That's a motto that I developed while traveling. When I was gallivanting around Europe a few years ago I thought I'd mix a few off the beaten path areas with the more popular areas. No offence to the less popular cities, but a place like Paris is popular for a reason. Because it's AWESOME. I've applied this to my outdoor adventures as well and resigned myself to the idea that to get the best payoff, sometimes you have to deal with crowded trails and popular backcountry campsites. A lot of times it's just plain worth it. Like here.
But not Rohr Lake. Rohr Lake is one of those places that proves my motto wrong. The payoff is five star but no one seems to know about the place.
The story begins at the trail head for Joffre Lakes. MM and I rolled into this Pemberton Classic's parking lot late in the day. On a gorgeous Saturday in August...see where this is going? As we pulled our backpacks on a Park Ranger spotted us and let us know that the camping area up at the third lake was already swamped. We asked for an alternative recommendation and he pointed us in the direction of Rohr Lake, only a few km's up the road.
Aside: can I make friends with some Park Rangers please? They always know all the best spots. And honestly, anyone who goes into Park Rangering as a profession is someone I want to know. It's just too freaking cool. If any Park Rangers are reading this, please befriend me. I'm a fairly nice person to be friends with. I like hiking and hosting cocktail parties.
So up the highway we go. We just barely make the turn and drive my poor little car up the overgrown road while it gets whapped with grass and bushes on both sides. Fortunately my paint job did escape unscathed.
I dubbed this spot Dinner Rock.
The trail to the lake goes like this:
- Beautiful forest trail. Well marked yet sufficiently wild, aerobically uphill, and teaming with berries. Have I ever mentioned that MM cannot be stopped from picking any and all wild fruit? There was a lot of berry picking on this trip.
- Breathtaking pristine meadow. It's really just ridiculous. Since the area isn't terribly popular the ground is a blanket of moss and plants and a yummy little stream runs through the middle. Tread carefully and try to step on rock where possible.
- Semi-scramble up boulder field. Not exactly a hard core scramble, but you certainly have to put your hands down from time to time. Oh, and did I mention that you're following a stream the whole time? Prepare for mud. Also, make sure to turn around from time to time, the view behind you only gets more breath taking as you climb.
- Gorgeous alpine lake. The setting will make you feel like your in a Molson commercial. The lake is icy green and so clear that you can see the rainbow trout swimming.
If you plan to adventure up to this area, here are some tips to help you be prepared:
- The hike up the boulder field is VERY muddy. As in, I did the hike in late August when it hadn't rained for weeks and still got mud inside my boots. Consider gators if you're going in wetter weather.
- Hiking poles were a lovely addition. Particularly when heading down, I really appreciated them on the slippery and steep boulder filed.
- There is not outhouse at the campsite.
- To avoid snow, consider doing this hike in late summer or early fall.
- The bug population is alive and well. Be prepared.
- If your into fishing, bring your gear. The lake is home to some very yummy looking rainbow trout.
- This is cougar and bear country. Bear bag your food. More on that later, by the way.
We found a bunch of these cute little guys near our campsite. I've never seen anything quite like them before. I think they're some sort of adorable weasel? Anyone know? I just wanted to put him in my pocket.
So now I've convinced you and you must go, right? Alright then, here are the directional details.
Directions to the Trail Head
To get to the trail head set your trip odometer when you get to the Joffre Lake (that's past Pemberton in beautiful British Columbia for the non-locals) parking lot (directions) and keep driving for 3 to 3.5 kms. Keep your eyes peeled for a little logging road on the left. You can miss it easily, there's no signage and it's overgrown. Turn left onto this single track road and drive as far as your car can handle. Keep left at the forks. Park when you need to and keep walking down the road. Before you know it, it will become a trail.
Directions on the Trail
The trail is 15km round trip and gives you a half a km in elevation gain. It's a surprisingly quick hike given the payoff. There is one well marked junction about half way through. Follow the arrow to the right for Rohr Lake. Eventually you'll break free of the trees and find yourself in a beautiful alpine meadow. At this point the trail is unclear. You need to climb the boulder field to your right. Follow the small stream to the top of the mountain and eventually you'll find yourself at the lake.
Silly girl that I am, I don't have any pictures of the lake (or nearly as many pictures as this trip deserved - there was a camera battery involved). But these guys do.
Have you ever stumbled upon a hidden gem of a trail? Who tipped you off?