- Difficulty Intermediate
- Time 2 hours
- Round-Trip 2.5km
- Elevation Gain 300 meters
- Season April - October
- Camping No
- From Vancouver 2 hours, 45 minutes
- Public Transit No
- Dog Friendly Yes
Cool Creek Canyon is a short, steep hike that offers scenic views of waterfalls and the Birkenhead River valley area north of Pemberton, BC. The route climbs up the steep hill on one side of Cool Creek, crossing a bridge higher up, before descending down the other side back to the road.
From the trailhead next to the small gravel parking area alongside Portage Road, walk past the wooden sign and follow the trail as it begins to climb quickly. The route passes through a forested section, offering occasional glimpses of Cool Creek while steadily climbing as you work to pace yourself. Near a rockslide, the trail veers to the left and continues following a path near the creek.
There are no trail markers but the route is clearly defined and well maintained. As you make your way higher up the canyon, there are a couple of places to enjoy the view of the rushing water. Do not venture too close as the rocks can be slippery and the rushing water can quickly sweep you over the edge unexpectedly.
The trail weaves its way up onto several rocky ridges and scenic views of the Birkenhead River valley can be seen between the trees. Quickly stop to enjoy the views, catch your breath, before continuing up the narrow trail that pass up and over the rocks. The route begins to ascend at a lower rate as you quickly make time through the forest and reach a wooden bridge crossing Cool Creek. This is the highest elevation point of the hike and the trail will descend on the opposite side of the creek.
Follow the trail downhill as it descends via a series of switchbacks where there is often a great view of a waterfall at the switchbacks closest to the creek. There are a couple of spots that offer a clearer view of the waterfalls than they did on the other side of the canyon. As you continue descending, the trail reaches a junction where another trail goes off a short distance to the right to a picnic table. This is a beautiful spot with a view that looks north up the Birkenhead River valley, offering a great place for lunch.
Return to the trail and continue to descend. The hike down is fairly quick as you continue to follow the creek before the trail exits the forest and returns back to Portage Road. Walk left along side the highway back to the small gravel parking area to where you began your hike.