Mounts King Edward and Bryce access via Bush River Road
NOTE: Watch for Logging Trucks! Check with Evans Products Mill in Golden B.C. for current road conditions and how far you can actually drive. Call 250-344-8800, ask for "Woodlands Division". Driveability of Bush River North road changes yearly. If the road has been "waterbarred" expect deep side to side ditches along the way requiring a high clearance vehicle.
Mount Columbia from Bush River
- From Golden B.C. drive west on TransCanada Highway some 27 km towards Donald, B.C. and either turn right onto the BIG BEND HIGHWAY or at the Evans Products lumber mill at Donald, 2 km further. These two roads soon join to become the BUSH RIVER ROAD. If you miss the turnoff(s) you'll cross railway tracks and the Columbia River. Whoaaa, Nellie! Back up.
- From Donald, the remaining 100 km drive is entirely gravel. It's a good gravel road but very dusty when dry. There are no phones, garages or services so drive reliable vehicles with a GOOD spare tire, jack and a full gas tank. The road is okay for passenger cars and kilometre signs are posted along the way. It takes about 2.5 hrs from Golden.
- It's important to stay straight ahead at 90 km marker and follow "Bush North" Road. Do not go left across Bush Arm of McNaughton Lake.This goes to Sullivan River and Tsar Mountain. (Not bad for a wrong turn!) There is a free B.C. Forest Service campsite at km 96 (Valenciennes River). Keep following the road north, crossing the Bush River at km 101.5 then soon back to the east (right-hand) side again.
Mount Bryce approach
-For Mount Bryce, turn right at about 120 km onto Rice Brook main road and follow this as it switchbacks up a steep hillside and then curves around the end of a ridge into Rice Brook. If the cable gate is closed, it adds an hour's walk (and 4.2 km) to reach where the bridge crosses Rice Brook. After the bridge, notice a waterfall from Mount Bryce south glacier cascades over cliffs on the north side of road. We parked about here, then walked 25 minutes further, and then tramped up a watercourse in an avalanche slope to easily get above treeline. Below the steep walls, you then traverse west, cross the stream which forms the waterfall which is now far below, and hike up around to the south glacier. Allow 4 hours from the roadside waterfalls to the south glacier. A few decent bivy spots on bedrock just before the glacier.
Mount King Edward approach
-For Mount King Edward, stay on Bush River Road as far as possible. The road ends at km126, but may not be driveable that far. The last clearcut is at GR703688 on NTS map 83 C/3. At this final clearcut in 1991, Andy and I erected a crude sign saying "TRAIL". Hike north through semi-open forest, gradually angling up to the left to gain open meadows along the ridge. Continue towards the objective. Allow 4-5 hrs to edge of glacier; 1.5 hrs from edge of glacier to foot of Mt King Edward. The southwest side of Mount Columbia is highly visible as well. Unlike the glaciated east face, this side is all rock. (About 5.5 or so, apparently.)
- Reaching these peaks is a long, rattling drive which is at first dull, but improves to spectacular. Mountaineers will relish the views of the Adamant Range, glaciers, waterfalls, and peaks towering thousands of feet above.
- Critters: Some people encircle their car with "chicken wire" and hold it down with logs or rocks to prevent porcupines from crawling underneath and chewing brakelines and radiator hoses. I once did actually see a porcupine under a car by the road up there, but so far, they haven't eaten my van. Still, 120 km would be a long, expensive tow job if the unthinkable occurred.
Allow 3 days for each of these peaks, after you driven the required distance. Both Bryce and King Edward are good solid trips for experienced mountaineers, but neither route is extreme.
Back to King Ed Back to Bryce
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