Earl Grey Pass Traverse Topo Map

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A multi-day in-and-out hike to Earl Grey Pass will capture most of what this trail has to offer—and that’s considerable. But hikers who can organize two groups coming from east and west to take the sting out of a long vehicle shuttle should consider the entire Earl Grey Pass Traverse, a centuries-old route over the glacier-laden Purcell Mountains. Either way, the trek covers some of the best Canada has to offer, from dark old-growth hemlock and cedar forest along Hamill Creek, past moose meadows and waterfalls, to ragged ice-capped peaks surrounding 7,500-foot Earl Grey Pass. Hand-operated cable cars help with five major stream crossings, but many smaller crossings must be forded or crossed on logs. The area has the region’s richest concentration of grizzly bears. On a 1908 sightseeing visit to British Columbia, this Shuswap Indian route was used by Earl Grey, Canada’s governor general from 1904 to 1911. Hikers approach Earl Grey Pass from both the Kaslo (west) and Invermere (east) sides, but few make the entire traverse because of the 287-mile shuttle between trailheads. In other words, roads over the Purcells are scarce. So are trails.

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