbers, vandalism and violence broke out at the springs often so the BC Forest Service stepped in.  They hired an on-site supervisor, limited vehicle access and charged a usage fee.  Then the big slide of 2010 happened and now of course it only gets a few, very motivated visitors.

In 2014 a new route was built to Meager Creek Hot Springs by the UBC Varsity Outdoor Club.  The new VOC Harrison Hut Trail regains access to the much prized Harrison Hut, but also opens up an excellent access trail to Meager. The trail is long and not too easy, however, and getting to the trailhead is quite an adventure.  The logging road deteriorates quickly on the last couple kilometres and you find yourself dodging basketball sized boulders strewn across the road.

The old access route to Meager ran along the far(north side) of the Lillooet Forest Service Rd.  This new trailhead is located on the near(left or south) side of the Upper Lillooet River and you simply continue along the Pemberton Meadows Road (almost) until you can't go any further.  From the middle of Pemberton to the trailhead is 64 kilometres.  The easy to miss trailhead is marked with a small trailhead sign for "VOC Harrison Hut Trail"  No mention of Meager Creek Hot Springs on it.

For more info, directions and maps to Meager Creek Hot Springs click here. For info a directions to the more accessible, Keyhole Hot Springs further past Meager, click here.

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