Castle Rock Hoodoos - 100302
A visit to the Deadman Valley, west of Savona off the Trans Canada Highway, will bring you to view the interesting Castle Rock Hoodoos. But first you get to journey up the beautiful Deadman Creek Valley, full of glorious views and rich history.
The road passes through the serene Skeetchestn Indian Reserve, note the Community School providing education to the valley children above you. Side roads meet the valley at various points on your drive, some heading into Criss Creek, Back Valley and Scottie Creek. Stop to view the noted Deadman Hoodoos a few kilometres further north or hike a trail going northwest climbing along the historic Hudson Bay Brigade Trail up Tobacco Creek to Chartrand Lake. The route was used by the Hudson Bay Company traders to transport supplies north to Fort Alexandria in the fall and furs south to Fort Kamloops in the spring.
Further up the valley, the arid grasslands starts to give way to ponderosa pine, then douglas fir forest bordering a series of five lakes. Mowich, Snohoosh, Skookum, Deadman and Vidette Lakes provide excellent opportunities for a leg stretch with Forestry Recreation sites offering lakeside access.
Castle Rock Provincial Park is east of the road near the north end of Skookum Lake. Beyond the park, the road passes Deadman Lake, Outpost Lake and finally Vidette Lake. Vidette Lake has been deemed the Center of the Universe by visiting Tibetan monks. Above Vidette you may discover the majestic Deadman Falls with a 200 foot drop to the steep canyon below. Early spring and summer will awe you with its thundering roar and by late summer and fall a mere trickle finds its way to the edge. The road beyond the falls is best explored with a 4-wheel drive.
Castle Rock Hoodoos Provincial Park features white to yellow cliffs and hoodoos and eroded volcanic ash. The area is fragile and B.C. Parks recommends low impact visits to the area as the Park was established to protect this rare geological location. Stop by the side of the road, take some photos and explore the area below the hoodoos. Hiking and biking on the cliffs is forbidden, please do not disturb the hoodoos.
Wood ticks are prevalent from March to June for most of the dry Interior belt. Check your clothing after visiting this area or any of the other stops along the route. The area is hot and arid in the summer, be sure to pack a full water bottle and wear a hat.
The dominant flora in the area includes dryland choke cherries, saskatoon berries, wild roses and douglas fir. Each season features wildflowers adapted to the semi-arid conditions including buttercups and balsam root in the spring, gaillardia, mariposa lily, yarrow, pussytoes, lupines, mullein, larkspur, prickly pear cactus and stonecrop in the summer, followed by aster and buckbrush in the fall. Coyotes, hawks and grassland birds frequent the area.
A visit up the Deadman Valley offers the visitor a chance to see rock formations, lakes and rivers, grazing lands, natural grasslands, dryland forest and wildlife. It is well worth a day or two, be sure to bring your camera!