Sunday, July 29, 2012

Molly Hughes Trail

Molly Hughes Trail
Distance: 2.75 km (1.71 mi).
Route type: Out-and-back
Suitable for: Walking
Elevation change: 55 metres up, 55 metres down
Technical difficulty rating:  
Navigational difficulty rating:  

The Molly Hughes trail is a short walk with lovely views of Slocan Lake and terrific pebbly beaches at both ends. It's a great little walk  particularly in the shoulder seasons, because being so close to the lake it tends to remain clear of snow for a much longer portion of the year than other trails. But at the peak of summer, it's lovely to combine this walk with a dip in the lake.

The trailhead is at the far end of the parking lot for the Bigelow Bay Park. Taking main street one block lakewards from the highway brings you to Kildare St., where you turn right (north). Follow Kildare four blocks to its apparent end, and then continue on when it becomes a meandering semi-paved laneway curving right and into the woods. You'll find a small parking area a hundred metres further on.

The Bigelow Bay swimming area popular with locals is directly below the parking area. I much prefer a quick run or walk along the trail as a prelude to a swim, so today I jogged out to get some photos. The trail is well-used and easy to follow, but it is narrow, a bit rocky, and sometimes slopes towards the downhill side, so it's not a great trail for strollers or bikes or people who are a bit unsteady on their feet.

A mostly-level kilometre brings you to above the old Molly Hughes mine workings and the old cabin which overlooks them. The porch is a little rickety, and the drop-off below fairly impressive, so I stayed back from the edge. It has absolutely spectacular views of the lake.

After that the trail meanders gradually down towards the beach. It's a little more overgrown here. After another three or four hundred metres there is easy beach access. There is some private property above the beach, but there's public right-of-way on the beach itself. It's usually deserted. For a person who prefers to swim or catch some sun in solitude, this is the perfect place.

The view from the beach looking south is pretty nice too. The beach is full of smooth round stones in a variety of greys, whites, reds and coppery greens. I added a couple of pocketfuls of stones to my dry river bed at home thanks to this beach today.

After a brief stop on the beach, I headed back. By the time I got back to Bigelow Bay Park I was ready for a swim with the kids. (I took the rocks out of my pockets first.)

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