Trail Updates and Access Conditions [PDF] (November 2019 to April 2020)
Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Park Wardens conduct backcountry patrols of the park. Our Park Wardens are in the park during the summer season; if you see them along the trail, stop and have a chat. They'd be very interested in hearing about your trip, trail conditions you have encountered, wildlife sightings or anything else that you found notable.
Mid-Stein (Cottonwood Creek to Stein Lake)
In 2001, bridges were constructed over many of the creek crossings on this stretch of trail. Three cable car crossings are located along this section of trail, at Scudamore Creek, near Rutledge Creek and at the east end of Stein Lake.
Three designated campsites are in place on this section of trail at Logjam, Mid-Canyon and Stein Lake camps. Each has a bear-proof food cache and a backcountry toilet. This area still contains several unbridged creek crossings and steep, rugged sections of trail.
Upper Stein (Stein Lake to Tundra Lake)
Approximately 10.5 kilometres in length. A rigorous hike with major elevational changes. There is no water available for most of this hike. Above treeline, this is a route, marked in places with cairns. There are several steep snow chutes, which are present for most (if not all) of the year, to be crossed.
There is a backcountry toilet and a food cache at the east end of Tundra Lake. The saddle above the west end of Tundra Lake is the park boundary. (Note: Tundra Lake to the Lizzie Lake trail head is approximately 12.5 kilometres then it is 12 more km along the old Lizzie Lake Forest Service Road to the trailhead.)
Elton Lake (Stein Lake to Elton Lake)
Approximately 4 kilometres. A rigorous hike with major elevational changes. There is no water available until you reach the lake. This is a route, with no well-defined trail to follow. Good route finding skills are a necessity. Elton Lake is a spectacular sight, with its unique cobalt blue color, small rock island and headwall glacier.
Brimful Lake (Texas Creek to Brimful Lake)
Access is via the Texas Creek Forest Service Road which is closed April 15 to June 30 at kilometre 4. The upper part of the road has not been maintained for many years.
Stryen Creek (Main trail head to the Stryen Creek valley)
Approximately 6.5 kilometres to “The Forks”, with further trips available up the East (8 kilometres) and West (5 kilometres) forks of the creek. The first kilometre or so of this trail is confusing, but beyond that is very easy to follow and is in good condition.
Lower Valley (main trail head to Cottonwood Creek)
Approximately 30 kilometres in length.
The trail is in generally good condition, with only occasional deadfalls. Some sections may be muddy or flooded during spring run-off. Be prepared for rougher, steeper sections of trail at Devil’s Staircase and Snake Bluffs.
Eight campsites are located along this section of trail, each containing a bear-proof food cache and a single pit toilet. All camping must be at these sites. A suspension bridge over the Stein is located at the 13 kilometre mark, and is in good condition. The suspension bridge has replaced the cable car.
Blowdown Pass (Blowdown Pass to Cottonwood Creek campsite)
Approximately 25 kilometres in length.
This is a well-marked trail but some stretches get quickly overgrown with shrubs. There are steep elevational changes between Cattle Valley Creek and the Cottonwood Creek campsite. Side trip opportunity to the old Silver Queen Mine site. (Caution: the old open mine adit may be unstable — do not enter).
There is a backcountry toilet and a food cache at the junction of the North and South Forks of Cottonwood Creek.
Stein Traverse (Main trail head to Lizzie Lake)
Over 75 km long.
More often travelled in a west to east direction to reduce elevation gains required. You must be experienced, in excellent condition and well outfitted to undertake this trip.
The far west end of the park, along the Lizzie Lake to Stein Lake trail, is usually snowed in until mid-July. This is a very steep, high elevation area. Under normal conditions, this area is not recommended outside of the mid-July to mid-September period.
Mini-Traverse (Blowdown Pass to Main Trail Head)
Approximately 55 kilometres in length.
See notes above for information on sections of this route.