Yrene lives in the Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada, and is the founder of BackcountryCanadaTravel.com. She was born in Switzerland, lived and worked on different continents and has travelled the world. Yes, that's me, an Entrepreneur, wilderness nut and animal lover who prefers off-the-beaten-track places. I write about things I love. Mostely.
Mabel Lake Valley, a hidden gem near Lumby BC
Whenever I drive to Lumby BC, I take in the silhouette of Camel’s Hump in the background. The two humps tell me that I’m close to my old home.
This little mountain is special to me and I know it well. I used to live on its bottom edge and rode my horses up to its peak. How fortunate for Lumby to have a natural symbol like Camel’s Hump.
Taking my eyes away from the hump I look up at the Mabel Lake sign and my mind starts to wander. How many tourists travel through this little town in the Okanagan, stopping to fill up the gas tank, maybe buy some food or drinks and continue their journey. They miss out on all the hidden treasures in the area.
Exploring the Mabel Lake Valley
We decided to spend last Sunday afternoon close to home and explore the Mabel Lake Valley. That was, the two Swiss visitors Manuel and Lukas, myself and my buddy Trooper. It’s like stepping out of my doorstep into the wild.
We headed out towards Mabel Lake, taking in the beautiful and rugged countryside on the way.
I glimpsed up Sigalet Road as we passed it, thinking of the mountain lakes in the Silver Hills. A bit of white on top of the mountains made me think that it was a bit early to head up that way. Better to stay in the low Mabel lake valley for now.
Old buildings from times gone by
Passing the old barns on the left I was wondering how much longer they would be part of the landscape. Pointing out the old elementary school and other buildings made my imagination come alive. Pictures went through my mind, of how life must have been in the Mabel Lake Valley during the early times.
The road past the Provincial Park Campground got rugged and I had to slow down. I drove ‘slalom’ to miss most of the biggest potholes on the way. Still, the road wasn’t bad considering it was early spring. Proctor Road, where I live is MUCH worse!
And there it was, the famous shoe tree, displaying more shoes as time goes by. This decorated tree marks the trailhead of Misty Trail. Along the forest trail, you can marvel at some recycled treasures.
The short trail to the lake leads through the enchanted forest. In my opinion, it is more messy than enchanted, and it would be nicer if it would be cleaned and left natural. But wait until you get down to the shoreline of beautiful Mabel Lake where a small, sandy beach is waiting for you. This is one of my favourite spots in the Mabel Lake Valley.
The wind was blowing and therefore we didn’t stay that long. Still, the idyll of the place left my visitors amazed. Later in the season, this hidden place will be excellent to go for a swim.
Back at the car, we decided to head for Cascade Falls. If it would have been later in the season and the road in better condition we would have continued to Cottonwood campground and on to Revelstoke.
The trailhead to Cascade Falls is easy to miss. A small parking area on the left (driving back towards Mabel Lake Provincial Park) makes you guess that this is might be the trailhead to the waterfall.
The narrow trail winds through a moss-lined gully along a sparkling stream. Before reaching the falls there is a picnic table and pit toilet, inviting for some wilderness camping. Just a little further along the trail and we could see the thundering waterfall tumbling down the mountain.
The waterfall in these wild surroundings was stunning and inspired me to shoot some pictures. The air temperatures were too fresh to stick around for long. I will keep this place in mind for a hot summer day when the clean sparkling stream and the mist of the falls will cool us off.
Mabel Lake Provincial Park
Our next stop was Mabel Lake Provincial Park. The park was quiet this time of year and only a few of the campsites were occupied.
I drove through the camping area for my guests to get a glimpse of the park. Then we strolled down to the sandy beaches, watching a lonely fisherman trying his luck.
What an idyllic place this is and so quiet without the noise of engines. It would be the ideal time to take out the canoe and go exploring.
On our drive back from Mabel Lake to the ranch, we made a short detour down to the Shuswap river before heading home.
So, if the tourists driving through Lumby only would have an idea of what’s out here! Our Sunday drive was much too short to explore all of the Mabel Lake Valley, there is so much more to see.
Next time we may drive up to Kathy Lake and take a fishing rod, maybe go on to Holstein and Sigalet Lake and explore the Silver Hills. For that, we will need another full day, a good map, plenty of food and some basic outdoor equipment.
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For more information on Mabel Lake Provincial Park check out the Park Canada Website.