Tag Archives: Coquihalla

Needle Peak, 23 Sep 2017

Chris N. at Needle Peak:
“My old 103 Hikes book says to park at the highway maintenance yard and cross the creek behind the large building there. However, the “No admittance” signs indicate that the authorities don’t want you to do that. Instead, park on the rough pipeline access road where there is room for about 20 cars. To find the trail, walk about 10 m west of the creek crossing. The route is easy to follow. There are many secondary trails on the ridge before the Flatiron / Needle junction but you can’t get lost. After the junction, there are only 2 scramble-y spots. The first is near the top of the first step (visible from the junction and well-flagged) where there is a bit of an overhang at waist level. The second is just before the summit in a little vertical gully with plenty of foot placements. Neither has any exposure. The summit is small and might be nerve-wracking if it’s really windy. Luckily we had no wind at all. On the way up, note the occasional landmark so that you take the correct route down. This seems to be a popular hike – we encountered about 40 people excluding the big school group. The lunch wagon at the rest area at the base closes for the season at the end of September.”

Guanaco Peak, 16 Sep 2017

Jason C. on Guanaco Peak:
“Drove up the Coquihalla Highway and up the Coldwater Road as instructed on 103 Hikes and other various websites. The road itself is decent but for the last 6-8 kms be prepared for dense overgrowth which WILL scratch you vehicle. I ended up parking about 6 kms out from the trailhead but was fortunate to run into another group from Chilliwack who were less concerned with damaging the exterior of their truck. We started by hiking up an old logging road. Make sure to pay attention for a small rock cairn on the ground to the left of the road as we overshot it and ended up getting delayed for 15-20 minutes backtracking. The cairn indicates the trail head off the road, again to the left. Cross a small footbridge and head up the immediately steep trail that is marked by intermittent flagging. The footpath is fairly evident. After steady climbing, we came out into alpine meadows accompanied by the breathtaking views of Vicuna and Guanaco. Continuing up, we eventually reached the saddle of the two and then continued up to Guanaco and take in the views of the various ranges and peaks. I was able get up top and take some pics early as forest fire smoke and haze did eventually begin to amass and obscure the further ranges. All in all a beautiful hike and worth the trip!”

Needle Peak, 23 Aug 2016

Danica on Needle Peak:
“It was a hike of many firsts: my first time organizing a callout, taking part in a Wanderung hike, and hiking in the Coquihalla region. Mike and Bobby answered the last minute callout and after a slow start (note to future organizers: King George Station is a terrible meeting spot as there is limited all day parking nearby), we made it to the trailhead. As per other reports, the highway exit is unmarked. After you go through the tunnel, the exit is right before Yak Peak comes into view. Don’t get distracted or you’ll miss it like we did. The trail is well marked through the forest and up to the base of the summit. There are about 3 scrambling sections to reach the summit. The first required awkwardly ducking beneath an overhang. Coming down the guys did some graceful butt-sliding. We found the UBC VOC instructions to be helpful in navigating the scrambles. Overall a great first Wanderung hike!”

Yak Peak, 23 Aug 2016

Andy G. on Yak Peak:
“Four of us – Tamara, Gary, Xiru, and myself – hopped into my car bright and early, and reached the trailhead in slightly under 2 hours. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the hike but it was far more enjoyable than I’d imagined. It may have Grouse Grind-like stats but it couldn’t be further from the Grind in terms of interest. Gorgeous mid-elevation forest, views, a bit of gentle scrambling, blueberries, marmots, and more views. For sure, the trail *is* steep, and would need care in a few places if wet or snowy/icy.

Despite its imposing appearance, the summit of Yak is quite safe with plenty of space to lounge around for lunch while soaking in the awesome 360-degree vista. Be sure to venture over to a bump on the way to Nak Peak (which we called the Naklet) for a stunning view of the north face of Yak. Despite being a short hike, we took our time and we were reluctant to leave. But the Blue Moose beckoned…!

Thanks to Tamara for organizing – we all had a fantastic day out.”

Yak Peak, 18 Oct 2015

Chris M. on Yak Peak:
“Going straight uphill is more popular than I expected. Six people joined me on tackling Yak Peak. Our 2 vehicles made the trip to the Coquihalla in around 2 hours. There was muted optimism that the thick fog would either lift or that we would get above it. Once on the trail it heads upwards. First through forest. Then a boulder field. Beside a small creek. Between slide alder. And finally out into the alpine. Just past halfway the clouds started to part and beautiful blue sky was revealed. It lasted about 3 minutes. Then it was back to solid fog. (Is that an oxymoron?)

Sayeed, Michelle, Dean, Tu Loan, Markus, Jon, and I chilled on the summit. No views but with good spirits. A casual and fun group. Best line of the day was “Where did all that hair come from?” and having the target person look around behind her to see what was causing all the excitement (she had just taken off her toque). It took us about 2.5 hours to get up and a little less than that to get down. During the descent we stopped to search for a dropped water bottle. The finder received an intimate hug as a reward.

