I did this hike in early October 2014. I couldn’t quite make up my mind whether to do this hike or to visit Lussier Hotsprings in White Swan Provincial Park, however the weather was good so I couldn’t justify spending so much time in the car driving all the way to Lussier Hotsprings.
I pulled into the parking lot for Floe Lake and there were only two other cars, so I knew that the trail up to Floe Lake probably wouldn’t be very busy. In fact I saw only four other people the entire time. From the trailhead at the parking lot you head to a small bridge over the Kootenay River, before following the trail through dense new growth forest. When I did this hike last October there were a number of burnt trees which had fallen over the trail, though these were relatively easy to get over or around.
The trail remains relatively flat for quite some time, and then begins to climb more steeply for a short section, before it becomes more gradual as you travel along the side of the valley.
You’ll traverse across between lots of areas of burnt forest and clear areas of grass (and wild flowers in the summer) on the avalanche slopes. This traverse does take a long time, so it’s nice to break it up by taking a couple of breaks.
There’s a bit more of a climb towards the end of the valley, and the trail switchbacks for quite a while as you gain elevation getting up to the lake.
There’s a campground at the lake, and a little further on is the warden cabin. I stopped here and enjoyed the views of the lake whilst eating my lunch. It would be really incredible to spend the night here, it was so quiet and it would have been nice to spend the whole day there.
However, I wanted just to go a little further up the trail to Numa Pass, just so I’d get a little glimpse of the next valley over. So I set off and carried on up the gentler trail.
On the approach to Numa Pass you leave the shelter of the trees behind and the landscape becomes a little more bleak. The wind had increased and so I stopped to put on a few more layers.
Numa Pass has really fantastic views, both down towards Floe Lake and further along the Rockwall Trail in the other direction.
To return back to the trailhead you follow the same route back, it takes quite a while so it’s a good idea to stop along the way. I stopped at Floe Lake again on the way back, just to take a few more photos.
In total the return distance to Numa Pass is 26.5 km (16.5 miles) with an elevation gain of 1030 metres (3400 feet).
© RockiesOutdoors 2015.