This relatively large lake has been a popular east shore hike, popular with fishers and families. There is some local history at the rock dam at the north end of the lake. Read the history article by Terry Turner that follows.
Location: 9kms due east of Riondel & 4kms due east of Bluebell Mt
Difficulty: Easy A-B1
Elevation gain: 240m (if walk last 1.3kms of road) + 314m (1030′) gain; 336m (1103′) loss
Key elevations: Start of rough road 1580m (5184′); TH 1820m (5970’); High point trail 2134m (7000’); Plaid Lake 1798m (5897’)
Distance: 4.5kms one-way
Time: 1.5 hours one-way
Access: last 1.3kms 4WD HC LR
Season: June through October
Map: 82F/15 Kaslo 82F/10 Crawford Bay
0.0 From the Kootenay Bay Ferry terminal on the east shore of Kootenay Lake, drive Hwy 3A uphill
1.1km Go right. Left goes to Riondel.
4.7km Enter village of Crawford Bay. Just after the gas station (between the motel and church), turn left (north) onto Wadds Road.
From Creston (junction of 3A and 3), drive Hwy 3A north along the east shore of Kootenay Lake. Zero odometer at the Grey Creek Store.
0.0 Continue north on Hwy 3A.
5.9km Cross Crawford Creek. 7km Pass Dandelion Market in Crawford Bay
7.6km Turn right (north) onto Wadds Road (between the motel and the church). Zero odometer.
0.0 Start north on Wadds Road. 1.3km Go straight. (right goes to Kokanee Springs Golf Course.
2.6km T junction. Go left onto Crawford Creek Road.
4.7km Go straight past the transfer station. Pavement ends. Go right on Crawford Creek FSR.
10.2km At junction, go left. (right is to Crawford-Hooker FSR)
11.3km Go left on Crawford-Spring FSR (brown sign with a hiker). Just before the 16km sign, the road become steeper and rougher.
16km Park before very rough road 4WD HC (climbs 240m in 1.3km to TH).
17.3km TH 1820m (5970’)
Trail: Start NW in the subalpine. Climb quickly and reach expansive views of the West Arm after 30 minutes. Mt Crawford is visible to the north, Old Tom is SE and Sphinx is further south. Crawford Bay and the golf course are below. At 2.4km reach the trail’s high point 2134m (7000’) on the SW spur of Mt Crawford – “the saddle”. The trail/route up Mt Crawford goes to the right, an easy 200m walk up. Descend 330m all the way down to the lake (Plaid Lake is lower than the trailhead). The intermittent path reaches Plaid Lake at 4.5km – 1798m (5897’). Plaid Lake has meadows, flowers and fishing.
What to do?
1. Hike to the north end of the lake to the lake’s outlet to visit the rock dam (planned to be removed in 2016). Read the history of the dam in the following post.
2. Communication Repeater. Retrace back to the saddle on the NW side of Mt Crawford where a faint trail leads right (SW) .6km across the drainage to a ridge 2134m (7000′) with Crawford Bay visible below. Turn right to scramble up to the green cone at 2195m (7200′). Views are to Pilot Peninsula and most of the lake.
3. Climb Mt Crawford. Trail/route leaves from saddle, then it is only 200m.
4. Climb UN 7634.