Bonanza Gap (in progress)

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The ‘Bonanza Gap’ is situated between Woss and the north end of Nimpkish Lake.  VITA is now planning for two route options in this section of the VI Trail:

  1.  A lower elevation, multi-use (hiking & biking) ‘rail trail’ along the Englewood Logging Railway that was closed down in 2017.  For this route, refer to the “Englewood Rail Trail” page.
  2.  A higher elevation route suited only to very experienced, strong back-country hikers, which for the most part is located along the upper slopes of the Bonanza Range.

This page deals with this second option, which for the foreseeable future will remain as a ‘route’ rather than a ‘trail’, suited only to experienced hikers wishing a greater challenge.  It ends at the campsite at the north end of Ida Lake.

The Mount Ashwood area at the south end of the Bonanza Range can be accessed via the ridge north of Woss on the east side of the Gold Creek valley, i.e. via Gold Creek Main to a branch road that leads to the south side of the west ridge of Mt. Markusen.  After bush-whacking up to this west ridge (only the first 200 m is marked),  go east along the ridge and then head northwards along the main ridge that defines the east side of the Gold Creek watershed (one logging road is crossed).  This takes the hiker to a high plateau with several small lakes and tarns situated south of Mt. Ashwood.  Recent hiking parties have found that although the Ashwood summit is accessible from this plateau, hiking north from Ashwood (including from the plateau with lakes/tarns) is blocked by very steep, rocky and gullied terrain, forcing a descent into the upper reaches of the Bonanza River valley.

Once in the valley, about 3 km of old overgrown logging roads (likely to be re-built in the near future) can be followed down-valley to gain the lower end of a ridge that leads back up to near the Bonanza Range crest NW of Ashwood.  The route then follows just below the crest for about 10 km to a point W of Whiltilla Mountain, through a mix of subalpine mountain hemlock forest and parkland.  In several places it is only a short scramble up to the ridge/mountain crest and the alpine.

The route skirts around the west side and more than 500 hundred metres below the Whiltilla massif, partly on inactive logging roads, before regaining the Bonanza crest a couple of kilometers NW of Whiltilla.  The route is again just below the crest for 3-4 km before transitioning to a high subalpine plateau with a number of small lakes and tarns.  The hiker then picks up an old logging road at the north end of the plateau, and follows this road down to the floor of the Bonanza valley at Ida Lake (campsite).

From Ida Lake to the north end of Nimpkish Lake, refer to the Hankin – Tsulton section of the VI Trail.

E-mail vi-trail@lewis.bc.ca if you need more information to plan your trip.