Distance: 42 km
Time: 3-4 days
Season: June - Oct
Elevation Change: 1280 m
Access: See Getting to the Sunshine Coast Trail
This is the final section of the Sunshine Coast Trail in more ways than one. Much of the route was little more than a sketch on a map until the summer of 1998 when it was roughed out in its entirety. And rough it is though volunteers from the Powell River Parks & Wilderness Society continue to upgrade every part of the trail whenever weather and time permits. The group deserves our applause and admiration first and foremost for having the vision to even conceive of such an undertaking. One thing which sets this project apart is the willingness of PRPAWS to eschew bureaucracy and get on with the project even when confronted with jurisdictional arcania that could easily have stalled similar projects for decades. The thousands of hours of hard labor donated to the Sunshine Coast Trail have literally put Powell River on the map.
From the campground on Lois River the trail leads upstream for a kilometre to the dam [km 133] then continues along the eastern shore of Lois Lake for 6.8 kilometres to a primitive lakeside campsite. On the way at km 136 you'll pass the start of the Powell Forest Canoe Route at a campsite operated by the British Columbia Forest Service. Picnic tables and outhouses comprise the amenities here. Once the trail leaves the lakeside expect to gain altitude, slowly a first then more steeply as the route switches back and forth up 10 kilometres to the tiny Elephant Lakes. There are no amenities to speak of but camping is permitted at the lakes which are situated more or less at the halfway point on this last stage of the trail.
The next campsite is 8.5 kilometres away atop Mt. Troubridge [km 157.2], a demanding uphill slog that reaches an altitude of 1280 metres. On the way up the footpath passes through magnificent stands of ancient Douglas fir and yellow cedar. What goes up must come down however and the knee-burning descent to the end of the trail at Saltery Bay, 17.8 kilometres away, should take similar time and effort. On the way you'll pass a campsite at Rainy Day Lake [km 166.4.] Breaking the descent into two may be well-advised depending on your transportation arrangements. Those returning to Vancouver will want to catch the bus on board the ferry from Saltery Bay to Earls Cove.