Watching Creek - Tranquille Canyon

Watching Creek – Tranquille Canyon

Doug Smith  December 2, 2020 at 9:00 am

I have been hiking in the Watching Creek area for more than 40 years.   There are a number of routes that can be done and I recently did two of them.  On this early November day, a group of us followed established trails starting at Tranquille Crossing.   Just across the bridge, the trailhead is on the east side of the road with a single track trail leading up to a double track.

The double track is a moderate route which continues along the lower slopes of Watching Hill to the confluence of Watching Creek and Tranquille River.

We took a steep trail down to Watching Creek and crossed on slippery rocks to the far side.   There was a bridge there 40 years ago, but we have had to scramble across the creek in the last years, trying to keep our feet dry.   We picked up an overgrown single track that follows the rim of the canyon bearing south.

Just above the rim is a meadow, the site of an old homestead, abandoned now for 100 years.

The trail continues downstream for about 1.2 km with views down into the colorful canyon.

A few twisted trees, some old snags, and this lichen-covered skeleton hung onto the eroding cliffs.

Tranquille River cuts a narrow gorge through the volcanic rock layers of the canyon.

In fall there were some cascades in the river.    In spring and early summer the river boils and surges through the canyon below.   At the turn-around point we could see north past the orange cliffs to the Rocky summit of Watching Hill.

The day’s hike was an out-and-back route of 10.2 km.   The highlight of the area is always Tranquille Canyon, hidden except to a few explorers, a rugged and wild corner of the Kamloops area.

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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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