Olivia Creek Uplifted
Olivia Creek trail used to be the only path to reach Three Sisters Peak before Heiko’s/Mountain Lake trail was built. I had never used it as the word was that it was overgrown and quite impassable. The new word is that the Fernie Trail Alliance sent a working crew to give it a brand new makeover. Check it out.
It is a full-day hike, we took seven hours not including the car shuttle. It is not a bike trail.
My recommendation would be to have two vehicles, two groups that meet on the trail and switch car keys to save time. The stronger group should start at Olivia Creek, and the second group to start on Heiko’s trail. The route is Olivia Creek/ Three Sisters’ Pass/Heiko’s trail or the reverse.
If you don’t intend to switch keys then drive up Hartley Lake road past Hartley Lake and Olivia road is the second offshoot to the left. Park a vehicle at the junction as this is a typical Fernie pothole former logging road from there, and as bad as it gets. Then everyone jumps into the car going to Heiko’s trail. Make sure you choose cars that will accommodate for that, although from Olivia creek road to Heiko’s trail meadow is probably only a ten-minute drive.
I will not describe the ascent on Heiko’s trail to the Three Sisters pass, check the July Fernie Fix for that. Once you reach Three Sisters Pass, continue to the left/east on the pass (unless you do it in reverse) and you will quickly spot a trail traversing the scree slope. Here starts your descent into Olivia Creek.
The trail overhangs a small lake then threads its way in between big boulders. You have to watch your step as the path is mostly rolling rock. You pass two valleys and descend into the third one. First, it is a gradual decline that allows you to gaze at the rock walls with a multitude of small caves in them. The folds in the rock vary from almost vertical to vortex style swirls. The grey of the stone is in sharp contrast to the colorful paintbrushes, colombines, phacelias and greenery of the valley. You have great views into Bisaro canyon on the West and Hosmer to the east.
The trail quickly becomes abrupt as it skirts the rock walls in a southeast direction. At the base is a wide expanse meadow, a perfect camping spot for the adventurous outdoor person or hunter.
I have to admit that from then on, it is a long walk (about an hour) in the trees on Olivia Road. However, as we passed the “sawmill” which is now just a field of sawdust, I could not help wondering about the logging stories I have heard. Apparently loggers used to climb from their camps over into Proctor and down into the town for a beer on Friday nights… that’s dedication. Fact or fiction, it still makes for good daydreaming when the going is humdrum.
In my estimation, this trail’s makeover was well worth it. Another hiking “overhaul” worth mentioning is the Hosmer trail. That path had been overgrown for quite a few years now, but no more. It’s gone from Hippie style to crew cut hairdo and more.
To the FTA, Backcountry Trail Experts and volunteers, we salute and thank you.