Hamill Creek / Earl Grey Pass (Trip 5, page 59, Where Locals Hike in the West Kootenay) is in prime condition. Though a wildfire ravaged the lower reaches of Hamill Creek Valley in 2007, the entire trail is now open: starting near Argenta (northeast shore of Kootenay), following Hamill Creek upstream, crossing the Purcell Mountains at Earl Grey Pass, then descending along Toby Creek on the east side of the range.
All the cable-car crossings of Hamill Creek are again in good working order. The campsites are intact. The grove of giant cedars was untouched by the fire. And the trail has recently been cleared of brush and deadfall. You will enter a burned forest soon after departing the west (Argenta) trailhead, but persevere. That’s not the state of the forest the entire way.
This is the premier long-distance trail in the West Kootenay. We encourage you to hike it now, while conditions are optimal.
While you’re in the vicinity, we also enthusiastically recommend dayhiking Fry Creek (Trip 42). This short but spectacular trail starts in the nearby settlement of Johnsons Landing.