Andy G. on Brandywine Mountain:
“Brandywine has quickly become one of my favourite summits. It’s a great mix of easy hiking and more challenging boulder-hopping with some steep terrain and a bit of route-finding thrown in for good measure. And then there are the stunning views. Mountains, glaciers, meadows, lakes… Definitely a hike to save for a sunny day.
The new trail into the meadows still has a muddy spot or two but it’s a massive improvement on the old trail. We were in the upper meadows within an hour or so. Beyond that there is an intermittent trail and cairns for guidance up to the ridge. More cairns point the way up to the higher part of the ridge, although they run out a couple of hundred metres short of the summit, which is where the route-finding comes it as the summit can’t be seen at this point. The summit itself is a small bump on top of a bigger bump, big enough for our group to find (un)comfy rocks to sit on to enjoy lunch.
The road to the upper parking lot is very rough and steep in places: our CR-V struggled in a couple of spots with a full load of 5 hikers. A vehicle with some clearance is a good idea as the bumpy road causes the vehicle to bounce quite a bit. A Subaru Outback made it up OK though. Budget about half an hour for the logging road.
Car-to-car was almost exactly 8 hours (we were leaving the meadows just as the sun set). We finished the day with a quick bite at the Howe Sound Brew Pub before heading home. Thanks to Sarah, Simon, Anna, and Janavie for joining me and making it such a great day out.”
Chris M. on Brandywine Mountain:
“The combination of easy access and nice alpine makes Brandywine a good last-minute weekend destination. My Xterra made it to the 4wd parking area with no problems. The trail through the meadows has been upgraded and now there is very little mud. We left the valley before the end went south up to the ridge where we scouted out camping locations. From our vantage it was fun to watch different groups take various routes up the mountain. They all looked like coloured ants. In the evening we made a good firepit and soaked in the superb star show.
We didn’t rush in the morning but we were still easily the first people up to the summit on Sunday. We didn’t have to cross any snow and the views were fabulous. When we returned to camp we took a siesta before packing up and taking a slightly different route back down. Our travel time between parking and camping was around 2 hours, both ways,
Paul, Amy & Liam all had a similar desire for a relaxing but satisfying alpine trip, which made for a perfect group experience. The warm sunny weather was fantastic; especially for October.”
Esther on Brandywine Mountain:
“We had a hard time driving to the trailhead. Shortly after turning left off Hwy 99, vehicles should make a sharp left turn on to an unpaved road towards “Brandywine Valley” upon reaching the junction where the paved road continues on the right to Callaghan Valley Ski Area. On the unpaved road, we passed a factory and then a big dusty parking lot before reaching a billboard. After that, the road branches were usually blocked off. We could have followed the main road until the junctions that 103 Hikes and Scrambles of SW BC mention, if the road hadn’t been so bumpy and steep in parts that we thought we had to be lost. One of the vehicles had to park half-way up. Our other vehicle (4WD) relayed the stranded half of the group to the trailhead. 2WD vehicles will need good clearance to make it almost to the trailhead.
We hiked from noon to 8:30pm. The approach to the meadows was steep, muddy, and well-marked. There was no snow in the meadows, but there was way more mud and mosquitoes then the wildflowers that were just starting to bloom. Hello gaiters!
After crossing the meadows and small streams, we hiked up a big snow patch over the scree below the ridge leading to Brandywine Mountain. The route was probably further left of this snow patch. We then followed the ridge to the top of Brandywine Mountain, over a little scree, a nice dirt path, a little snow, and big boulders. Amazing views when clouds moved aside briefly.
We returned along the ridge to the big snow face and slid down it for 30 minutes. Then we hiked back fast because the mosquito army was bombarding us full on.
Out at 8:30 pm, then we relayed people to the stranded car, and finally rolled into the Watershed Cafe for dinner at 9:40 pm. Long day, but what a great group!”
Chris M. on Brandywine Mountain:
“The 4×4 access road was snow free, unlike the top part of the trail. Glad to have bypassed it. We followed the last branch and quickly entered the meadows. Except for the creek, it is still covered in snow. A collaborative effort in route-finding got us up to the ridge where we set up camp. A site meant for the gods – the views in all directions were fantastic, especially since we seemed to be in a pocket of blue sky. We camped on snow, but rock outcroppings provided a nice place to relax and eat. We went for the peak in the morning with 3 of us reaching the 2213-m summit. Fairly easy scrambling involved. Easy descent and nice drive back to Vancouver by 3 pm. Thanks to Erin, Dorothy and Stacey for making this an excellent experience.”