Brew Lake Trail
|Brew Lake Trail|
|Access||Brandywine Falls Parking Lot or Brew Creek FSR|
|Caretaker||Varsity Outdoor Club|
The Brew Lake Trail is only practical when snow free, and it requires trespassing on the BC Rail right of way. From the Brandywine falls parking lot, walk the railroad tracks south. After a prominent bend right, and then back left, you will find the trailhead on the right side marked by flagging tape inserted in a small rock cairn. This cairn is about 30 minutes walking on the railroad from the Brandywine parking lot. The trail climbs steeply from here to Brew Lake and takes about 3 hours with day pack. Despite streams crossing the trail on the map, there is no access to water along this trail until you reach Brew Lake. Ensure adequate drinking water supply. At the lake the trail meets with the Roe-Brew Trail which continues on up to Brew Hut. If you want to continue to the hut, don't make the mistake of trying to beeline it for the hut because of cliffs in between.
Western Forest Products has logged a short section of the Brew Lake Trail, about 200m long. There are several large yellow squares and flagging tape marking a route that climbs steeply up the left side of the cutblock. The trail here is still intermittent, but is improving as vegetation gets trampled down. The trail crosses a logging road and continues straight up, eventually joining back up with the old trail just beyond the clearcut. Note that the junction with the old trail just beyond the top of the clearcut is easy to miss when coming downhill - make sure to note it's appearance on the way up.
This route requires tresspassing illegally on the CN Rail right of way. Park at Brandywine falls parking lot and walk the railroad tracks south. After a prominent bend right, and then back left, you will find the trailhead on the right side marked by flagging tape and a FMCBC Adopt-a-Trail sign. If you don't have a car, Greyhound offers bus service (pick up and drop off) to Pinecrest Village, 2km south of the trailhead. Call to make arrangements for pickup in advance as this is not a regular stop. Find the railway tracks behind the residential area and walk north to the trailhead.
Warning: Parties parking overnight at the Brandywine Falls parking lot have been ticketed for doing so. This can happen even if you buy enough day pass tickets for the number of days you will be parked and leave a note on the windshield
If you have a 4WDHC, Brew Creek FSR is 500m past the Brandywine Parking Lot and can sometimes be travelled. The road swtichbacks to its end at 5.1km where it meets with the Brew Lake Trail. The bottom paved portion of the road is plowed in the winter, however the trail itself is difficult to follow when covered in snow and it is recommended to instead consider taking the Roe-Brew Trail in the winter.
|Parking Location||42.0 km up Hwy1 @ elev. 480m||5.1km up Brew Creek FSR @ elev. 714m|
|Nearest Town||Squamish (42.0km)||Squamish (42.0km)|
|Elevation gain||940m (3,008 ft)||702m (2,246 ft)|
|Approximate time||3.0 hours in / 2.0 hours out||2.0 hours in / 1.5 hours out|
All of the land south of the existing Brew Lake Trail trailhead is privately owned by a number of different land owners, which is unfortunate since this would seem to be the best to relocate the trailhead to. The zoning for this land is being amended by the Squamish Lillooet Regional District to allow for development proposals (up to 100 housing units), and developers are "encouraged" to provide public access to recreation trails. A development proposal in this area could potentially offer a long term trailhead solution, but no proposals have been put forward yet.
Brew Creek Community Watershed
Brew Creek is the water supply for Pinecrest and Black Tusk Estates. For this reason, Brew Creek FSR is gated to limit public access. Brandywine RV park is currently under construction off branch 50 of Brew Creek FSR. The RV park will not be in the watershed, but the gate will be moved up the road a little ways to accommodate it. A new road is being built to the RV Park to avoid going through the watershed, so the gate will only be moved back a few hundred meters from its present location and there will be no public vehicle access to branch 31 or the rest of Brew Creek FSR.
The VOC had permission to use the Brew Creek FSR to access the Brew Hut during Hut construction, but now that the hut is complete the permission has lapsed. Once the new gate is installed we will no longer be able to access this road, as the key will no doubt be hidden in a new place.
