Sunshine Meadows (Rock Isle Lake)

Trip Date: Monday, September 23 2019 
Round Trip Time (hr): 4.5
Total Elevation Gain (m): 750
Total Trip Distance (km): 19
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 1 – you fall, you tripped over your own feet
Difficulty Notes: No difficulties other than following the myriad of signage along the trail and slogging up and down the Sunshine road.
Technical Rating: TL1; YDS (Hiking)
Map: Google Maps

After a long solo trip up Scarab Peak the day before, I wasn’t too keen on a long day when Monday, September 23 2019 showed up. BUT. The weather was forecast to change in the latter half of my week off and Hanneke also happened to have the day off, so we wanted to get out and do something together. Considering a forecast of rain and clouds we had to temper any temptations at large or long objectives (not that I minded in this case). I’d never done the Sunshine Meadows hike before and neither had she, so we settled on that.

Sunshine Meadows Route Map

As I researched the Internet for a bus or gondola ride up to the meadows, I was surprised to see that Sunshine Village was closed for the entire Larch season this year! That seemed very strange and I still don’t know if it’s just a 2019 thing or if they will never be open during the Fall hiking season anymore? No huge matter, but hiking the Sunshine ski-out road adds at least 10-12km and well over 500m of height gain over taking the gondola or a bus. 

The Sunshine Meadows stretch out in front of us. Left is Citadel Pass. Right is Rock Isle Lake.
Hiking around Rock Isle Lake.
Grizzly Lake.
Views down the burnt Simpson River valley.

We arrived in the same parking lot I’d left only 10 or 12 hours earlier and started hiking up the same road too! Thankfully the route soon deviated but of course I’ve skied and  hiked this dang ski-out way too many times for my liking over the years.

Oh well. Hanneke hadn’t hiked it before and the fresh air and company made for a quick approach to the upper village. From the upper village we had no problems, following the trails and confusing numbers of signs to Rock Isle, Grizzly and Larix Lakes. The best part about the lack of transportation up the road was that we enjoyed the entire area in the height of larch season all to ourselves.

Hiking past Rock Isle Lake.

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