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Hudson Bay Mountain Summit via Crater Lake Trail, Smithers BC

Hudson Bay Mountain Summit via Crater Lake Trail

The Hudson Mountain Summit is one of the most extraordinary viewpoints in Smithers. It’s accessed via the Hudson Bay Mountain Ski Area and allows hikers to walk in the sub-alpine for the entire duration of the trail. Crater Lake and the miles of rolling meadows look unbelievable with the backdrop of magnificent peaks. Better yet, the trail is only about 11km and is a great half day hike option for speedy walkers!

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Remember the Backcountry Basics

The Breakdown

Distance (Round Trip)11.4km
Elevation Gain 1022m
Time (Round Trip)4-6 hours
Dogs Yes
Camping No
Season July-Sep
Difficulty Difficult
Remoteness Moderately Trafficked
Highest Point2589m

 

Driving Directions

Heading North on Highway 16 take a left at the Glacier Toyota onto Tatlow Road. You’re your first right onto Pacific Street a left on Dahlie street, then a final left onto Hudson Bay Mountain Road. The road is gravel and is very well graded in the summertime and is no problem for most vehicles. Drive to the end of the road until you reach the parking lot just before the Prarie T-bar.

 

The Route

There a few paths that you can begin the hike on, don’t worry, they all converge. We decided to walk the road uphill and to the left that passed some of the cabins on the mountain which were pretty fun to see. I believe the proper route is to climb up under the T-bar for about 200 meters and take your first clear left onto the Crater Lake trail. The trail begins as a steep access road and then morphs into your typical well walked packed dirt trail.

Hudson Bay Mountain Summit via Crater Lake Trail

Thanks to the drive up the hike begins in the sub-alpine and you will walk up a beautiful meadow filled hillside with trickling streams and gorgeous mountain views. The 1st kilometer is a tad steeper and then things level out and you are hiking up a very gentle grade until you reach Crater lake at approx. the 3km mark. Crater Lake is magnificent, and I loved the calm water and the rocks behind reflecting beautifully off it’s glass like surface. The vast majority of hikers choose to conclude their journey at Crater Lake  and it’s likely there will only be a handful of people attempting the Hudson Bay mountain summit any given day.

Hudson Bay Mountain Summit via Crater Lake Trail

Hudson Bay Mountain Summit via Crater Lake Trail

Hudson Bay Mountain Summit via Crater Lake Trail

I would recommend hiking this trail in a loop fashion as depicted in the map above. The loop allows you to get a fantastic birdseye view of the lake. If you are hiking in the morning take a few photos of the lake because it will surely get crowded later in the afternoon. Continue around the lake and to the left side. There are some rock cairns to mark your way but we found it more fun to choose our own path. The route becomes very steep and you will be walking on loose rocks until the summit.

Hudson Bay Mountain Summit via Crater Lake Trail

Hudson Bay Mountain Summit via Crater Lake Trail

At the 4.5km mark you will reconnect with the main Hudson Bay Mountain trail ridge. Continue left up the ridge and keep walking, up, up, up. The rocks will continue to be quite loose and there are many different trails winding up the final stretch towards the false summit/final ridge.

Hudson Bay Mountain Summit via Crater Lake Trail

 

When you reach the 5.5km mark you will have a very moderate scramble up to the final ridge. In August we had a fresh dusting of snow near the top and the bowl adjacent to the trail was completely snow covered. We had a very thick cloud covering but thankfully it moved slightly so we could navigate our way to the proper summit. Laura stayed back as I made my way up the 20m final scramble to the summit. Definitely don’t do this if the weather is bad or if you have a fear of heights, but it is quite exhilarating. At the top there is a guest book you can sign in a metal container, so be sure to write something fun. Although we couldn’t see too much up top, it still was a beautiful feeling being higher than the clouds.

Hudson Bay Mountain Summit via Crater Lake Trail

 

Hudson Bay Mountain Summit via Crater Lake Trail
Signing the Guest Book

We enjoyed a lunch at the top waiting long enough for a few clouds to move in and out changing our view a number of times. We followed the same ridge down until we reached the conjunction where we hiked up. Instead of taking a right around the lake, we stayed left on the ridge and hiked down the marked trail until we connected with the Crater Lake Trail. We arrived back at the track in around 4 hours including our break at the top.

Hudson Bay Mountain Summit via Crater Lake Trail

Hudson Bay Mountain Summit via Crater Lake Trail

If you’re in the Smithers area you definitely have to add Crater lake and the Hudson Mountain trail to your itinerary.

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments?

Happy Hiking!

 

 

 

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