The Nature Trails
Please read before you begin a trail walk.
Most of the trails were originally created by the wild animals that have roamed around here for hundreds or perhaps thousands of years.
They have been made easier to walk in general but every effort has been made to retain their natural state. Some parts are easy to walk and are based on roads made by the early settlers and some are very challenging to traverse and are not suitable for small children or the faint of heart. While we do clear them occasionally please be aware that sometimes edges will crumble underfoot, so take your time and be alert as you walk. If you are not agile or particularly physically fit you may want to stick to the easier trails such as The Old Corral Trail and the Canyon Valley Trail. None of the trails conform to any known standard of trail or footpath construction and you travel them at your own risk.
As you walk the trails please remember that British Columbia is 'bear country'. While bears are not common here we do see them (or traces of them) once in a while. If you encounter a bear DO NOT RUN. Make a lot of noise and slowly leave the area where the bear is or lay on the ground face-down, cover the back of your neck with your hands and remain motionless until the bear leaves. We can provide noise-making devices for you if you wish to carry one with you on your walks to help keep bears away.
There are various kinds of snakes and all of them are harmless except for the rattlesnake. Rattlesnakes are not seen often but if you do happen to encounter one simply back away slowly. Rattlesnakes will not chase you but a sudden movement near them can trigger them to strike at whatever is moving. Rattlesnakes give live birth to their young and protect them after they are born. So, if you see a very small rattlesnake it's wise to slowly leave the area, 'mom' may be somewhere close.
Bees are part of life around here and they usually leave people alone. Please under no circumstances approach or touch the fences around the bee hive areas, they are electrified to discourage bears. They will definitely discourage anyone or anything that touches them!
Now that you have been informed about some of the wildlife you may encounter, we encourage you to take your time and enjoy yourself as you walk. There are many diverse types of terrain, flora and fauna to be seen. There are wonderful natural features that are very distinctive with peculiar micro-climates unto themselves. The area around the falls is very different than the marsh area and both of these are very distinctly different from the ponderosa pine forest at Lookout Bluff or the grassy wide valley at the end of the Canyon Valley Trail.
These distinctive areas are home to many species of flora and fauna, in some cases endangered species such as the elusive white-headed woodpecker. We ask that you disturb as little as possible, please don't pick the flowers or disturb any habitats. Please, always bring everything back that you take with you. There are no trash cans or outhouses on the trails. The entire Retreat is a 'no smoking' zone.
The Falls Trail
A very cool and pleasant path that ends at the cascading falls. It's a quiet spot that invites you to sit and relax.
The Steep Trail
This trail connects the Falls Trail to the Old Corral Trail. It is a very steep trail and it's recommended only for the agile. There are no safety rails ...
The Old Corral Trail
This easy-going trail leads from the centre up though a short wooded area and up the main road to the steel gate. A leisurely path winds around and up to the old corral. There are a few scenic spots overlooking the valley and the top of the falls. There are cliffs!
The Marsh Trail
Follow the Canyon Valley Trail down to the end of the marsh and take this trail around the marsh back to the centre. It's moderately challenging but not too difficult for most people.
Short but steep with a rewarding overlook of the lake and canyon at the top of the bluff.
The Picnic Peak Trail
Take the Old Corral Trail but go past the steel gate and follow the road around the corner to the sign on the left then take the trail to a secluded and scenic picnic spot.
The Canyon Valley Trail
The longest trail and an easy walk down past the marsh through the serene wooded canyon to the valley beyond.