Distance: ~14 km
Elevation gain: ~550 mView mapDownload GPS track
We heard so many nice things about Rummel Lake that we finally decided to hike there. As it turns out, Rummel Lake isn't particularly nice (Chester is much nicer, minus the people), but the route to Rummel Pass is spectacular and makes up for any disappointment at the lake.
The trail starts on old logging roads and weaves its way up old clear cuts, eventually entering forest on the way to Rummel Lake. It's a rather roundabout way of getting to the lake, but based on the amount of deadfall it's much preferable to any other route. Shortly after the trail reaches Rummel Creek there is a new bridge crossing the creek. We crossed here, but in retrospect we shouldn't have. It is signed as a ski trail and as such avoids any scenery that might be subject to avalanche danger. The hikers trail does not cross the river here (it continues along the right bank of the river and is signed as being subject to avalanche danger) and from others photos is by far the more scenic route.
The lake appears to be a new winter camping destination as a new toilet is in place and last year the lake was used for this purpose. The ski trail is also freshly maintained.
After the lake the trail heads up towards the valley leading to the pass. The valley is absolutely spectacular and very easy walking. It also screams prime grizzly habitat. Eventually the valley becomes nothing but rock, but is not difficult to walk on at all (contrary to how it looks). There are two beautiful tarns en route to the pass, and surprisingly, lots of deer and sheep sign. From the amount of droppings at the pass, it appears that they use the pass quite frequently.
The views from the pass are amazing and there is a visible trail leading down to Lost Lake en route to the Galatea Lakes trail. This means that you can relatively easily hike from Spray Lakes Road (Engadine Lodge) to Highway 40 (Galatea trailhead) in about 17 km with only about 600 m elevation gain! The trail intersects the Galatea Lakes trail at the last bridged crossing of Galatea Creek - if you look closely at this point on the way to Galatea Lakes, you can see a faint trail leading off to the left. This leads to Lost Lake (I've heard some bushwacking is required) and from there up to Rummel Pass. Definitely on the to-do list!