Eaton Lake is a hike near Hope that I’ve had on my hiking to-do list for the last few years. With inclines often compared to that of the Grouse Grind, I knew that this hike would be pretty brutal especially with our overnight packs. I should also mention that we went on one of the hottest weekends of the summer during an air-quality advisory due to the smoke from the wildfires… Not the smartest decision. Parking on the side of the forest service road, we walked an extra approximately 100m to the trailhead where we were ominously greeted by an Eaton Lake sign that had the words “PURE HELL” graffitied on it.
The first half hour of the hike to the waterfall and first bridge wasn’t too intense. It gave us false hope that the rest of the hike wouldn’t be as tough as it was. Then the hard part started… and didn’t end. You can see exactly how steep it was in the photos below.
We finally reached the halfway point which was at the second bridge. After that, the trail just kept on going and going and we kept on climbing higher and higher, wondering when the trail will finally flatten out. I made the grave mistake of saying “I think we’re almost there” which made the last quarter of the hike the most brutal. However, we put our heads down and pushed through until we FINALLY got to Eaton Lake.
There were a couple of other groups of campers at the lake. Spots to set up a tent were limited. We tried hiking further around the lake but couldn’t find a flat area, so we settled for a tiny spot by the water that wasn’t the most scenic. However, there was a great rocky area to hang out and eat our meals. We took a dip in the water to wash off all the dirt and sweat, then ate our well-deserved dinner. The smog from the forest fires actually made for some really cool lighting in the morning.
To be completely honest, if you dislike inclines or have asthma like Nick, this hike may not be for you. However, I quite enjoyed the challenge and the beautiful lake made the hike worth it for me! I’d definitely do this hike again with group of friends and hang out at the lake for longer. I would also bring up fishing gear as I saw quite a lot of fish jumping in the morning.
Along Silver Skagit Road leading to Eaton Lake are several places to set up camp if you’re looking for a less strenuous outing. There is a serviced campground in Silver Lake Provincial Park as well as a few free sites near the trailhead to Eaton Lake that are worth checking out!
Here’s a photo of Nick and the “pure hell” sign after he completed the hike. He doesn’t look impressed. I forced him to smile in the second photo.
Camera Specs: Canon 70d body + Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 lens