Location: Near Hope, BC (map)
Description: The definitive guide 103 Hikes in Southwestern British Columbia lists the Eaton Lake trail as its 8th steepest hike, with an average grade of 22.8%. The reward for the conquering the gruelling ascent is a break along the edge of a crystal clear lake nestled in the mountains. Along the way you pass some amazing waterfalls and cross Eaton Creek over sketchy bridges.
The trail is really well marked with km markings every 500 meters plus a few motivational signs to keep you going. There are 3 creek crossings that keep the hike interesting. All 3 original bridges either destroyed or broken. The first bridge has been replaced by a large tree without any railings or ropes. The detour around the 2nd broken bridge involved crawling over a dam of small trees. The 3rd bridge was in the best shape, but most of the hand railing was missing. Nothing like fear of falling in a creek to liven up a hike.
The other highlights of the hike are the thundering waterfall above the first bridge and the view of Eaton Lake when you get to the top. We were lucky to have good autumn weather and the sun made an appearance while we ate lunch, but it was still very cold.
More trail descriptions here and here.
Total Time: 5 1/2 hours
Ascent: 2 hours 30 minutes (at a strong pace)
Lunch Break: 1 hour
Descent: 2 hours
Transportation: The trail starts past Silver Lake Provincial Park just off Silver Skagit Road. It is a 2 hour drive from Vancouver (Google Maps directions).
Pictures: Eaton Lake