South Powell Divide

Types: Hikes & Treks, Summer

Region: British Columbia

South Powell Divide

South Powell Divide traverse is a stunningly beautiful alpine trek through the heart of the coast mountains, high above the Pacific ocean.

South Powell Divide

South Powell Divide traverse is a stunningly beautiful alpine trek through the coast mountains high above the pacific.

The South Powell Divide traverse, as the name implies, traverses the southern half of the beautiful and remote Powel Divide. A route that links a series of alpine ridgelines that separate Powell Lake and Jervis Inlet. Because of how remote this traverse is combined with a few technical sections, it sees very few people despite the stunning beauty, relatively easy travel (despite the lack of a trail) and cool swimming in the abundant lakes. The trek generally stays above 1500m (4900 feet) which may not sound that high but it's in the alpine and makes sense when you consider that the highest peak in the area, Mt. Alfred, is only 2420m tall.

The route starts at Emma Lake with a night at the cabin of the same name. This first casual afternoon is spent swimming and exploring the area around the lake before a good night sleep in the hut. The next morning the hiking starts by heading on to Emerald Valley, a stunning alpine area with three pristine blue-green lakes, before ending the day at yet another lake Lorac Lake. The following morning a short, but a little technical at times, hike deposits us at a tarn (small lake) at the toe of a small glacier and the location of the food cache. As this is a short day it allows lots of time for exploring the area and potentially climbing Overlook Mountain. This evening there's some fresh food for dinner from the cache and maybe even a little wine. The following morning we climb back up to the ridge and follow it along for several kilometers before dropping down to Skwim Lake for the night. This larger lake has some great camping and is ideal for swimming. A lazy start the next morning and we're on our way back down the mountain to our car.

Trip Stats:

  • Start: Emma Lake
  • End: Freda Lake
  • Distance: 21 Km
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 2216m/2585m
  • Nights Out: 3
  • Days Hiking: 4
  • Lakes & Ponds Visited: 8
  • Season: June to September

Trip Outline:

The South Powell Divide typically runs around 3 to 5 days. And while it can be done without any caches all that food can make a backpack uncomfortably heavy. So, with that in mind, we prefer to use a helicopter to drop off some fresh food half way, and maybe a cold beer. That also allows us to fly into the start of the traverse and avoid the long and steep hike up to the start of the trip at Emma Lake and means that you only have to carry few days food at a time greatly reducing the weight of your pack. Of course we can always organize a porter if you want to lighten it even more.

You can combine this trip with the 6-day North Powel Divide and complete the entire traverse in 8 days. Even better, if you book both the North and South Powell Divide Traverses at the same time the total cost is reduced by $1200.

This trip involves camping and everyone is expected to pack their own food and equipment. If you're looking for something a little easier check out our Sunshine Coast Trail trip which runs hut-to-hut along the sunshine coast.

Waiver & Risk Management:

As you know, outdoor activities involve numerous hazards including, but not limited to, avalanches, crevasses, rockfall, slips and falls, equipment failure, poor weather, etc. And while we do our best to anticipate and mitigate these hazards we cannot completely eliminate them. So, as with anything fun, you will be required to sign our Participant Release to take part in one of our courses or trips.

Custom Dates Available

Combine the North & South Powell Divide Traverses and save $1200

Booking Notes:

  • Trips subject to 5% GST.
  • We have a 4×4 available
  • We highly recommend Travel & Medical insurance.
  • Be sure to look over our Booking Policies.
  • Participants will be required to sign a BlackSheep Participant Release

We offer a few different trip options but the most common is the 4 day hike.

  • Day 0: Arrival – fly (or drive) to Powell River and spend the night at a local hotel
  • Day 1: Drive to Freda Lake then fly up to Emma Lake in a helicopter, meet up with the North Powell Divide crew
  • Day 2: Hike from Emma Lake along the ridge to Lorac Lake, just past Danelaw Peak
  • Day 3: A short hike takes us to a lake below a small glacier below Overlook Mountain and our food cache
    • We will have lots of time in left in the afternoon for exploring or climbing Overlook
  • Day 4: Another day traveling the beautiful ridge before dropping down to Freda lake, the waiting vehicle and back to Powell River
  • Departure – catch a flight/ferry home or stick around and enjoy all that Powell River has to offer

Don’t have time for any planning? No worries, we’ll take care of everything! Just catch a flight into Powell River from Vancouver and we take it from there.

South Powell Divide


  • Amazing views
  • Alpine ridge walking
  • Lots of lakes
  • Remote
Types Hikes & Treks, Summer
Region British Columbia
Season June to September
Prices From $1,899.00

Difficulty: Difficulty: Intermediate Intermediate

The trip involves some sections of scrambling on rock slabs and steps. Prior experience with this type of climbing is an asset but not needed.

What's Included

  • ACMG certified guide
  • Backcountry meals
  • Helicopter flight in
  • Group gear

What's Not Included

  • Cost of flight to Powell River
  • Hotels
  • Meals in town
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Personal gear


Experience hiking and remote camping is needed. Scrambling or climbing experience is an asset.

  • BlackSheep Merino Wool Toque (Beanie) $35.00

Activities and Add-Ons for this Course

BlackSheep Merino Wool Toque (Beanie)

A beautiful fleece lined merino wool toque. They come in black and grey though colours are subject to availability.

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