Shadow Lake Trail- Part 3 (Shadow Lake Campground to Red Earth Creek Trailhead)
August 26, 2017
Shadow Lake Campground to Red Earth Creek Trailhead
Distance: 12.9 km
Elevation Loss: 400 m
Time: 4 hours
My last day of the hike was probably the least exciting but also the longest. Since I couldn’t continue towards Egypt Lake as was my usual plan, I had to exit the backcountry through the Red Earth Creek path, which is essentially just a graveled fire road.
I got up nice and early so I could knock out the trail as fast as possible. Most of the trail was completely flat and there wasn’t much opportunity for any views. It was going to be the most mundane of the three days but a trail is a trail, and I was still excited to finish the last lag of the trip.
The sky was cloud covered as I began my trek on an even dirty covered trail. There were a handful of bridges along the trail that helped cross over the fragile areas.
Much of the trail was surrounded with large coniferous trees, completely blocking any view of my surroundings, though one brief moment in a small meadow provided me a glance at the mountains to the distance.
Then it was back into the trees. The trail was incredibly well-kept the entire way, with only various smoothed down stones to cause me any sort of ankle distress.
A few one log bridges were used to cross over streams though out the trail though because it was so late in the season, the water was low enough that it was no longer necessary.
As I reached the end of the Shadow Lake part of the trail, several steep switchbacks were accompanied with caution signs. This trail can be used for cross-country skiers in the winter time and so it is necessary to warn them that a steep decline awaits them.
After 2.4 km, a small boardwalk bridges the gap between Shadow Lake trail and Red Earth trail. If you are coming up Red Earth trail, it's at this point you are no longer allowed to ride your bicycle. There is a spot to lock up your bikes here.
The Red Earth Trail is an old fire road that doesn’t offer much for views and carries on for 10.5 km from the Shadow Lake turnoff.
The trail itself is a gradual decline, losing 400 m over the full 13 km it stretches out. From the Shadow Lake turnoff to the Red Earth trailhead, you have the option of riding your mountain bike. A lot of people opt to use the Red Earth trail for this purpose.
Despite its lack of scenery, there is still plenty of plant life and the occasional stream run off to look at.
As I continued along the wide trail, I was greeted briefly with the sun before it once again hid behind the clouds.
A few kilometres into the trail, I was able to hear and finally see Red Earth Creek to my right.
Another 3.6 km and I was walking right into the Lost Horse Creek Campsite. Red Earth trail literally walks right through the campsite so I was able to take a quick peak at the five camping pads and outhouse off to the distance.
The first bridge after the campsite takes you over the small area that the creek still flows.
The second bridge takes you over remnants of an old riverbed.
Dirt was replaced with pebbles as I continued my descent to the TransCanada highway. Along the way, I was once again greeted with the sight of a family of spruce grouse. This time, papa was also with the group. There is nothing cuter than the sound of spruce grouse chicks chirping along…until the papa decides to start shaking his tail feathers at you as a stern warning to back off.
After that, it was more of the same as I steadily continued my way down on the evenly graded trail.
After what seemed like forever, I finally reached my final destination. The parking lot is separated from the trail itself with a gate as it helps to keep the wildlife away from the road.
I took my picture one last time, this time at the trailhead sign of RedEarth Creek trailhead. Then it was time for a nice big steak to cap off the weekend!
While I was still a bit disappointed that I had been unable to reach Egypt Lake and all of it’s surrounding wonders, I had still been offered a brief glimpse at it’s gorgeous beauty through Shadow Lake. If you are looking for a shorter option that still allows for a chance to see wonderfully blue mountain lakes, check out this route!
For day 1 of my backpacking trip, click here! And for day 2, click here!