- 2008 February 24th - ScottN
- After discussions with Gordon McKeever we have learnt that the Sea to Sky trail segment from Brew Creek Lodge Road to Brandywine Falls Park is scheduled for surveying and flagging summer 2008, construction summer 2009. The route will likely pass close by the lake at the SW corner of Brandywine Falls Park. South of the lake, route will likely be along the east side of the ridge that divides the railway from highway 99. The route north of the lake will depend on finding a safe crossing of highway 99. The route will either run along the ridgetop, or on the west side of the railway tracks. For either option, a relocated trail to Brew Lake could intersect the sea to sky trail near the lake. BCParks is supportive of the Sea to Sky Trail concept but Gordon has not discussed specific trail routing with them south of the Hwy/rail/park intersection. There are some concerns from the community about trail building and stream crossings in the Brew Creek Watershed, since it supplies drinking water to Pinecrest Estates and Black Tusk Village.
- 2005 April 22nd - ScottN
- I bushwacked from the powerlines near brew creek lodge up to the railroad tracks. This was swampy and bushy at first (under the powerlines), but quite nice once in the forest behind Brew Creek Lodge. There are a couple ridge to cross over on the way to the trailhead however. I also explored from Brew Main Branch 100G up to the current trail, which was ok, with a steep talus section. On the way down, I bushwacked from the trailhead down to the back end of Brew Creek Lodge, which was generally pretty good travelling.
- 2005 March 13th - ScottN
- We now have a key for Brew Creek FSR. Sandra and I walked branch 31, which is deactivated, but only has 3 gentle water bars and a few small alders, and explore around the end of the road. This could be a good potential trailhead. I would take 5 or 6 people about 1 day of work (triming alders and armouring water bars against erosion) to reopen the road for vehicles. In the future, the gate on brew creek FSR will be moved up past branch 50 to allow for an RV Park and Campground off branch 50, so branch 31 should be publically accessible by car.
- 2005 March 8th - ScottN (VOC) Evan Lovelss (FMCBC) and Ethan ? (MOT consultant)
- There is a pullout about 1km south of brandywine falls which Ethan had proposed as a possible new trailhead location for the Brew Lake Trail. We bushwack from here to the BC rail line, and then crossed the rail line (and a stream) and continued west towards the current trailhead by the railroad tracks. Progress was made difficult by many steep sided ridges running N-S through this area, and by trying to find a route that avoided going through recently logged clearcuts. It seems that the best route would be to use branch 31 of brew creek FSR (this branch will be accessible once the gate is moved to accomodate a proposed trailer park and campground further up the road) and then go up beside a stream (heading NW), then climb out of the stream, cross branch 100 of Brew Creek FSR (beyond the new gate), cross another stream and then start up the mountainside to intersect the existing trail a few hundred meters above the present trailhead. This route has only been partially explored.
- Much of the land south of the trailhead is privately owned. There is the Brew Creek Lodge and some undeveloped land owned by a private landowner, which complicates access from this direction. It would seem that the terrain on this side is much flatter, and the trail extension would run mostly N-S instead of E-W which should make for easier travel given the topography.
The datum for all the waypoints below is NAD 27, to correspond with the NTS map of the area, 92 J/10.
Brew Lake Trail trailhead relocation
- Spring/Summer 2008 - find a suitable route which is acceptable to the VOC, CN Rail, local property owners, the Ministry of Transportation and the FMCBC.
Western Forest Products is the company that is logging around the existing Brew Lake Trail from the railroad tracks to brew lake. They were kind enough to forward a map showing their logging plans for the area, but asked that the plans not be released publicly, so I will not post them here. Email me (Scott Nelson) if you want to look at them. They have 1 clearcut that intersects the trail, and logging is now complete. Western Forest Products has put up markers along the edge of the clearcut for this section of the trail and built a ramp for the trail to cross the road cut.
Road access to the clearcut is from Brew Creek FSR, which leaves highway 99 just south of the bridge over brandywine creek. Since the brew creek watershed is used to collect drinking water for Black Tusk Village and Pinecrest Estates, the entire road system has been gated to prevent public access. This is consistent with other watersheds such as Magnesia Creek (lions bay), 21 mile creek (whistler) and Capilano (north vancouver). We may be able to arrange a key to the gate for the duratoin of brew hut construction, but the road system will not be publicly accessible in general, and thus cannot serve as a new trailhead access. The road system is not very suitiable for access to the trailhead on foot, because it takes a very round-a-bout route to reach the point where it intersects the Brew Lake Trail. It would be faster to hike the lower part of the trail to this point than to take the road.