The Nehalliston Plateau has many lakes, hikes, and backroads to explore. The Eakin Creek Road connects Highway 24 with the upper plateau lakes including the Emar Lakes, Eakin Creek Floodplain Protected Area, the Hudson’s Bay Trail of 1843, and Eakin Creek Canyon Provincial Park.
The road can be driven from either end. For this article, the route starts at the top end. The turnoff is signed as Phinetta Lake or Opax Mountain Lodge. The road forks at the lodge then goes east toward Phinetta Lake Rec Site. The turnoff to Birch Lake is also a short ways down the road.
This is a fairly good forest service road, but the usual precautions should be attended to – bring a saw, axe or chainsaw for fallen trees, make sure your spare tires are in good shape, check your gas gauge, and use a two-way radio to announce your location for haul trucks. The route traverses over to the head of Eakin Creek Canyon. Another route is the Eakin Creek Creek Connector Road which turns down the hill after Janice Lake on a narrower, rougher road going past the route into Willowgrouse Lake and the trailhead for the 1843 Hudson Bay Trail and connects with the Eakin Creek Valley at a signed intersection (N51 27.087 W120 21.391).
We wanted to scout the route into Willowgrouse Lake and the trailhead for the HBC Trail so we took the Eakin Creek Connector Road which was the old Highway 24 before the new route up the Big Hill was built. We have previously paddled Janice (Long Island) Lake and scouted some of the Emar Lakes Circuit.
The Eakin Creek Canyon is a deep one and the sides of the treed slopes rise steeply on both sides. The road drops to the side of Eakin Creek and we enter the Eakin Creek Floodplain Protected Area. On this last trip in September, the creek was running well, but did not reach the floodplain. On a previous trip, the creek overflowed the banks and numerous ponds and wetlands were right by the side of the road. The canyon is very narrow there with steep talus slopes on the north side and steep wooded slopes on the south side, The trees are cedar and hemlock and there was devils club and seepage zone vegetation surrounding the creek. It is a pleasant place to stop on a warm day, but there are no hiking trails there. Past the park, we saw the lower trailhead for the Secwepemc Nation Heritage Hudson’s Bay Trail.
- Eakin Creek Floodplain Provincial Park
- An interesting (and critical) blog article on logging in the Eakin Valley – Requiem for the Eakin Creek Road
The Heritage Trail is about 10km long and will be explored in the next year. It will likely be a bit of a battle with navigation and windfall, but we were pleased to see some flagging tape on the lower end.
The road joins Highway 24 (at N51 28.221 W120 15.327) at the bottom of the Big Hill. Going down the hill, Eakin Creek Canyon is a pull-off on the right. I hiked to the waterfall and arch going up the right side of the creek
The Eakin Creek Road is about 24km long and worth a half day of exploration.