Frederick & Dewdrop Trail
Northwest of Kamloops, on the north side of Kamloops Lake, lies the Lac du Bois Grasslands Protected Area. The 15,000 hectare park encompasses sweeping grasslands and lush forests, cliffs and canyons, hoodoos and hidden mountain lakes, a wide variety of animals and birds, and vegetation ranging from wildflowers on the lower slopes to groves of aspens and Douglas firs. There are hundreds of kilometers of trails throughout the park, but the Dewdrop trail, with its sweeping vista over Kamloops Lake and the Thompson Plateau, is one of the best and most accessible ways to visit the area.
The trail starts off in grassland, where horses of the Hudson’s Bay Company roamed free in the 1860s. As the trail winds upward, hikers will encounter gullies, streams, forest, plateaus, and lava outcrops. Viewpoints over the lake can be accessed from the main trail, with the highest viewing point a 5.5km hike from the jumping off point on Frederick (Dewdrop Range) Road.
Almost directly across from this viewpoint, on the south side of Kamloops Lake, is the great bluff which Sir Sandford Fleming felt might be a formidable obstacle to the Canadian Pacific Railway on its proposed route along the Thompson. During his 1872 surveying expedition Fleming’s party left Kamloops by boat, with the intention of traveling to Savona’s Ferry (as it was then called) and getting a close look at the great bluff as they passed. They also had the opportunity to observe the landscape on both sides of the east end of Kamloops Lake:
“The hills are diversified here in form and colouring, as they are in age; some heavy bluffs of trap and basalt jutting out into the lake, intermingled with carboniferous rocks; and beyond them elevated plateaux, composed of a silt of mingled sand and clay, retreat in more or less distinctly defined terraces on which the subsiding waters had successively rested. . . . On these broken, narrow, winding plateaux, and the hillsides that bound them, is abundant grazing for ten times the number of cattle or sheep now seen on them.”
Herds of cattle may still be encountered in the grasslands surrounding the Dewdrop Trail. Another animal that can be seen is the California bighorn sheep, which was successfully introduced to the area; so successfully that animals from Lac du Bois have been used to re-populate areas in the United States where the bighorn had disappeared. The area around the Dewdrop Trail is recognized as one of the best places in the province to view the animals, with the south-facing hillsides, steep rocky terrain, and natural vegetation providing a perfect habitat. From September/October until May/June the animals stay in the lower elevations, retreating to higher alpine meadows during the summer months. Other wildlife that can be seen along the Dewdrop include white tail deer, mule deer, and moose.
The country around Dewdrop was never well populated, either by the Secwepemc (Shuswap) First Nations people or by early settlers. However, historical hunting and root gathering was conducted there by the Secwepemc, and the area also contains pictographs and archaeological sites indicative of First Nations presence. The remains of historic homesteading sites can also be found in the area.
Please note that grasslands areas are very sensitive to disturbance. There are also some 950 hectares of privately owned land in, and adjoining, the Lac du Bois Grasslands park, which ensure the preservation of some of the most intact native grassland in the province, and numerous at-risk species. This property cannot be accessed without permission.
Nearest Community: Savona, B.C.
Access and restrictions: From Hwy 1, take Sabiston Rd and follow until you reach Red Lake Road. Turn right and follow the Red Lake Road until you reach and the Dewdrop-Frederick Road and turn onto; take the left fork at the next junction and proceed to the parking area.
From the parking, area follow a route through the low pass to the south; at the top of the pass, turn right up the open slopes to the top of the bluff over 0.5km and an 80m climb.
Parking Advice: N 50 45.168 W 120 37.319