Rolley Lake Hike

Quick Facts:

  • AllTrails link: Rolley Lake Trail
  • Difficulty: easy on the Lakeside Trail (but not stroller friendly), and moderately difficult on to Rolley Falls Trail
  • Traffic: light
  • Facilities: pit toilet at parking lot, picnic tables
  • View: nice lake surrounded by lush forest. Small waterfalls mostly hidden from view.
  • Overall score: 7/10

April 2021 Lakeside Trail Loop

During our last paddle trip at Rolley Lake, we didn’t get to take a hike around the lake. We had a sunny early Spring day today so we explored the loop trail to start things off.

The loop trail was one-way going clockwise due to COVID19 pandemic, so we started off towards the southwestern end of the lake.

The flat gravel at the start looked enticing to attempt with a stroller, but within dozens of steps you would hit rocks and tree roots.

The boardwalk at the SW end of the lake was quite beautiful, and it offers a great view of the lake.

After the boardwalk, we arrived at the western shore. It’s more rooty and muddy in several sections. The minor obstacles were not a hindrance for our toddler, but a source of fun.

After rounding the northern corner, we wanted to check out the Rolley Falls. So we hiked up a detour. We were a bit surprised when we hit the campground, but after looking at our map, we realized it’s the correct way. The trailhead to the falls is a few steps further.

Trailhead from the campground

Unfortunately, the trail was completely blocked by 2 fallen trees, so we turned around.

We explored the campground a little bit. At the centre, there was a nice flush toilet and shower building, a playground, and a small trail that leads back to the lake. For a campground so close to the lake, it’s a shame that the lake is completely out of view. The trail was about 100m and goes to a launching spot for a hand-carried paddle craft

The Lakeside Trail Loop minus the falls would be about 2.7km, very doable under 1 hour. We came back to the picnic area and set up our day camp for lunch.

Then we headed for the main event of the day: paddling Rolley Lake.

April 2022: Rolley Falls

During our early season camping trip with Grandpa to Rolley Lake Provincial Park, we revisited the Rolley Falls Trail. We were glad to find that the fallen trees blocking our way last year were cleared.

The hiking party

The trail to Rolley Falls was significantly more difficult than the Lakeside Trail. There were logs to climb over or under, several steep, rooty sections as well as stretches of mud. This was exciting for Junior who was 4 years old, but overly challenging for Little Bro who was just 2.

Since it was a lollipop trail, we figured it didn’t really matter which way we went at the junction so we headed right. We were wrong.

Junction of the lollipop trail didn’t seem like much and was unmarked.
Coming from the right lower corner of this map, we took the long way (turned right at the junction) and gave up half way before reaching the road.

After going steeply downhill for a few hundred meters, Little Bro was tired out. Good thing Junior had more juice in him so we made the decision to turn around and headed back.

Undeterred, we came back for a second attempt the next day.

Hiking brothers

This time, Junior got tired out after walking the length of the lake from the day use picnic area, so I ventured on with Little Bro in my backpack carrier.

It didn’t take long to reach the falls. The first section was just a small water fall next to a somewhat shady bridge.

Little Bro fighting the sleep bug
Bridge with some rotting planks.

A little bit further down, and again through fairly challenging sleep trail with loose dirt, I arrived at another “view point” for the falls. The water drops from a more impressive height but it’s almost completely blocked by vegetation.

Rolley Falls behind the trees

At this point, Little Bro has fallen fast asleep, and being alone on the trail with a heavy backpack, I didn’t want to venture further to complete the loop. I turned back and called it a hike. Judging from other hikers’ photos, there may be some slightly better angles to from which view the falls lower down, but I didn’t think it was worth the trouble and risk.

This trail would have been close to the top of do-ability for our 4 year old

I did take a long exposure shot of the shorter section of the falls to make it look extra nice though!

Rolley Falls

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