This hike also called "1848 Trail" is linked to another hike known as "1858 Trail". To reach this place you need to drive north on Highway 1 through the Fraser Canyon. At around 42 km you will reach Alexandra Lodge, where the original trail started. The actual trail begins 300 m north. However, Juanmobile was able to squeeke on the tiny road and I started my hike from the original place.
A word of caution, there is an apple tree close to the trailhead that for some reason the owner believes is inside her property. The apples don't taste good, so don't even bother in trying to get some for home.
Elev: 138m N49'43.147" W121'25.233" Original Trailhead
The first part of the hike goes into a series of zigzags on a very nice forest. I passed an old rock slide before reaching a first viewpoint where you will be very tempted to do your first stop.
However, if you keep walking for another 200 meters, you will reach a nice viewpoint where you can have a good lunch. This is a good destination for a short or an early spring hike.
Elev: 668m N49'43.875" W121'24.720"
From the viewpoint you can have some views of the peaks along the canyon's west side.
This trail was built in 1848 by Alexander Caulfield Anderson to establish a fur-trading route to the north and east overland from Yale
After my break I keep retracing this earlier pioneer routes to the Interior. After gaining some elevation, I reached a bench and almost immediately a fork with a metal plaque. The trail on the right is the original "1848 Trail" but the one on the left is better know as "Bluffs Trail" used by miners to Boston Bar and Lytton in 1858.
Elev: 827m N49'44.402" W121'24.139" Km 3+46 Junction
I keep hiking on 1848 trail and after some elevation gain the trail crossed a very recent fire that made it not easy to follow.
Along this trail you will see little lakes and on the highest point it is campground where you can spend the night. Close to the campground it is believed the Lake House use to be, the first stopping place for the Brigades, but the original site has never been found.
Then I started to descent and I reached the junction where you can keep going on Bluffs Trail to eventually reach Gate Mountain or you can keep doing the loop. There are some campsites around as well.
Now a little bit of history, the original Anderson Brigade Trail of 1848 began at Fort Yale, crossed the river at the narrows at Spuzzum and continued to Merritt. It was the first attempt post-contact to establish a route through the Canyon.
Gate Mountain - Elev: 836m N49'45.270" W121'24.166" Km 5+38 Junction 1858-1848-Bluffs Trail
In 1848 the Hudson's bay fur brigades from fort Kamloops, fort Colville and the new Caledonia district made their way along Anderson's Brigade trail - then called the hope trial - to bring their furs to the shipping depot at fort Langley.
On my way back I saw more small lakes and ponds. This trail was documented as a route to Fort Kamloops from 1847 to 1849, and later in 1858 and 1882 as a route to Boston Bar
Then the trail went uphill through more burned forest.
Something that many people don't know, 10 years later - 1858 - Anderson build a mule trail 4 feet wide, better know as the Harrison-Lilloet road (the first highway in British Columbia)
In December, 1858, the Victoria Gazette printed that goods could now be taken from Port Douglas (now an Indian Reserve) at the head of Harrison Lake to Lilloet at a cost of 18 cents a pound compared to the Fraser Canyon trails where charges of 46-47 cents per pound were levied between Yale to Lytton
Now on Bluffs Trail, I did a final ascent along the ridge to have my last fine viewpoint over the river and the Black Canyon Rapids.
The name Black Canyon may either be a reference to the colour of the rocks when they're in the rain, or the name of a community built on the cliffsides here during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush. Today there is a specially-built air-tram, like the kind used in ski resorts, which takes tourists down to Hell's Gate, where visitors may view the fish ladders as well as the boiling rush of the Fraser's waters.
After the viewpoint the route became more obscure as I passed through a thicket of young hemlock before curving left around a small lake to reach the fort and the main trail back to Aleksandra Lodge
1. Elev: 138m N49'43.147" W121'25.233" Original Trailhead
2. Elev: 607m N49'43.761" W121'24.724" First Viewpoint
3. Elev: 668m N49'43.875" W121'24.720" Bencha and viewpoint
4. Elev: 827m N49'44.402" W121'24.139" Junction
5. Elev: 859m N49'45.030" W121'23.946" Campsite
6. Elev: 836m N49'45.270" W121'24.166" Junction 1858-1848-Bluffs Trail
Round trip: 13 km (8.1 mi)
Elevation gain: 721m (2365ft)
Time: 5.5 hours
Driving distance from Vancouver: 200 km (125 mi)