Distance: 11km Round Trip
Elevation Gain: 1050 m
Time: 6-8 hrs
Road Access: moderate, unpaved road
At the northwest corner of Kianuko Provincial Park, Haystack Mountain Trail is a relatively accessible back-country hike that follows along Sanca Creek before opening up into at a serene toe lake at the base of the domineering mountain that gives the trail it’s namesake. Surrounded by larch trees, the basin is particularly enjoyable in fall as the the needles turn yellow and create a stunning autumn vista!
To get here take take Highway 3A north from Creston for 33 Kilometers to Sanca, turning right on Sanca Creek Forest Service Road. This good gravel road follows the Sanca Creek ravine deep into the Purcell range for 17.6 Kilometers to the trailhead. While the main road is fairly obvious, there are many turn offs and spurs so for detailed driving instructions click here.
From the trailhead you hike northeast through fir forest, distinct though rocky and narrow in places, with a moderate ascent and some rock-hopping and log balancing across small waterways. There is a lovely wooden bridge across Sanca Creek after about 10 minutes hiking.
About halfway up the trail you will cross the boundary into Kianuko Provincial Park. The trail becomes steeper. After about 1 hour hiking, you will reach the first lake.
Some hikers will be happy to picnic here and then return. You may wish to wander along farther, to the right side of the first lake, or north towards Haystack Mountain on the left side through the marshy meadows. 4 hours return to lakes, 5- 6 hours return to saddle below Haystack peak, 6-8 hours return to summit. Distance to summit 4.5 km, elevation gain 1010 metres.
Note that due to volume of standing water the area has a healthy population of mosquitos in summer. Be sure to bring repellent if you come from June to August or consider visiting in the fall!