I’ve been meaning to go on a 4×4 trip in a group or at least with someone else for a while now. So when my friend Kevin said he has a Saturday free, we planned a trip together.
I end up finding most trails by maps alone, funny enough.
I read about Salisbury Lake on a hiking blog, so I did a bit more research into it.
The BC Government website has a viewable forestry map, which is amazing, to be honest. The map shows all current and de-activated service roads, as well as bridges.
A few days prior to this trip, I drove to Salisbury Lake just to check it out. I always enjoy finding new places to go.
The start of the forest service road was at the end of a residential area. It’s a popular area, as Cascade Falls is nearby.
The road itself was fairly well maintained. My only complaint is that wasn’t enough puddles to drive through.
On the way there, there was a large rock in the middle of the road. While it wasn’t impeding flow, I might as well move it for the next driver.
The trail climbed for a bit until I reached a 3-way turn-off. Unless you have a map, picking which way to go is mostly just a gamble. Both ways seemed equally travelled, if anything taking a right and going up seemed to be more heavily travelled.
I was wrong. Incidentally, I took the wrong turn and ended up on a logging road. I noticed this because I kept on climbing, instead of descending (go figure).
I checked my map, and I thought I would be heading to Dickson Lake instead. Nope, just climbing and climbing going nowhere.
Then, it came to a clearing and here Salisbury Lake was. But now I wondered how to actually get there, hmm.
Heading back down where I came, and taking a right (meaning, continue straight at the fork) got me there.
After exploring the lake, I saw that the road kept going.
So, after getting home I followed the map and discovered Kenyon Lake.
The same week I ordered a portable vehicle air compressor, used for airing up your tires, and I was looking forward to using it. Airing down your tires (releasing air pressure) increases the tire footprint, increasing traction. While airing down your tires too much can cause the rim to lose the bead, taking it down to 20 PSI (give or take) is relatively safe.
If you don’t already have a portable air compressor, I’d recommend picking one up.
After meeting up and grabbing snacks, we were on our way.
The start of the trail is fairly non-descript until you get to Salisbury Lake where it becomes a bit rockier. Driving past the lake and following the road will lead you to the right trail.
You’ll know you’re on your way to Kenyon Lake if you see this, it’s the start of the trail:
To be honest, it looks pretty daunting. You never know if it’s the right trail, or it’s some ATV trail that leads to nowhere.
Well, we didn’t drive this far just to wimp out and turn around so we said screw it.
The first 200 meters or so are medium-sized rocks, with some washed-out beds as you drive up. You will need at minimum 2″ clearance here, as you scale over the rocks.
After getting over that rocky bit (getting rock sliders is a good idea), the road flattens out to an uphill trail. You may think the worst is over, but no.
The next obstacle we encountered seemed to be an old, washed-out bridge. The below ditch was pretty deep, you definitely don’t want your front end slipping in there!
While it wasn’t difficult to cross, just be aware of where your tires are! You end up having to drive higher on the driver’s side.
The last final push just before reaching the lake was the worst part of the trail we encountered (but more on that after).
It was absolutely beautiful, and nevermind quiet. There’s an island on the lake that also has a metal fire pit if you happen to canoe or kayak over.
Well after a quick lunch, we decided to head back down. I was the first to go, fortunately. In the middle of the trail, there’s a large stump. On the way up, you have to “jump” over the stump and crawl your way up.
Well, my friend Kevin with his stock-height Jeep, kept riding the driver’s side and didn’t hug the passenger side nearest the trees. He became high-centred. And stuck. Very very stuck.
Thankfully I had a tow strap in my truck so I hooked it up to my truck and his front bumper.
The smart way of doing this is raising the hood to protect the windshield, and most importantly your face, in case of the strap breaks. No, I didn’t do that, so I just floored it instead.
He was mega stuck. The passenger side of his Jeep couldn’t get any traction, on account of being high-centred on the tree stump in the middle of the path.
I was below him, and there wasn’t an easy way to go around and pull him backwards. The only way around him was up a steep and smooth rock embankment. There was no way in hell I would be able to climb it.
Fortunately enough, and I can’t stress that word enough, there was another fellow up there with his 2-door Jeep Rubicon. He carried a winch (for situations like these), but pulling him out from the front still wasn’t working. The next best way was coming around him, and pulling him backwards. After scaling the cliff by turning his lockers on, the helpful stranger was able to come around Kevin’s Jeep.
After one good pull, Kevin was out and we were on our way!
The trip back was pretty uneventful, we were just happy we weren’t spending a night on the mountain.