This historic miners trail provided access to mines throughout this subalpine region at the turn of the century. The claims on the Meachen Creek side had no easy access so the trail was built from the west.
Location: southern Purcells between Sanca Creek in the West Kootenay and Meachen Creek in the East Kootenay
Difficulty: Trail from Carrot Lake to Pass not maintained
Elevation gain: 427m (1400′)
Key elevations: Real TH 1707m (5600′); Sanca Pass 6250′
Distance: 2.9kms on road, 6.5kms to Sanca Pass
Time: 4.5 hours to Sanca Pass
Access: Any vehicle
Season: late June through early October
Map: 82F/7 Boswell
Drive: From the Gray Creek Store south of Crawford Bay, drive Hwy 3A south 30.7kms along the east shore of Kootenay Lake. Turn left onto Sanca Creek FSR. Zero odometer.
From Creston (junction Hwys 3 and 3A): drive Hwy 3A north 36kms along the east shore of Kootenay Lake. Turn right (east) onto Sanca Creek FSR. Zero odometer.
0.0 Start east on gravel Sanca Creek FSR.
9.3km Go left to Haystack Mt and Sherman Lake (right goes to Wooden Shoe Trail, short and not very interesting). 9.5km Stay straight.
14.2km (Left goes to Sherman Lake). Go right for Haystack. Just ahead the road is closed at a deteriorating wood bridge. Park. Walk the remaining 3.8km to the Haystack Mt TH.
15km Another deteriorating bridge. Walk the remaining 3km.
Trail: Walk the Sanca Road 2.9kms to the real Haystack/Sanca-Meachen Ck Trail TH at 1707m (5600′).
Cross Sanca Creek in 15 minutes. Gradually ascend the damp valley through cool forest. 6kms. Reach the basin below Haystack Mt at a marshy pond and the trail junction. Go left to Haystack and right around the pond towards Sanca Pass. On a usually poorly maintained trail with deadfall as it descends into Kianuko Creek, head NE, then east to pass several small lakes including Carrot Lake, (named after the main food left in the dwindling food supplies of an early day party). It is 1km to Sanca Pass from Carrot Lake. Haystack Mt is to the north and this trail traverses around the east of Haystack Mountain. The trail gives panoramic views to the NE and east to thickly forested Sanca Pass.
Sanca Pass: From the pass, descend .75km to the old buildings of the Sanca Pass Hotel (the log hotel is now only a wood foundation, rusted metal and broken pottery)
.75 kms to a campsite and a trail junction.
Left goes to Haystack Lake – 2kms gaining 91m (300’) to under the north face of Haystack Mt. 2682m (8800’). The route down to the lake is rough. Good campsite on south shore. Many ridges and lakes to explore in area.
Right goes 3km to the Upper Meachen Creek Road – 32.3km to St Mary’s Lake FSR and another 16.5kms to Hwy 95A north of Marysville.