Trail to Doctor Creek Cabin and Doctor Lake
0.0 km: From the parking spot continue hiking past the washout. Take the next three left forks. They are small and may be indistinct.
1.0 km: Take left fork for Doctor Creek Cabin, in 200 m. Backtrack the 200 m from the cabin to the junction and hike up the old road. The right fork at the switchback road leads up to a lake and an old mine tunnel site. Continue up the steep rocky road.
1.4 km: Gain 60 m (200 ft.) to the old mining tunnel. The tunnel entrance is fascinating, with two holes branching from the main gallery. Enter the tunnel at your own risk; the rocks are crumbling and the wooden ladder is unstable.
2 km: The left fork heads steeply up to the lake. The right fork is good for the way down, descending from the lake along the creek bank, with some loose rock.
2.7 km: Doctor Lake, N37722-E59314. To complete the loop, follow the trail by the outlet creek (north) downhill.
3.2 km: Ruined cabin and old mine works by creek.
3.6 km: Junction with mine road. Take the old road you hiked up on, back to the parking spot. Entire trip is 5.4 km.
Doctor High Tarn
The road to Doctor High Tarn and the largest Doctor Lake continues west past the 37 km on Doctor Creek Road turnoff for a couple more kilometres. There is parking for vehicles at N41915-E59260. The road eventually breaks down to an ATV track near the headwaters of Doctor Creek. The end of the ATV track is 2 km along the old roadbed, N41056-E55538. Please don’t drive an ATV beyond the end of the road, 2239 m (7,345 ft.).
Doctor High Tarn, N40088-E55108, at 2457 m (8,060 ft.), is a small tarn near the ridgeline in a high alpine basin. Reach the tarn by a moderately steep route up the centre of the valley, involving a short section of easy talus scrambling. From the high tarn, scramble steeply up to the ridge west for a nice ridgewalk northeast for a couple of kilometres toward Doctor Peak.
Largest Doctor Lake
The largest and deepest of the Upper Doctor Lakes, N40892-E57579, is a challenge to hike to, through thick forest and steep, cliff-like slopes. The lake is very scenic and remote and worth the effort, though.
At the beautiful largest Doctor Lake, we searched around for hours and had a hard time finding even a small camping spot somewhere on the steeply sloping sidehills of talus and dense forest. We ended up pitching our small backpacking tent on the edge of the waterfall at the lake outlet.
The tent was tipping down slightly to the tumbling water, but it was on a safe place. Although with the sound of the torrent right beside my head all night, I had various dreams of the tent sliding down the jagged rocks and into the water.