Craving a beer and some food we decided to try Corky’s Irish Pub in Chilliwack. After relaxing for a bit we headed home. All of us thinking of a return trip on a clear day, and include a traverse over to Nak and Thar…”

Needle Peak, 30 Sep 2015

Anita B. on Needle Peak:
“Five of us ventured out to Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area to explore the trail to Needle Peak and Flatiron. Despite the foggy start in Vancouver in the morning the skies cleared up just past Chilliwack. It was a crisp and sunny day on the trails. When we got to Needle Peak the last scramble was a bit of a challenge and only part of the group made it to the peak. After completing Needle Peak we continued to Flatiron which was a quick 40 minute hike to the other ridge. The trail conditions were great and fairly well marked. Beautiful views and we even managed to spot Mt Baker off in the distance. If you head out this way be aware that Exit 217 on Highway 5 is not marked.”

Illal Meadows traverse, 26 Sep 2015

Colleen C. at Illal Meadows:
“In spite of the evidence hitting the windshield on the drive out to the Coquihalla, I remained stubbornly optimistic the clouds would clear and we’d have glorious sunshine all weekend. As it turned out, I was half right and we got to enjoy a snowstorm too!

After a fairly smooth ride along the 20 km of the Tulameen Road and then a deftly driven 3-km up the bumpy Illal Creek road (still waterbarred but less bushy than I remembered) we made it all the way to the trailhead. The 5-km Illal Meadows trail gives straightforward access to the meadows, a lovely area with white rock, heather and tarns, from which one can choose their own adventure (Jim Kelly and Coquihalla Mts are popular objectives).

Just as we made it out of the forest, the wind picked up and cold, swirling white stuff filled the skies. We found a sheltered spot in a tree clump to eat lunch and imagined the views around us – the elusive Illal Unicorn featuring prominently. With next to no visibility, we went another 3 hrs around Illal Peak and NNE along the ridge towards Spiral before finding a suitable camp spot.

We awoke to sunny skies and after a leisurely breakfast continued along the ridge to Spiral (minor scrambling). After lunch on the summit, we wandered back to camp to pack up. Heading back we enjoyed the views we missed the day before. Identifying peaks, marvelling at the fall colours, searching for salamanders, and engaging in serious squirrel discussions, the day went by all too quickly.

Thanks for staying cheerful, sharing snacks and warmth, and maintaining a sense of humour – you all made it a great trip!”

Eagle Mountain, 21 Jun 2015

Bob H. on Eagle Mountain:
“It was a great Summer Solstice hike up Eagle Mountain. We started at the Hickory Avenue Reservoir in Port Moody and made our way up through the cool forest. We reached the tranquil Cypress Lake in 1.5 hours and to the West Rampart viewpoint 1 hour after that. Dennis, Luke and I stopped at the West Rampart viewpoint for a few minutes to take in the beauty of Coquitlam Lake. The trail has been improved since I was there 3 months ago – there are new ropes in a couple of sections to assist in traversing the steep terrain. After hiking through some old growth forest, we arrived at the White Rock viewpoint 30 minutes after leaving West Rampart and stopped to have a bite, soak in the sun and admire the views overlooking Eagle Mountain, such as Vancouver and Mt Baker. The wild blueberries are starting to come out, but won’t be edible for some time yet. We made our descent hooking up with the Halvor Lunden Trail for a bit before heading onto the Coquitlam trails path.”

Cypress Lake

Zoa Peak, 11 Jun 2015

Andy G. on Zoa Peak:
“A lovely mid-week excursion on a fine trail, this hike was nicer than I remembered. Bob and Tec joined me to meander our way up to the summit at a leisurely pace. As we got back to the car we decided to head in to Falls Lake to check it out – pleasant enough though very windy, it added less than half an hour to our trip. We were finished within 5 hours.

The trail was in good condition, though still a little wet at higher elevations where some snow remains. In places the trail is a small running stream, but perfectly manageable with hiking boots. There are a couple of excellent rocks for lunch spots with a great view of Alpaca, Vicuna and Guanaco.

Thankfully there were far fewer bugs than on my last visit a couple of years ago – I got only 3 bites compared with 120 last time! It was quite breezy, which seemed to keep them at bay.

Plenty of flowers out, but I think the best is yet to come. Glacier lilies are probably at peak bloom near the summit (a bit beyond the obvious viewpoint); they’re well past it on the open southerly slopes. Other flowers include (deep breath!): paintbrush, lupine, orange agoseris, valerian, arnica (at least 2 species), columbine, wild strawberry, buttercups, cinquefoil, thistle, marsh marigolds, globeflower, western anemone, rosy twistedstalk, queen’s cup, green bog orchid, phlox, spring beauty, meadowrue, larkspur and a columbia lily or two.

No animal sightings but we did find what we thought was mountain goat wool snagged on the heather, and saw a foot hoof-prints in the mud. The wool was incredibly soft and fine.

Thanks to Bob and Tec for a great day out. Photos from Bob and myself are up on Flickr.”

Zoa Peak, 11 Jun 2015

Cypress Lake, 1 Jan 2015

Stephen H. at Cypress Lake:
“2015 got off to a great start with this New Year’s Day hike to Cypress Lake in Coquitlam. Andrea, Lindsey, Mary, and Susan joined me on the snowy and icy backroads leading up Eagle Ridge from Westwood Plateau. There wasn’t enough of the white stuff for snowshoes, but microspikes were essential. While the minor top of Cypress Mountain proved elusive, the lake was easy enough to find. The day’s scenery included bullet casings, empty beer cans, dirt bikes, lots of drops of blood in the snow, two mountain men with homemade hiking staffs, and a startled grouse.”