|McGillivray slot canyon (Ryan Yee Photo)|
This is a really unique hike that follows the creek up through the McGillivray slot canyon between Pigeon Mountain and Mt. McGillivray. It can be done as an out and back to a big chockstone, or once you reach the chockstone, you can retreat back down the canyon about 15 mins and gain the climbers approach trail on the bench above the canyon to descend. The area above the chockstone has had some recent development as a climbing crag and we met the route developers up there who have been bolting some hard sport routes!
|The chockstone is the usual destination on this hike (Ryan Yee Photo)|
This is not your standard hike and be prepared to get wet. We spent alot of time walking through the creek and water levels will dictate the difficulty. There are a number of ladders, ropes and chains to help you along the way. With lots of photos and stops, it took us about 2 hours to reach the chockstone which is about 5km up the canyon.
|Can't go around it, need to go through it! (Connor Young Photo)|
Trailhead and Approach
The parking for the hike is accessed from Highway 1 in the eastbound direction, between the Deadman's Flats and Lac Des Arc highway exits. There is a small dirt road off the highway shortly after you pass a rubbly creekbed. If you get to McGillivray Pond you have gone too far. The road opens into a parking lot with room for lots of cars.
Take the obvious trail opposite the highway for a few hundred metres until you hit the TransCanada Trail. Turn right and follow the TCT for another few hundred metres until you get to a trail just after the Wildlife Provincial Park Boundary. Take a left here and follow the well worn trail into the forest. When you reach the edge of the canyon, a less obvious trail takes you down into the riverbed. It is easy to miss and you can easily end up on the climbers access trail that takes you up along the edge of the canyon, a much fast and more direct route to the chockstone, and likely a good way to return to your car to avoid retracing your steps.
|Trail leading out from the parking lot|
|Take a right at the TransCanada Trail|
|Turn left off the TransCanada Trail at the Wildlife Provincial Park Boundary sign|
|An easy to miss trail will take you down to the canyon. If you miss it, you will start gaining elevation quickly!|
Once you are in the canyon, you can't get lost. Just start following the river upstream. Look for small trails up on the banks to bypass steep or sketchy sections! The ladders, chains and ropes came in handy for getting up short steps or moving across slippery rocks.
|Early season means that shady canyons still have snow|
|Rock on in McGillivray Canyon|
|Ladders and ropes|
|A bit of exposure on a slippery ledge. Glad there was a rope! (Connor Young Photo)|
|The path of least resistance|
|Some pools were deeper than others|
|Short section of deep water soloing|
|Onward and upward (Connor Young Photo)|
|More wading through the creek|
|Follow the footprints|
|Springtime in the Rockies (Ryan Yee Photo)|
|Made it to the chockstone|
|Great success (Ryan Yee Photo)|
We ended up hiking up past the chockstone and exiting the canyon up a steep slope on the Mt. McGillivray side of the valley. What appeared to be a distinct trail faded to vague animal trails and we bushwhacked our way back down the 500m of elevation to the TCT through the moss.