To Hidden Lake
From the west shore section of Upper K Lake Trail, most people take the old trail along the overflow channel which starts at the hiking sign. The sign is intended to keep people on the upper lake trail, but it also serves as a marker for those headed to Aster Lake. To make it absolutely clear, the words “Aster Lake” and “Hidden Lake” and arrows are scratched on the sign. This is still the best way in, in my opinion: the trail is short, flat and has minimal deadfall.
There is another trail to Hidden Lake that starts from the upper lake trail farther south near the resurgences of Foch Creek at 289084. The idea is to shortcut across to the lake at 285079. In its present state I don‘t like it much. The trail is obvious, but someone needs to go over it with a chainsaw! In addition you have to climb up over a ridge. One interesting thing is the junction with a secondary trail just before you reach Hidden Lake. Looks like the idea is to make a forest trail around the lake for when it is impossible to walk along the shoreline. Has anyone actually tried to follow it?
To Fossil Falls
Usually the falls are seen from afar on the climb to Aster Lake. For waterfall lovers, getting in close is a must. It is, after all, the premier falls in K Country. Go on a hot summer day when the decibel count is at its greatest from melting glaciers, and take bug spray. It can be reached on a day trip, but takes longer than you might think as there is no trail after you leave the Aster Lake trail and the close-up view must be earned. Be prepared to be out for 8 hours plus from Upper Lake parking lot.
After walking around Hidden Lake to the south end, climb the forested headwall. From the cairn and rock seat at the top, leave Aster Lake trail and walk straight ahead through a gap to the left of a treed knoll. Descend a little, then traverse the scree slope, noting the odd small cairn. Stay above the patch of tall trees and continue traversing scree to a thick belt of vegetation (small spruce and willow) on either side of a side creek. Push through to a small meadow below a crag. At its far side near the top is some flagging. This signals the worst part of the route—a much longer push through head-high bushes on a slant. There’s lots of flowers mixed up in the branches and consequently lots of horse flies and biting flies waiting to catch the sweaty hiker at a disadvantage. It’s a relief to reach easy ground below the falls and cool off in the mist! And, yes, the falls are noisy and magnificent.
So this is the route that we know. Has anyone descended to the creek from the cairn and tried following it up? Some day I’d like to descend to the creek and head down-valley to look at the very impressive middle falls that can be seen and heard from Hidden Lake.