Walk through old growth larch past a cool creek to reach an subalpine basin below the NW headwall of Mt Evans 2728m (8951’), the second highest mountain in the south Purcells. It is best climbed as part of a backpack. Some interesting mining history.
History: Brothers Bill and Charlie Evans form Marysville, built this trail to the basin, then known as Pollen Basin, to access their copper mine from 1915 to the 1940s. Their cabin is signed with the names of hikers dating from the 1930s. In 1934, Marjean and Helen McClure were the first two women to climb Mt Evans after riding horses 27kms from Marysville. Meachen Creek was originally called White-Fish Creek.
Location: Southern Purcells south of Gray Creek road
Difficulty: B1 to lake, D2 to summit
Elevation gain: 457m (1500’) to the basin.
Key elevations: TH 1403m (4600′); Basin 1860m (6100’); Mt Evans 2728 (8950’)
Distance: 6.7km to basin, addition 6km to summit
Time: day hike to basin, overnight for most climbs of Mt Evans
Access: last km high clearance.
Season: Late June to October.
Map: 82F/9 St Mary Lake, 82F/10 Crawford Bay.
From Marysville, drive NW on Hwy 95A about 500m and turn left (west) on St. Mary Lake Road (if you reach the lake, you have gone .5km too far. Zero odometer.
0.0 Start on St Mary River Road. Cross a wood bridge.
.5km Turn right onto St Mary/Hellroaring Creek FSR.
1.6km Turn right onto St Mary/Meachen Creek FSR
8k Meachen Creek Falls. TH on right; easy trail 300m to an overlook. No guardrails.
14km Mount Evans Trail to left.
Trail: Start from the TH on the Fiddler Creek Road heading south and southeast through old growth larch, fir and pine. Reach the basin in 1.5 hours. Continue east through the basin to the ruins of the Evans cabin in a clearing on the right. The roof collapsed in 1995. Camp upstream from the cabin: cross the creek, scramble around a boulder, intersect the trail heads SE through the basin. Follow the talus trail for .5km to the creek and a spot for one tent by the tiny pond.
50m past the campsite to the SE is the old copper mineral workings.
What to do?
1. Climb Mt Evans
2. Explore the basin following the historic miners trail. Walk upstream SE past the copper mine trenches. At the bottom of the basin, follow the good talus trail that continues east up the rocks traversing the north of the basin to a second miner trench at the base of the headwall. The trail branches. Right goes into a waterfall and the trench. Left continues to switchback up the steep slope and ends below the north pass. Scramble up to the pass for views of the rounded summits above Meachen Creek.
MT EVANS 2728m 8950’
Elevation gain: From the lake 869m 2850’;
Route: Continue past the mine staying on the south side of the basin and climb the boulder slope to the ridge above the cabin. From the ridge bushwhack through an old burn, rock outcroppings and talus heading east. Scramble up the exposed steep last bit to the summit.