Mesa to Slough Trail for a cross country hike in Ashcroft

Spend an afternoon hiking the sagebrush above Ashcroft and the Thompson River.

This trail is moderately easy and combines both cross-country hiking as well as a portion on a public road. We hiked the entire loop one Saturday and clocked it at approximately 11 km; however, you do have other options for a shorter route.

Starting at the church parking lot on the Mesa Vista, follow the well-worn path through the middle of the dunes until you reach the corner of Mesa Vista Dr. Walk up the road past the Willow’n Bed and Breakfast to the end of the road. Look for the bright red fire hydrant and the trailhead a few feet away.

Follow the path as it gradually takes you up, down and around the ends of several gulleys eventually emerging in a large open meadow. The path is well-worn from the many hikers and dirt bikers who use it. A few markers have been placed in various locations to help ensure that you remain on the right path, as other paths occasionally veer off in other directions.

At the end of the meadow portion of the walk you will see an arrow made of stones indicating a path that heads down the hill and around a corner.  Here, if you wish, you can take a short path up an incline for a marvelous view of the inland port, slough and old explosives plant laid out below you.  This is a great place to rest and have a drink and a snack.

You will come to a fence line at the lower level, with the path running parallel to it. Head-tall sagebrush line the path on either side making it feel like you are walking through a tunnel. As you brush against them the fresh pungent aroma of the sage fills the air. To your left, note the piles of red rock that are being readied for loading and the cement remains of a very large old building. On the ground, running parallel to the fence, is an old 10 inch waterline that eventually terminates at Barnes Creek.

As you skirt the last hill and round the last corner bright green vegetation unfolds in front of you. Here is Barnes Creek – the source of the water in the old pipe and a wonderful green area lush with trees and other water loving plants. The day we walked, the creek was up and roaring right along; in the summer months it is reduced to only a trickle.

As the path ends at an old road, turn left and begin walking down it. About 100 yards along will be a grassy area with a couple of inukshuks. These mark the path that leads down towards the creek. You are now on another old road that led to a bridge; the evidence of which is seen on the opposite bank of the creek. Turn left and walk along this old lower road. In the underbrush to your right stand  the remains of an old rock wall built where Chinese men worked to find gold.

The last little bit of path heads to the right away from the road and will take you to a fence just above the road to the Tie Plant. You will have to hop over this fence and scoot down the bank.

Now you can walk the public road back towards Ashcroft. Down to your right is the popular “slough” area,  across the river are majestic clay banks riddled with veins of different colors. Up on the power  poles, the ospreys have built their nest. The road back is approximately 5 km long and follows the Thompson River. The rushing sound of the river and the salty smell of the trees that line the banks add a pleasant touch to the walk. Thanks to the local 4H club, the rest area about half way along the road provides a rest room and a picnic table where you can sit and watch the river for awhile.

Turn left at Hwy 97C and follow the highway over the tracks and around the corner and begin walking up the highway. After the last house on the left make a left turn and begin walking up a short road which turns into a path that winds up the bottom of a gulley. The path eventually comes out at the church parking lot where you started.

For those people who don’t wish to embark on such a long hike there are other options. You can drive to the end of Mesa Vista Dr. and hike to where you overlook the inland port, have a snack and a rest and then turn around and hike back. Or, you can hike half the loop by going to where Barnes Creek meets the slough road and have someone meet you there.

Andrea Walker

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Aerial view of a wildfire at 16 Mile, 11 kilometres northwest of Cache Creek, that started on the afternoon of June 15. (Photo credit: BC Wildfire Service)
Wildfire at 16 Mile now being held

Wildfire started on the afternoon of June 15 at 16 Mile, east of Highway 97

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read