A spectacular trail with great views of headwall and 837 foot Graymalkin Falls coming off the icefield. The trail give great access to many mountaineering possibilities.
Location: Up Glacier Creek Road in Purcells
Elevation gain: 640m (2100′)
Key elevations: Glacier Ck Rd 1052m (3450′); TH 1260m (4133′)
Distance: 5km one-way
Time: 4 hours one-way
Access: Normal vehicle except last 1.6km 4WD.
Season: early July to early October
Map: 82K/7 Duncan Lake
Drive: From junction with road going south to Johnson’s Landing/Argent. Zero odometer
0.0 Go straight on Duncan FSR, cross Hamill Creek in 200m and continue north along Duncan Lakes SE shore.
9.2km Go straight. Left is the Glacier Creek Recreation Site.
9.7km Go right (NE) and ascend onto Duncan-Glacier Creek FSR. (left continues north along the Duncan Lake and River. 12.9km Road is at creek level
14km Rainbow’s End Ranch. Free ranging animals. 18.1km cross side creek.
20.1km Junction. Left is to the MacBeth Icefield TH. Go straight on main road for Jumbo and Monica. Rough road, drive up as far as comfortable.
21.7km Park off the road.
Trail: The first 375m travel through a cut block, switchbacking up beside a creek through a slide path and enter the forest. Cross the creek on the new bridge and on a good trail across a relatively level basin (can be very wet), reach the bottom of the headwall at 2.5kms. Fill water bottles a short distance back before the “grunt”. Very steep switchbacks using a network of wood staircases with good views bring you 330m (1083′) to the top. The trail becomes more reasonable going around rock outcroppings and lateral moraines. Reach the rocky ridge overlooking Graymalkin Lake and follow this moraine on its crest for 15 minutes to reach 2134m (7000′). The 255m (837′) waterfall behind Graymalkin Lake is spectacular.
The trail stops but many climbs and hikes entice the hiker or mountaineer. Continue for 15 minutes to see glacier squeezed between Mt Banquo to the NNW and Mt Fleance to the north.
Drop into the gorge and scramble NE onto the escarpment over which the waterfalls pour. MacBeth Icefield is visible. Descend on the rock slabs to look down the waterfalls. Mountain goats are common.
What to do?
1. Climb Mt Banquo and/or Mt Fleance
2. Climb Mt Simpson
3. Climb Mt MacBeth or Mt Lady MacBeth or on the far NE corner of the glacier, Mt MacDuff.
4. Traverse the virtually flat MacBeth Icefield (still has crevasses – strongly recommended to use a rope).