LOON LAKE – CEDAR CREEK LOOP (near Ainsworth)
This trail negotiates many mining artifacts in the Ainsworth area. It is maintained by Mountain Trek.
Time: 6 hours
Season: April to November
Map: 82F/11 Kokanee Peak and 82F/14 Slocan
Drive: Leave a shuttle vehicle at the south end at the Coffee Creek Substation, then proceed to the Cedar Creek trailhead, north of Ainsworth.
Stop #1: Just north of the Cedar Creek bridge is a wooden cribbing from the loading docks and lower terminuses of No. 1 Mine and Highland Mine aerial tramways. They were only visible due to the low water level in Kootenay Lake in April, the timing of this trip.
A short distance up the trail, calypso orchids were in bloom.
Stop #2: A few tramway buckets, cables, a broken tramway tower, couplings from the wood stave pipeline, a water reservoir and other mining equipment are visible along the trail.
Stop #3: Pass the cemetery, cross the bridge to see the 1893 bullwheel and ore bin from the Highland Mine. Rock samples with visible fine grained galena (lead/silver), “black jack” sphalerite (zinc) and pyrite lie on the ground. Return to the cemetery for lunch.
Stop #4: Ainsworth Cemetery.
Follow an old logging road to the main Loon Lake road.
Stop #5: At the Maestro Mine, the road has collapsed into an underground tunnel and a trail skirts it. The swampy stream draining Loon Lake has lots of skunk cabbage.
Stop #6: Cabin on the east side of Loon Lake.
Stop #7: Viewpoint from the power line towers is as good as it gets: Loki, Bluebell, Crawford, Old Tom, Hooker, Baldy, Drewry, Balfour Knob, Rhinosceros Point, the Osprey Ferry, glacier lilies, and paintbrushes.
Walk down the power line access road to the vehicles left at the substation.