A favorite hike or snowshoe route goes from Lac du Bois into a valley between Opax Mountain and Wheeler Mountain. From the Lac du Bois Road, the double track goes around the north side of the lake, then follows the drainage into Hanging Valley. The gentle sloping valley continues for 5 km west where it ends in a clearing before dropping off (with no trail) down to Tranquille River. There is a waterfall at the drop-off that requires a scramble down and across steep slopes for a viewpoint. Otherwise it is a 10 km return hike, walk, bike, or snowshoe on a double track. On this winter day, we snowshoed down to the gate separating the Lac du Bois Nature Conservancy from Lac du Bois Grasslands Protected Area and back on the same route.
On the way around the lake we follow a double track, passing through cottonwoods and aspens.
After winding through the small valley at the west end of Lac du Bois, the route enters the wide open pastures at the top of Hanging Valley. Our route continues down the drainage where the valley narrows down between the two mountains.
Aspen groves line the meadows, but douglas fir forest at 860m (2800+ ft) extends up the slopes on either sides.
On the way back, one of us veered off track and stomped across Lac du Bois, taking photos along the way.
The out-and back route was 7.5 km. We will be back to hike the route all the way down Hanging Valley in spring. At that time, we will scramble down to see the falls at the height of run-off. Stay tuned….