Phelix Creek FSR
|Phelix Creek FSR|
A Ford Excursion with snow chains stuck on the landslide, blocking the road. If you don't have a four wheel drive OR if you go in winter, don't consider driving past this point. Park 200m lower down at the flat section after the turn off from Blackwater FSR.
|Class||4WDHC Gravel Road|
|Access||via Blackwater FSR (Status)|
|Destination||Phelix Creek Trail|
|Caretaker||Sea to Sky Forest District (DSQ)|
The Phelix Creek FSR is the main logging road that is used for access to Brian Waddington Hut. It begins near the end of Blackwater FSR until it ends at the trailhead for the Phelix Creek Trail. Most of the road is generally 4WDHC, although a landslide typically occurs every spring at around 0.6km, and a ford at 5.1km may stop many in high water conditions. In the winter Blackwater FSR is periodically plowed in the winter and so after a large snow dump may be challenging to navigate. Phelix Creek FSR unlike Blackwater FSR is NOT plowed. Typically those intending on accessing Brian Waddington Hut on skis will not be able to drive on this road and will need to skin-up at the start of the road.
To reach the start of the Phelix Creek Trail, go up the road, crossing Phelix Creek once, then keep left at a fork and cross the creek again. Just above the second bridge is another fork - go right this time. The road ends after several huge cross ditches where it reaches two clear cuts.
CAUTION: THE SECOND BRIDGE HAS ROTTEN AND HOLLOW LOG STRINGERS AND IS LOAD RATED AT 0 TONNES. CROSSING THIS BRIDGE WITH A VEHICLE IS HIGHLY INADVISABLE AND NOT RECOMMENDED.
Drive Highway 99 north to Mt. Currie, passing through Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton. Drive through Mt. Currie and continue north, following signs towards the town of D'Arcy. You need to take Blackwater Road on the left, just before reaching D'Arcy itself. This turnoff is signed for Birkenhead Lake Provincial Park. If you hit the town of D'Arcy, you've gone a bit too far. Blackwater FSR is gravel, but is well maintained and any car can handle it. It's plowed semi-regularly in the winter, but often has compact snow. The road isn't very steep, but 4wd or tire chains are recommended in winter because it's usually covered in snow and it's a long way out if you get stuck or snowed in. At about 13km from the highway, there is a gate on Blackwater FSR at the entrance to Birkenhead Lake Provincial Park. Just before the gate, turn right onto Phelix Creek FSR. There is a parking area about 200m further up Phelix Creek FSR. Driving time from Vancouver to the parking area at the bottom of Phelix Creek FSR is usually 3 to 4 hours each way, depending on traffic and weather. If you have a 4x4 vehicle, you may be able to drive up the road in the summertime when it's free of snow; otherwise park here.
There is a recurring landslide on the road at km 0.6, which is often but not always passable by high clearance 4x4. The rest of the road can be driven to the very end, although it is a bit overgrown in places. The roughest part is the final 1km or so, starting after the second bridge. Less capable 4x4s such as Subaru Foresters, CR-Vs, etc may be able to make it this far if they can get through the slide.
The road frequently crosses other landslides and avalanche paths and every so often requires some cleanup to open the road. If you notice the road has been blocked post a bulletin.
Bridge One: SQ-3109
The FSR currently has two bridges. The first, SQ-3109, is 14.8m long 4.8m wide steel bridge with timber components. The deck, railings and abutments were not treated when the bridge was constructed and are rotting. However, the sub-deck, ballast walls and ties are all in good condition (as they were treated with creosote). This bridge is currently load rated at 68 tonnes.
- 2015 Inspection: Media:SQ-3109 2015 Inspection.pdf
Bridge Two: SQ-3110
The second, SQ-3110, is 15.8m long by 4.3m wide log stringer bridge with timber components. None of the components of this bridge were treated and everything is rotting. Three of the four girders were tested in 2015 and it was found that all of them showed significant dry rot, so much so that the girders were 60% hollow. In 2014 this bridge was given a load rating of 2 tonnes. After the 2015 inspection the bridge was down rated to 0 tonnes.
