Talus Lake

- 15 Kilometers
- Difficult
- Full Day

Hiking, Biking and Camping permitted


Talus Lake

Access: Hwy 66
Parking: Little Elbow campground
Camping: Little Elbow campground, or
Mt. Romulus backcountry

- Bike 'n Hike, approx. 3.5 hrs one way

This is a long day trip to a pretty remote lake, one that makes you feel like you're in the middle of nowhere with not another soul in sight ... much like the journey to Burns Lake. Here too I decided to go solo on the spur of the moment, although generally it's not wise to make a habit of venturing too far into the backcountry alone.

This trip quickly became a favorite because the trail (Little Elbow) begins at the Little Elbow Campground which can serve as a base camp so in the morning you can just jump on your bike and go. Also, the Mount Romulus backcountry campground is situated 10 km down the trail near the point where the hike to Talus begins, offering up another camping option if you wish to stick around and explore more of the area.

The trailhead is a gated parking area at the end of the campground, and from here you follow a rather uneventful Fireroad that tends to get busy as it is part of the popular Elbow Loop. On the approach to Mount Romulus there's a dry creek bed to your left, and it is here you ditch the wheels and commence with the joutney on foot ... onward and upward.

This is the most exhausted I've ever been on a trail largely because I was almost all the way up the wrong slope before I realized something was wrong. In my haste and while not paying attention I had wound up on an unmarked trail in a remote location and in the throes of heat exhaustion ... but rather than turn around and call it a day I decided to backtrack and figure out where I'd gone wrong. All told this trip should take approximately 3.5 hours one way (with the Bike) but on this day it was 5 hours before I managed to crawl on to the lakeshore, a little disoriented and greatly dehydrated. Apparently I had failed to watch for where the trail veers right and crosses the main creekbed to the opposite bank, and in doing so had inadvertantly followed a fainter path straight ahead until I found myself attempting to scramble up an insurmountable talus slope ... In other words I became hopelessly LOST! Anyway, as a result of this critical error and the ensuing fatigue, my recollection of the journey at this point is pretty sketchy ...

Having regrouped I eventually found myself staggering towards what appeared to be a high cirque in the distance, having swiftly regained my focus at the sight of fresh Grizzly tracks in the soft meadow mud. An imposing scree slope bears the evidence of an outlet stream flowing down to a lower lake, which is more like a large stagnant pond, and it is there I finally crawl to the shore of this elusive little oasis. With not much depth to the shore it's hard to get a good picture of the whole lake, but at this point I'm too exhausted to move, much less climb up to a better vantage point. Getting comfortable near water's edge I sit mesmerized by the sight of trout darting just under the surface of this clear emerald pool. I struggle to reach my fishing tackle ... must catch ... fish ...
Hours later as I stumble into Little Elbow campground delirious and speaking in tongues, I am both relieved to be back to civilization, yet also elated at having found this hidden treasure in the Elbow Valley.