Monashee Park is a wilderness area of mountains, lakes, and forests, located in the heart of the Monashee Mountains, part of the Central Columbia Mountain Range. The park contains 7,513 hectares of raw, undeveloped mountain wilderness that protects untouched watersheds supporting substantial old-growth cedar, spruce and hemlock forests, and an important habitat for grizzly bears.
The park’s valley floors are blanketed with lush green forests that yield to alpine meadows at higher elevations. Some of its mountain peaks, which reach over 3,000 metres above sea level, are capped with glaciers that feed over 100 lakes throughout the park. The area also features some of the oldest rocks in the province, a small threatened herd of caribou, and some rare specimens of coastal plant species. Other wildlife include deer, marmots, squirrels, hares, mountain goats, and pikas.
The park is intersected by switchback trails, necessary in this steep terrain. The feelings of early explorers are manifested in the local place names Belly-Up Canyon and S.O.B. Gulch, and a large area at an elevation of 8,000 feet (2439 m) named Valley of the Moon.
There are a number of trails for exploring this wonderful park. Climb up Fosthal Mountain for beautiful views of the Monashees and Okanagan Highlands, or go to the Fawn Lakes, an interesting area of more than 100 ‘little puddles.’ Hikers can use the wilderness campsites at Spectrum Lake to take day or longer trips. Campers are expected to practice “no trace” camping and obey the “pack it in, pack it out” park policy. Peters, Margie and Spectrum Lakes are noted for their excellent fishing. Backcountry camping is available in two areas: Spectrum Lake and Peters Lake.
The park is open year round, if accessible, and there are no fees. The park is totally isolated and the only access into this park is on foot. Spectrum Lake will be the first campground reached at about 6 km from the parking lot. Spectrum Lake has 16 campsites. Only basic facilities are provided. Two group sites are also available, and five of the ten sites have open shelters. Peters Lake is an additional 9 km from Spectrum Lake, however the hike is very strenuous. Pit toilets and bear-proof food caches are provided.
The park is located 111 km northeast of Vernon, but there is no road access into the park. From Vernon, travel 60 km east on Highway 6 to Cherryville, then travel northeast up Sugar Lake Road for 46 km until you reach the Monashee Provincial Park turnoff. The turnoff road is 11 km, and ends at a parking lot. From there, access into the park requires a 6-km hike to the Spectrum campground.
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