We finally went on a real hike! We started with the Harrison Grind/ Campbell Lake trail, which is super close to Harrison Hot Springs in BC. The trail winds its way up Mount Agassiz past a viewpoint and a pretty lake. It is perfect for a mini adventure.
Things are starting to open up here in BC, so although we are still staying local-ish, we are now allowed to visit the mountains. It takes about an hour and a half to drive to Harrison Hot Springs from Vancouver, so it is really easy to come here and hike on a day trip. I found this trail in the 105 Hikes book, which is full of fantastic (and fun) trails like this. If you like the sound of it, you can buy it here.
Harrison Grind – the basics
Distance: 10km or 8km if you stop at the first viewpoint
Elevation gain: 679m (890m elevation change)
High Point: 695m
Time: We took 4.5 hours including at least half an hour for lunch.
What to bring: A Camera! It’s so pretty you’ll take a lot of photos.
The 10 Essentials
Facilities: No facilities here, but there are loos, ice-creams, shops and everything you need at Harrison Lake
Dogs: Great trail for dogs but keep them on a leash.
How hard is it? Intermediate. Despite the name, it is much easier than the Grouse Grind.
Harrison Grind – Campbell Lake Trail Map
Harrison Grind Getting Started
I’m not going to lie, the first few hundred meters of this trail are STEEP! You need to head up a gravel trail, past the village’s water tower. Then keep going into the trees on a mossy, watery path as you hike up the bottom section of Mount Agassiz.
After a few switchbacks you follow a path along a powerline up to a fantastic viewpoint.
Views of Cheam Peak
I always feel better when the good views appear. Don’t forget to look backwards when you reach the powerlines! There is a really great view back towards Cheam Peak.
I really liked how mossy and green the trail is. The path is pretty easy to follow, with red markers that show up well against all the greenery.
Once you get a little higher on the trail, more light comes through the trees and makes everything even more beautiful. You’ll keep gaining elevation until about 700m, then it flattens out slightly. Then you can relax and hike along to the viewpoint at the end of the Harrison Grind.
Harrison Grind Views
We nearly walked straight past the viewpoint at the top of the Harrison Grind. Keep a look out for a gap in some bushes to make sure you don’t miss it! There is a bit of a rocky outcrop, with views down to Harrison Lake and the mountains beyond.
Keep going to Campbell Lake?
Lots of people stop at the top of the Harrion Grind. But if you have a teeny bit of energy left, it’s good to keep going to Campbell Lake. The lake is only around one kilometre beyond the viewpoint. In spring, the path can be very soggy. So don’t continue if you plan to keep your shoes clean.
The last part of the trail does not involve much elevation gain. Just be careful as the path can be quite rooty, so just watch your feet.
When we first reached Campbell Lake it was completely deserted and looked beautiful. The only problem is there is just one small opening in the trees where you can reach the lake shore easily. This means once more people arrive and it’s busy, you’ll all have to squish together in the same area.
Powerline Views beyond Campbell Lake
Although the lake was nice, we decided to keep going slightly further as I had read there is one more viewpoint on the opposite side of the lake…
However we could see that the logging road continued on further beyond the viewpoint…so we kept walking to see if there was an even better view further on. There was!
Harrison Lake Viewpoint
This amazing viewpoint was not on the map. The logging road continues all the way to a bluff with a giant pile of logs. Someone has even carved a bench out of one of the giant logs, so you can sit there while you eat your lunch.
I used my big lens to zoom in on the gorgeous mountains to the North of Harrison Lake. Gorgeous eh!?
This is the view away from the lake towards the Douglas Range. That is where we went Skiing at the awesome Sasquatch Mountain Ski resort. Doesn’t it look beautiful in the summertime!?
The pathway beyond Campbell Lake is a logging road. I’ve noticed some of my Canadian friends are not so keen on these kinds of trails, but I don’t mind them. We even found a mini waterfall along the trail.
You return the way you came. But we found we were even faster once we started heading downhill. We met quite a lot of hikers heading up as we were leaving; So if you start this walk later in the morning, it is likely it will be a little busier than we found it.
This was our first real mountain hike of 2020 (as long as you don’t count Burnaby Mountain.) It was pretty perfect for getting us hiking as it wasn’t crazily difficult, but we were rewarded with such perfect views. If you are looking for an easy-ish hike near Vancouver, this is a fantastic option. I think this would also be a great walk if you are staying at Harrison Hot Springs, and want to stretch your legs before you soak them in the hot spring.
The hot springs were not yet open (due to Covid-19), but I would reeeally like to come back and soak in them properly at some point!