Top of the World is a remote wilderness provincial park tucked deep in the Rocky Mountains. A wide path leads to Fish Lake at the visitor core of the provincial park. It is a busy place to visit, fish or camp. Fish Lake was named because it’s shaped like a little fish. The blue-grey lake is nestled at the bottom of a deep and steep basin among thick forests of pine, spruce and fir.
For rugged alpine hiking, many trails head from Fish Lake up into the nearby mountains and the rolling karst plateau. The park’s plateau is about 2100 m (7,000 ft.) in elevation, and Mount Morro, the highest peak in the park, soars to 2912 m (9,553 ft.). For more information, visit www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/top_world/
Trail to Fish Lake: the visitor core of Top of the World Provincial Park
From the parking lot by the Lussier River, head downhill and cross the bridge. The wide graded trail follows the gently flowing Lussier River most of the way. It takes about 2.5 hours of easy hiking to reach the lake in 6.7 km with an elevation gain of 213 m ( 700 ft). A separate trail for horses is across the Lussier River. Once at the lake, enjoy an easy 2-km walk around the lake.
Fish Lake Campsite
Camping is next to Fish Lake with 16 tenting sites with wastewater pits and pit toilets.
Fish Lake Public Cabin – accommodation
A ranger cabin and public overnight cabin are located near the tranquil shore of Fish Lake. The overnight cabin accommodates 20 people and has bunks, tables and a wood stove. Firewood is not supplied. A fee is charged for overnight use, and space in the cabin is first come first served. The park is remote and offers no supplies.
Karst limestone plateau
Karst limestone is a natural feature created when limestone, which is primarily calcium carbonate, is dissolved by slightly acidic water flowing around semi-porous rock. The acidity comes from water seeping across organic materials, such as grassland or forests. The limestone in the park spans large, flat, pavement-like areas, and due to uneven erosion the land is a jumble of irregular slopes and flat terraces. Interwoven sinkholes, underground channels and small cracks braid the limestone. The surface is safe to walk on, as most of the fissures are small. The larger openings are visible in the bare rock surfaces or are evident gaps on the sidehills.
High-volume springs pour out of the ground from underground channels draining the karst plateau above, Crazy Creek and Crazy River. To see these natural springs, hike from Fish Lake and take the upper half of the horse trail back toward the parking lot. A loop trail branches from the horse trail to the springs. About halfway back to the parking lot on the horse trail, remember to cross the Lussier River at Sayles Meadow on a good footbridge. Otherwise, if hikers stay on the horse trail, there is no bridge toward the parking lot.
Coyote Creek Campsite from Fish Lake
Hike toward Fish Lake, and just before reaching the lake, turn left (east) onto the Coyote Creek trail. Sugarloaf Mountain Trail branches left (north) at 5.6 km and it gains another 300 m (984 ft.) Instead of climbing to the summit, turn north (left) for about 500 m to Coyote Creek Campsite. It is a remote wilderness campsite located by Coyote Creek, on the north side of Sugarloaf Mountain.
The campsite is stuck in the forest and is only worth staying at because it is near the karst plateau, which is helpful for those who are planning to exploring the high country of the park’s eastern side.