The trip to Hammer Lakes, up to the Pass and along the Ape Lake Route to the Lookout is one of my favorite. The trip can be done in two days with an overnight, or it can be done in just a day trip if you are fast and efficient!
Our daughter Morgan was just over a year old when she joined Alex and I for this trip
The trail head access is via the West Nusatsum Forestry Road (Resource Road) at approximately 27km there is a well marked Rec Sites and Trails three blade sign indicating the start of the trail. This road to the trail is typically 4 wheel drive access only, and depending on how kind mother nature has been there can be numerous washouts and closed bridges. It is advised to touch base with FLNRO Rec sites and Trails, Bella Coola Trails Alliance, or the Bella Coola Valley Tourisim Association to get an update on the driveable road access to the trail head.
Note: if there is a wash out along the road mountain bikes or extending the hike by a day are good options (there is a roadside campsite at Nusatsum River Odegaard Lookout that can be used if extra hiking is required to access the trail head)
The first section of the trail gently winds up through the forest, where you break out in the alpine meadows (4km). At this point there is a very old rickety board walk that leads you through the meadows to Hammer Lakes. The boardwalk is typically very wet, slippery and overgrown be prepared to get wet feet!!
After reaching the lakes the trail then veers out of the meadows and winds its way up through the trees to to the pass and more alpine meadows. This section of trail is marked with orange trail markers attached to the trees.
The alpine pass makes for stunning views and a great place to camp. There are some good dry rocky outcrops and numerous small streams for gathering water.
When overnight hiking with a child in a backpack carrier, you learn to pack light, as one person carries the child and the other gets all the campgear! We typically go with a light weight megamid tent which has one pole and no floor. Food is light weight dried goods and little Morgan shares my sleeping bag. Our child carrier has room for snacks, water and spare diaper (bare bum when possible to save on diapers!!)
After setting up camp in the pass we really recommend following the Ape Lake Route around the ridge to the lookout where you will be treated with more spectacular views.
The route here is a little difficult to follow, keep your eyes open for rock cairns. This section of hiking is a little more technical as there are some scree slopes and rocky sections.
but the views on the other side are well worth the effort!
The hike out and back to your vehicle is a nice one, downhill the whole way and can easily be done in an afternoon.
- Please be Bear Aware
- There are no designated campsites,- please practice no trace camping and pack your garbage in and out – the site you camp in should look the same when you leave as when you found it
- The Trail Head to Hammer Lakes is about 4km from the lakes it is about another 1.5km to the pass and dryground for camping.
- The Ape Lake route Lookout is about 1.5km-2km past the pass following rock cairns
- The alpine meadows at Hammer Lakes are usually very wet – expect wet feet and bring spare socks!!
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