McConnell Hill Double Loop - Kamloops Trails

McConnell Hill Double Loop – Kamloops Trails

Doug Smith  July 29, 2020 at 9:42 am

We hiked up McConnell Hill in the Stake Lake Trail system, then we braved the Bushwhacker Trail loop, stopping for lunch at a viewpoint, then returned to the Sidewinder Trail to complete an 11.5 km loop.

With such a wet spring we encountered a number of wet areas to get past and all the forest ponds were full, reflecting the surrounding lodgepole pines, aspens, and pine grass.

The Stake Lake trails are double tracks  designed for cross country skiing.   Most are groomed trails with no obstacles (other than wet areas and mud in summer), but the the Bushwhacker Trail is a “backcountry route.”   It starts as a rough double track on top of the rocky plateau, but it switches to a single track through the forest, winding past ponds and dense forest stands.

Basalt lava bluffs circle McConnell Hill on the west and north sides and from the rim of the bluffs are great views of the forested hills and lakes of the area.  Stake Lake lies less than a kilometer to the west.

From another viewpoint on the south side of the bluffs, we could see across to Ross Moore Lake, 4.5 km southeast, with the Douglas Plateau in the distance.

Along the trail were many wildflowers and pollinators, including this swallowtail

Most wildflower photos from these hikes are now displayed on A Wildflower Journal on an eclectic schedule, but a selection is added to KamloopsTrails posts too.   This is spotted saxifrage, from the open rocky ledges of McConnell Hill.

We frequent the Stake Lake area many times over the year to hike, cross country ski, bike, snowshoe, walk, and paddle.   We will back again soon.

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Doug Smith

Doug writes for Kamloops Trails, a not-for-profit (and ad free) website, offering information on trails, waterways, routes, featured spots, viewpoints, and explorations in the outdoors in the Kamloops area (and beyond).

Doug started exploring this area in 1976 and continues to follow tracks and routes wherever they lead, with the aid of map, compass, GPSr and camera. After many dead-ends, but also many discoveries, he chose to share this information.

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