- 2015 Inspection: Media:SQ-3110 2015 Inspection.pdf
- 2014 Inspection: Media:SQ-3110 2014 Inspection.pdf
Pedestrian Log Bridge (5.1km)
The Log Bridge at 5.1km is a single log with a rope cord as a handrail that crosses a small creek. It is possible to cross the creek to the road on the other side with a vehicle if you are brave. However, for only 700m further, most choose to park at this location rather than risk abandoning their vehicle in the creek.
The log bridge crossing near the start of Phelix Creek Trail in 2009 before the second bridge was down-rated to 0 tonnes.
There are two spurs off of the main road. These spurs are mostly used by the Pemberton Valley Snowmobile Club:
- East Branch - Branches off at 4.2km
- West Branch - Branches off at 4.7km
- 2018 January 5th - Elliot Skierszkan
- Tom and Cassandra did an amazing job clearing alder on the way up, and I also hacked away some more on my way down. Tom and Cassandra removed most of the alder close to the trail, so by the time I was sweeping out I was attacking what little remained. The result of this and many previous trail-clearing efforts mean that the ski in/out of Phelix is in the best condition I have ever seen it, so great work to all those involved!
- 2017 August 7th - George Hill
- A group of 2 VOCers headed up with the brush saw and loppers to clean up the approaches and decks of both bridges. Vegetation starting to get close to the deck was removed and pull-outs on each side were expanded.
- 2016 July 1st - George Hill
- A group of 10 VOCers headed up with the brush saw to clean up the road where needed. The slide section was easily passable on a Jeep.
- 2011 July 1st - Pemberton Valley Snowmobile Club
- Driving past the slide and all the way to the one-log bridge was possible using an assortment of Jeeps and Pathfinders.
- 2010 October 24th - Pemberton Valley Snowmobile Club
- The road is in excellent shape. Largely due to work by the Pemberton Valley Snowmobile club the landslide itself is probably possible with a low-clearance vehicle, and the encroaching alder has been cut back from the sides of the road as far as the Phelix East branch. Waterbars which get progressively worse with elevation will keep the road high clearance, however. The East branch was also largely cleared of encroaching alder. The West branch is seriously overgrown.
The datum for all the waypoints below is NAD 27, to correspond with the NTS map of the area, 92 J/10.
|0.0||524791, 5601770||700m||Blackwater FSR||Right||Turn right off Blackwater Road.|
|0.2||524726, 5601986||710m||Parking Area||Straight||Summer parking for 2WD Vehicles.|
|0.6||524923, 5602246||750m||First Landslide||Straight||Passable by 4WD HC in summer; maybe necessary to roll rocks off the road|
|0.8||525071, 5602334||750m||Second Landslide||Straight||-|
|1.8||525250, 5603350||950m||Switchback||Straight||Road switchbacks left then right, passing a huge boulder partially on the road|
|3.1||525069, 5604244||1070m||First Bridge||Straight||Road turns right over the bridge, then left up the West side of Phelix Creek|
|4.2||524905, 5605088||1140m||Spur||Left||Phelix Creek East branch continues straight; turn left towards second bridge|
|4.4||524821, 5605155||1150m||Second Bridge||Straight||Parking for 4WD HC; Main branch crosses back over to the East side of Phelix Creek.|
|4.7||524700, 5605282||1170m||Spur||Straight||Phelix Creek West branch forks to the left; continue straight on main branch.|
|5.1||524570, 5605678||1210m||Stream||Straight||Huge ditch as a tributary crosses the road. Maybe impassable for vehicles if the water level is high. A fallen tree to the right doubles as a pedestrian bridge.|
|5.9||524605, 5606348||1230m||End of Road||Straight||The end of the road marks the beginning of the Phelix Creek Trail. Continue straight across two clearcuts to reach the flagged part of the trail.|