By Joe Lucas
Summit Trail Makers Society
On the other side of the valley from Bugaboo Provincial Park, the Chalice Creek trail rises 650 meters in 5.5 km to an open meadow where the views of the Bugaboos are truly stunning. Take the ridge north or south for even better panoramic views of the Bugaboos and the Septet Range.
With nearly a two-hour drive to the trailhead, an early start is essential if you are to get in a full day of hiking. Bugaboo Provincial Park and CMH Bugaboo Lodge are in the immediate area of Chalice Creek, so getting directions to either will put you in right area and you will have little trouble finding the trailhead for the Chalice Creek hike. From Invermere, you take Hwy 93 north to Brisco (about 45 km) where you turn left onto the Brisco Road. From here, it is another 44 km to the trailhead on gravel roads. There are signs to Bugaboo Provincial Park, but it is best to have clear directions beforehand. You eventually end up on the Bugaboo Forestry Service Road and, after about 41 km (from Brisco), the first indication you are close is when you see the sign for Bugaboo Provincial Park on your right. Shortly after this, 650 meters, take the road to the left, across Bugaboo Creek, then take the single-lane road to your right, 25 meters after crossing the bridge. Now you are just over 2 km from the trailhead. Low clearance vehicles do not do well on this road.
The trail begins on the left side of Chalice Creek and you will cross the creek twice to end up back on the left side. The second crossing is when you reach an open meadow in a narrow valley, 3.4 km from the trailhead. There is a trail that continues straight on, but dead ends further up this valley, so look for the log bridge below you and to your left. After crossing the creek a second time, the trail quickly starts to climb and, after another 2.1 km, you breakout into a grassy meadow. Just turn around to get your first spectacular view of the Bugaboos. Take note of this area and look for orange flagging which will help you find the trail on your return trip. Now you have three options: continue east on the trail for less than a kilometre to a lookout over a small tarn with the Septet Range in the background; turn left (north) to go along the ridge for another 2.5 km to an obvious peak; or turn right to go up onto the ridge going south for about 2 km before it starts to drop. If you continue on this south ridge, you will drop to a col before scrambling up to an unnamed peak. There are no obvious marked trails going left or right from the meadows along the ridge, just keep to the height-of-land and you will be rewarded with incredible views of the Bugaboos to the west and the Septet Range to the east. You have come all this way, so venturing along the ridge north or south is a must to get the best views of the Bugaboos. Enjoy your time in the mountains.
Summit Trail Makers Society maintains various hiking trails in the Invermere area. For a list of these trails and information about them, please visit www.summittrailmakers.ca.