Cathedral Provincial Park

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Introduction

Cathedral Park has some excellent hiking and climbing on the "dry side" of the Cascade Mountains. The area is unique to the alpine areas closer to Vancouver which usually involve the extra complications involved with glacier travel.

Cathedral Provincial Park is located between the wet forests of the Cascade Mountains and the desert-like Okanagan Valley. The core area of the park contains the five Cathedral Lakes: Quiniscoe Lake, Lake of the Woods, Pyramid Lake, Glacier Lake and Ladyslipper Lake. Surrounding the Lakes are a variety of hikes, scrambles and climbs which can be easily spread over multiple days. The Cathedral Lakes Lodge is also located in the core of the park.

Sites

All campsites have a fee of $10.00 per person per night. The lodge has its own pricing available on the website.

Lodge

The Cathedral Lakes Lodge, located at Quiniscoe Lake, was built in 1972 and provides a full range of beds, meals, washrooms, kitchens etc.

Quiniscoe Lake

Quiniscoe Lake is the largest campsite and located closest to the Lodge, Ranger Station, etc. This also means the most people and least privacy. Quiniscoe Lake campground contains 30 campsites, 12 picnic tables, 13 fire rings, 4 wire mesh food caches and four pit toilets. This is the only campsite which permits campfires.

Lake of the Woods

Lake of the Woods is a short distance from Quiniscoe Lake and the Lodge and contains 28 campsites, 2 pit toilets, 2 wire mesh food caches and no accommodations.

Pyramid Lake

Pyramid Lake is the smallest and quietest campground with only 12 campsites, 2 pit toilets and 2 wire mesh food caches.

Wall Creek Meadows

There is excellent camping in Wall Creek meadows which is a 4 hour approach with a full pack along the Wall Creek trail. The Wall Creek trail starts from the Ashnola River road at kilometer 38.

Hikes to the Core Area

Lakeview Trail

The Lakeview trail the shortest (allowed) trail into the park at 16km and 1300m elevation. The trail begins by crossing a footbridge over the Ashnola River and soon intersects with the jeep road. At this point you can continue on the jeep road or continue on the trail. The trail climbs through the forest and rejoins with the road before crossing Lakeview Creek. The trail follows the road for a few kilometres forking for the last time. The trail passes a campsite when crossing Lindsey Creek and also passes the Diamond Trail which forks right (west) to Scott Mountain.

Jeep Road

The Jeep road is meant for the Cathedral Lakes Lodge truck and hikers are not officially allowed to use the path. However, this trail is slightly shorter (14-15km) and the vehicles on the road normally do not mind hikers on the trail, assuming you move to the side to let the truck pass, etc. Or pay $50 per person per trip to take the jeep.

Centennial Trail

The Centennial Trail goes through (in one end, out the other) the core area of the park traveling east/west.

Climbing and Hiking within the Core Area

For all of these hikes it is assumed you are already in the core area. View the BC Parks Map (PDF, 128k) for details on trail names, landmarks etc.

Scout Mountain / Diamond Trail

Scout Mountain is the smallest of the peaks surrounding the core area at 2369m. The Scout Lake Trail heads north from Quiniscoe Lake before doing a loop around Scout Mountain. The hike is 8km (the entire loop) with an elevation gain of 250m.

Rim Trail

The Rim Trail covers the majority of the peaks to west of the lakes, including Red Mountain, Quiniscoe Mountain, access to/from Pyramid Mountain, the Devils Woodpile, Stone City, Smokey the Bear and the Giant Cleft. These can all be done in one long day although they are often split into multiple days. There are also trails (maybe not properly marked) leading from Quiniscoe lake to the Rim trail (between Red & Quiniscoe Mountain), and leading from Glacier lake to the Rim Trail (between Quiniscoe Mountain & Devils woodpile). These two trails can be used to do a loop involving only half the Rim trail, view the BC parks map for more info.

Red Mountain

Red Mountain can be reached via the Rim Trail and is at an elevation of 2469m.

Quiniscoe Mountain

Quiniscoe Mountain is south of Red Mountain and slightly higher at 2551m.

Devils Woodpile

The Devils Woodpile is a unique rock formation between Quiniscoe Mountain and Stone City.

Stone City, Smokey the Bear & the Giant Cleft

Stone City, Smokey the Bear and the Giant Cleft are relatively close to each other. Ladyslipper trail head forks down to the lakes while a trail continues from Stone City to Smokey the Bear and the Giant Cleft. The "stone city" essential covers this entire area, providing hours of fun for those who like to climb random rocks/piles of rocks.

The Giant Cleft
Smokey the Bear
Stone City area


Pyramid Mountain

Pyramid Mountain is a scramble and an unmarked and often hard to follow trail. The trail can be reached via the Rim Trail (between Quiniscoe Mountain and the Devils Woodpile) and the ascent is from Ladyslipper trail. Hike south from Pyramid Lake towards Ladyslipper Lake. When trees clear Pyramid Mountain will be clearly visible to the west.

The trail quickly turns to scree and involves scrambles and some exposure. Once reaching the summit at 2530m you can follow the ridge west to the Rim trail.

The ascent time is roughly 1.5-2 hours with 440m elevation gain.

Grimface Mountain

The main area of interest for climbers is the group of peaks around Grimface Mountain extending east to west from Matriarch to Grimface along Cathedral Ridge. Grimface, Matriarch, and Macabre all have several long quality rock climbs and can be enchained from east to west as part of the Matriarch to Grimface traverse. The traverse is an excellent mountaineering objective with climbing to 5.7 and a short bolt ladder (A0). The summit of Grimface can also be gained from the west without technical rock climbing gear.

Lakeview Mountain

Lakeview Mountain view

Lakeview Mountain is the highest peak within the core area at 2628m. The tree line is well below the peak providing an excellent view during the hike up. The peak provides an excellent view of the core area. All the peaks west of the lakes are exposed providing a spectacular view. The closer mountains within view include Red, Quiniscoe, Pyramid and Grimface Mountains to the West and South West. The Twin Buttes and Haystack Mountain are to the east, and the Cathedral Lakes directly below to the west.

The hike up Lakeview Mountain takes approximately 3 hours with 665m elevation gain.

The Boxcar

The Boxcar is a unique hill/giant rock just south of Lakeview Mountain. The Boxcar can be reached via Lakeview Mountain or from the Goat Lake Trail.

The boxcar is approximately 30 minutes from Lakeview Mountain with an elevation gain of 640m (from Quiniscoe Lake).

Things to do in a day

Normally 2 days must be preserved for the hikes up and down (or a Jeep at the right times), and maybe an extra late night for the drive from Vancouver. These are all from the core area.

  • Lakeview Mountain and the Box Car
  • Rim Trail North Loop - Red Mountain and Quiniscoe Mountain via the Rim and Glacier Trails
  • Rim Trail South Loop - Devils Woodpile, Stone City, Smokey the Bear and the Giant Cleft via the Glacier and Ladyslipper trails
  • The entire Rim/Ladyslipper trail- Red Mountain, Quiniscoe Mountain, Devils Woodpile, Stone City, Smokey the Bear and the Giant Cleft. This will be a long day.
  • Pyramid Mountain scramble - go up the side, down along either the Glacier or Ladyslipper trail

Directions

From Vancouver head east on Highway 1 to Hope, take the Hope-Princeton Highway (Highway 3) east through Manning Park, continue on past Princeton. 3 km before Keremeos take the Ashnola River Road and follow the signs. This road is approximately 22 km and takes you to the trailhead.

It takes approximately 5 hours to get from Vancouver to Cathedral Provincial Park.

Topographic Map

Ashnola River 92H/1

Links