Distance: 16 km
Elevation gain: 400 m (+330 m to ridge)View mapDownload GPS track
Bryant Lake is the name often given to the lake at the base of Mt. Byrant in the Fisher Range. It's crystal clear, warmer than most mountain lakes, and random camping is permitted. Talk about ideal.
The trail starts just south of where Canyon Creek crosses Powderface Trail (the dirt road at the end of highway 66, west of Bragg Creek). If you are heading north on Powderface, there is a small parking area on the right just after descending onto the Canyon Creek flats. Cross the road and start heading roughly southwest up the Canyon Creek drainage. After about 1.5 km, turn and head northwest up the obvious drainage. The drainage slowly curves to the west; continue in it for a little over 4 km.
At this point, after having hiked a little over 5.5 km, start watching for trails that ascend the left bank. The first of these apparently ascends to the left of an overgrown small drainage. We missed this, but a short distance further came across a cairned trail that ascended steeply into forest. If you somehow miss this trail, there is a third one further up the main drainage, also marked with a cairn. These latter two routes join up in the forest and both are in excellent shape and very easy to follow.
After about 10 minutes ascending through forest, emerge onto a rocky bench with views stretching south ~1.5 km to your destination at the base of Mt. Bryant. The lake is hidden from view until you are about 10 meters from the shore. From this point simply follow bits of trail generally south through rocks and meadows. The meadows have many flowers and mosquitoes. As you approach the obvious location for the lake, angle up to the left over rocks (easy going), aiming for the high point of the treeline to avoid bushwacking. A very good trail leads to the lake at the junction of trees and rocks.
Just prior to reaching the lake the trail bumps against the outlet stream at a very nice camp location, complete with fire ring and frying pan. A very short distance further, reach the north end of the lake and another great campsite. We continued along the west side of the lake to the base of an open slope to escape mosquitoes. This slope (west) looked very easy to ascend and so I continued to the top, 330 m or so higher. No scrambling is required, and the scenic reward for the day is doubled as the view to the west encompasses many ridges and peaks along highway 40. For those looking to bag a peak, Mt. Bryant (on the east side of the lake) is apparently an easy scramble too.