Old Glory Mountain via Plewman & Old Glory Trail
If you’re trying to decide where to hike near Rossland, don’t look too far and hard. Just look up!
Old Glory Mountain is the highest peak in the Rossland Range. At 2,377m It towers over the visible surroundings and rewards hikers with unparalleled views of the Monashee mountains, Red Mountain Ski resort, and exhibits the Columbia River meandering through Trail BC and off into the horizon. The fire lookout and remains of the old house at the summit still exist and you are able to get a glimpse into what life was like for the lookout-men and women. Thankfully, the hike up to the alpine is quite short and most of your walking time will be through alpine meadows and rocky ridges with expansive views of the hazy horizon. To make things even better the old Glory Summit can be turned into a loop trail which I will detail in this description.
Remember the Backcountry Basics
- Carry your Survival Kit & Essentials
- Let someone know where you’re going with a Trip Plan
- Know how to avoid negative wildlife encounters
- Practice Leave No Trace to keep the wilderness pristine
- Carry a Satellite Communicator like SPOT X
|Time (Round Trip)||5-7 Hours|
The trailhead is located on the shoulder of Highway 3B roughly 10km from the Rossland visitor centre. It is a fairly large dirt pull off but there is no signage on the highway so make sure to slow down when you get close.
There are a few different ways you can attack this one
Route 1: Plewman up – Old Glory down (Steep up, Gradual Down)
Route 2: Old Glory up, Plewman down (Gradual Up, Steep Down)
Route 3: Plewman out and back (Most Aggressive Elevation Change, Shortest Distance)
Route 4: Old Glory out and back (Most Gradual Elevation Change, Longest Distance)
We prefer loop hikes so it was a no brainer to choose a loop route. We followed “Route 1” attacking the steep Plewman ascent first and finishing off with a more relaxed descent down the Old Glory Trail.
From the dirt parking lot you will see a trail heading off into the trees. There is a trail description/map of the area allowing you to get even more familiar with your planned route. Take the Plewman trail which heads to the right. The first 600m are completely flat and stay relatively close to the highway. You will come to a fork, stay left and get ready to begin the steep ascent. The Plewman trail climbs quite aggressively through the forest. You will gain approx. 700m elevation in 4km. At the 3km mark you will be nearing the sub-alpine and the trees will gradually begin to spread allowing for the beginning of the views.
You will reach a fork at the 4.8km mark where the Plewman trail meets with the 7 summits trail. At this point you are going to have beautiful views of the surrounding area and it will be very easy to see the Old Glory Fire Lookout perched upon the mountain. Continue along the 7 summits trail for about 100m until you reach another junction. At this point you are going to take a right and follow the Old Glory trail for a short downhill stint before heading up to the summit.
After 2.7km on the Old Glory trail and 300m more elevation gain you will be able to set your feet on the summit. This section of the trail was my favourite part. The ridge line is beautiful. There are sparse wildflower patches, gorgeous rocks and naked rolling hills in the horizon as far as the eyes can see.
When nearing the summit of Old Glory the foundations of old buildings will come into sight. Make sure to take a peek inside because there are some artifacts like household remains, a cook stove and a super old manual washing machine. This used to be the residence of the fire lookout-men and their families. The building atop the mountain is the old fire lookout station. Some of the original observation equipment and appliances are still inside. There are also many plaques on the walls recounting the lookout men and some of their experiences which are a fascinating read. The view from the windows of the lookout are the best on the summit so make sure to hang out in there for a little while. The uphill journey to the summit took us about 3 hours total.
It was July, so of course the black-flies were relentless. Fortunately, the fire lookout acted as protection allowing us to sit down and enjoy lunch and the views. We spent about 30 minutes hanging out in the lookout before heading down. Sometimes I get pretty eager when I’m hiking up and forget to turn my eyes and look behind. Hiking down from the summit enabled me to witness some of the unbelievable views that I missed on the way up.
Follow the Old Glory trail back down until you reach the confluence with the seven summits trail. Instead of turning back to the left where you came, follow the 7 summits trail to your right for 3.6 kilometers until you reach an opening in the forest and a fork in the road. You will see a sign warning you that the trail is overgrown and to use the Plewman trail instead. Don’t worry about this, the trail is very easy to follow, not overgrown, and there are only a few logs you have to go over, under and around. Follow this trail for another 3km and you will arrive back at your vehicle.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments?