This week I have the good fortune to be dog & house sitting near the city of Vernon, in the Okanagan Valley. My friend’s two magnificent mutts are awesome hikers, and enjoy being out on the trail for a couple hours at a time (and they have their own Instagram account!) So far this week I’ve explored some of the nearby trails.
Today, with sun in the forecast, I planned to go a little further afield. On one of my earlier hikes this week I had spotted a rocky mountain in the distance. I learned that it was called Blue Nose Mountain and made it my destination.
Hike Name: Blue Nose Mountain
Date: Tuesday November 29
Location: Lumby, BC
Approx. drive time from home: 30 minutes
Distance: 3 mi. / 5 km
Elevation gain: 660 ft / 200 m
Max. elevation: 3980 ft / 1213 m
Time on trail: 2 hours
Directions to the trailhead were easy to follow. The road turned to gravel for the last 4 kms and there was a light covering of snow on the sides of the road. I was doubly glad that I had packed extra layers to counteract the cold weather.
I was the only car in the parking lot but I wasn’t too surprised. It’s a Tuesday after all, and sort of an in-between time of year as everyone waits for the first snowfall in the valley to get their snowshoes out.
Looking up from the parking lot I could see the rocky backside of the first summit that we would climb to, about 300 feet up.
The dogs and I hit the trail, climbing steadily up a number of switchbacks to reach a notch. The trail was well signed and directed me left for the First Summit Viewpoint. It didn’t disappoint and the dogs particularly enjoyed frolicking in the touch of fresh snow.
We headed back to the viewpoint junction and followed the trail through the notch. It wound through the forest, clambering over a forested middle summit and then dropping to the base of the third summit. From there it was a series of steady switchbacks and then a short rocky path to the peak. The view was phenomenal. We were sitting high above the valley and surrounded by rolling hills and mountains.
From the top of the third summit, the trail drops down to the south-east, following a ridgeline before switchbacking down to the forest floor. The trail signs were all very clear and the trail itself in great condition. It’s designed as a one-way route, with arrows indicating a clockwise trip.
The last kilometre was an easy rolling grade through larch and fir forest. The carpet of yellow needles was a surprisingly colourful addition to the hike. I also appreciated the brief turnoff to visit a couple of old-growth larch trees.
The trail checked off nearly everything on my list of what makes a perfect moderate trail:
- It was a moderate distance, not too long and not too short
- It was a loop trail, which means you’re always seeing something new
- It had good changes in elevation, enough to give you a cardio workout but not overly strenuous
- The trail was well-marked and well-maintained
- It had two separate destinations (summits) with great views
- It had a variety of trees and forest passages to enjoy
- It wasn’t busy (in fact I didn’t see another person at all!)
- I had fun and adventurous hiking companions
If ever you find yourself in the Vernon area, I highly recommend hiking Blue Nose Mountain trail. With the excellent trail markers it’s doable all year round, whether on foot or on snowshoes!