I have made up a "Topo/Image Map", with the approx. location of the trails up to Della Falls and Love Lake. Starting from the far end of Great Central Lake the return route took just under 10 hrs.
Click - 'Black star with White dot' to view photo taken from that approximate location.
Great Central Lake / Love Lake turn-off (3 hrs) This section of the trail first starts off following the lakes shore line, it then parallels Drinkwater Creek for a short distance crossing over two small wooden bridges before veering away. After a few km's Drinkwater creek appears again on the left and not long after that is the Margaret Creek campsite. We took a short break here before hike right up a short hill to the bridge crossing, another short climb on the other side before it heads back down again to the main trail. The elevation gain from the lake to this point has been fairly minimal so getting this far in took no time at all. After a few more km's the trail begins to steepen somewhat with flat sections in between. Before we knew it we arrived at the first bridge which crossed Drinkwater Creek. Once on the other side the trail narrowed somewhat and was even a little grown over in spots. "We got spoiled by the road and it's gentle grade I guess" Roughly 1 km up the trail we came across an "Attention Campsite Closure" sign, take the trail to the right. I'm not sure were the trail that goes straight ends up but I've been told it might be a trail up to Della Lake but don't quote me on that. Just after taking the trail right we crossed two short metal railed bridges, they had cables tied in as hand holds. Don't want to fall here during high water as it looks like you would get a darn good tumbling around before the white froth spat you out over a short waterfall "Ouch" ... Know you're footing!!! On the other side the trail turns left and follows the creek up stream a short distance. We then passed by a campsite 2# which is right on the gravel beds of Drinkwater creek. Rumour has it this has been known as not the best place to camp during a good West Coast down pour during high water conditions the creek can rise suddenly and one could be rudely awaking by the sense of a floating sensation. This is not a good thing as just downstream there would be some class 5 water to deal with at these water levels. Once passed the campsite the trail is a little tricky to stay on due to a rock slide, we just looked for the small rock cains and had no problems. After the slide the trail picks up again and starts to gain some good elevation. After hoofing up short hills here and there we crossed over Love creek bridge looking upstream we can see Love creek falls, in high water they can be quite impressive. This last section just before the Mnt Septimus / Love Lake turn-off was fairly relaxing, so if you are wanting to go up to Love Lake make sure to keep your eye out for a sign on you're right side in tree saying "Mnt Septimus Via Love Lake" the trail is fairly obvious but if you're not expecting it or talking up a storm with ya buds at the time you could possibly pass it by.
Della Falls Trail / Love Lake (2.75 hrs return) Next time I do this trail I'll make sure it's not 35 degrees out "Whew!!" The trail first starts off by gently climbing upward through old growth timber before the switchbacks start. Now the trail steepens a bit and the switchbacks give some relief to the grade and this goes on for about 30 min before reaching the base of a large cliff face. Here the trail runs west along the base of the cliff before turning upwards and then breaking out onto a small landing here I could get a good shot of Della Falls. By this time the sun's rays were getting pretty intense and hiking had now slowed to less than a crawl. Now dragging my feet up open timber for another 15 minutes and finally reaching the top of the cliff which we had just walked the base of. The trail now winds back and forth for a bit but make sure to keep you're eyes peeled for a small trail heading off to the left. As this used to be a trail to an old mining shack. Unfortunately the weather has taking it's toll over the years and all that's left now is just the metal pieces eg: Mining parts, Stove, bed frame ect... Leaving the site the trail heads north weaving between rocks bluffs, not far up around the 1200m mark there is a very good viewpoint of the falls and Della Lake. You will know if you're at the right spot if you notice a small plaque in memory of an unlucky fellow who had unfortunately slipped and felled to his death at that very spot. The trail had now disappeared completely sitting under a metre or two of snow so I'm not sure if we followed the trail exactly from here on to Love Lake. First hiking up another rock bluff which gave us even better views of the whole valley. Good enough that we could even see Great Central Lake, and the general location of our starting point just 4.5 hrs prior. Taking a bunch of pictures here for the photo album and the web site before heading off the bluff. Guess we couldn't have been that far off the trail as we came across a small sign in the trees saying "Love Lake ->" I was told this was the Mt Septimus / Love Lake intersection. Go straight to head up to Mt Septimus turn right to head over to the Love lake. It was only a few hundred metres further up to where we could look right down onto Love Lake. Unfortunately it was still frozen so we decided to stop here instead descending a hundred metres or so just to stick our feet in the lake. We got comfortable and sat down for a nice long break hoping to cool down a bit before heading back down to the valley floor.
Love Lake Trail head/ Base of Della Falls (1.5 hrs return) This was a relief from the Love Lake trail for the knees also it was somewhat cooler down in the valley bottom I guess being close to the Falls might have something to do with it. In less than 10 minutes we reached the Della Falls campsite, you'll know when you're there when you see a large round saw blade hanging in the tree with chain dangling from it. Hiking passed the campsite and just a short distance up we crossed the drinkwater creek once more. After that the trail broke out of the forest and crossed along the base of an avalanche run off. From here we were starting to look up Della Falls instead of looking down on them. We could start to really feel the power of the falls as the sounds of thundering water got louder and louder. There was one more bridge that we had to cross which gives awesome views looking up at Della Falls but it was not quite good enough to hike over which was really close to the base of the Falls. The base was only another 10 minutes further up and where wee can stand basically right under one section of the falls and get "Blasted" Oh yea ... by the water I meant.
Love Lake Trail head / Great Central Lake Boat dock (2.75 hrs) The hike back down to the Great Central Lake was fairly uneventful we all kept fairly quite to ourselves except for the odd cry "My Feet are burning up!!!" and me forgetting my ski poles at a creek crossing after a splash on my face and then having to go back and get them. Once back at the boat dock packs were dropped boots taking off and the feet were soaking in the lake even before the refreshment were cracked. I think all the feet were a wee bit warm after 35kms in the hot sun. It was nice to be back after a very hot day up the Drinkwater but the memories of the falls will last me a life time.
How to get there?? To be able to get to the Great Central Lake trail head for Della Falls you will have either have to make arrangements to charter a boat or take you're own boat or canoe the 33 km down the lake. Look for a boat dock on the lakes South side just before all the dead trees that sick out of the water. There is a nice campsite at the far end if you decided to camp before heading up the trail