There is no cellphone reception along this trail except in a stretch along the east shore of the lake where the trail rises to its highest point above the lake. Other parts of the trail may give cell coverage if you climb up off the trail for 100 – 600 meters uphill.
To access the Morte Lake Trail drive north from Heriot Bay for ten minutes to the Walcan Road which runs off on the left and is signposted with the blue Walcan sign. The Walcan Road is a dirt road but has heavy trucks and considerable traffic using it at times. After turning down the Walcan Road drive for about a kilometer until you see the sign saying ‘Morte Lake Trail’ on your right, as in photo below.
Turn into the car-park and park your car here. The trail begins here and takes you up a gentle gradient along an old logging track.
Above, the trails sign in the Morte Lake Parking Lot.
After five minutes or so you will pass a side-trail going up to the right and this short trail climbs steeply and goes to the Beeches Mountain Trail and to the Chinese Mountains Trail car-park. The Morte Lake Trail continues on past this turnoff and takes about 45 minutes from its car-park to the lake. Near the lake the trail forks left and right, and either branch will take you around the lake and back to that fork, then back to your car via the trail you came in on. From that fork you can see the lake and if you take the right branch of the trail it will take you quickly down to a sandy beach, popular with swimmers, picnickers, and campers. At the far end of the lake is a picnic table and campsite, also popular with swimmers and campers. There are a few uphill and downhill sections along this trail but nothing very steep or very long. It is a popular trail for mountain-bikers, and leaving the main trail are a few side-trails made specifically for rugged biking.
The lake setting is serene and the Morte Lake Trail is one of the most popular trails on Quadra. People of all ages walk this trail, from all over the world, even if only to the lake and back and not the circuit of the lake. The average person can can walk from car-park to the lake in 40 minutes, and then around the lake in an hour-and-a-half more, then back to the car in a further 40 minutes, making it a good three-hour hike. A fit hiker under 65 can walk to the lake, walk around the circuit and back to the car-park in two hours.
At the northwest shore of the lake the Mud Lake Trail joins the main trail. The Mud Lake Trail will take you back to the Walcan Road to a point about five minutes’ walk east along the road from your car in the Morte Lake Trail carpark.
As you walk along the western shore of Morte Lake you will probably want to sidetrack and hike the signposted short lookout side-trail.
There are small trout and beaver in Morte Lake, and varied waterfowl may be seen here. At night here, don’t be surprised to hear wolves howling, especially during winter when fewer people are around the lake. There is also a rear entrance to this trail on the western edge of the lake, and this involves driving a few kilometers past the Morte Lake Trail carpark, past Mud Lake, and taking the first turnoff on the right, at the quarry. Drive down the logging road until you reach a side-road on your right. signposted ‘Q-80′. Take this road and then take the third road on the right off Q-80. This road is signposted “To Morte Lake’. Within a half kilometer this rough road ends at a locked steel gate. Park about 100 meters back from this gate. Walk around the gate and the lake is another five minutes’ walk down this old road.
There is a picnic table at the far side (north side) of Morte Lake, where people camp out and go swimming. There is also a good camping (sandy) beach in the southeast corner of the lake, near where the trail forks to go around each side of the lake, as mentioned above.
At the far side of the lake is a side-trail which takes you to Maude Island, beside Seymour Narrows. Another side-trail takes you to Mud Lake and the Walcan Road. Near the Morte Lake car-park is another side-trail off the Morte Lake Trail which takes you to the Beeches Mountain Trail and to the Chinese Mountains Trail car-park.
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