Mount Loki hike
The Mount Loki hike is a classic West Kootenay Hike. Mount Loki is the highest peak seen from many points along the highway between Nelson and Kaslo, and it towers above its neighbouring mountain tops. Snow covered for most of the year, Mount Loki is conquered only in the height of summer and rewards hikers with unbelievable 360 degree views, far removed from the small towns you came from. From up here, Kootenay Lake is barely noticeable, it feels like you are on top of the world.
From Kalso or Nelson head towards Balfour to take the ferry across Kootenay Lake. Once landed on the east side, head north through Riondel and onto the FSR that runs along the north side of Kootenay Lake. From this point you will drive approximately 9.3mi on a dirt road. Pass the parking area for Pebble Beach and continue straight. At around 6.2mi after the pavement ends, you will take a right onto Portman Creek Road. The trail head is badly sign posted and you park on the left side in a small bay. 4WD is usually essential for the last few km’s of the unkept road.
|When to do|
Late July to Early September
Out and back
Route Description for Mount Loki
Before attempting the Mount Loki hike, make sure you have the right vehicle to get to the trailhead. 4WD is essential for the last part of the access road to Mt. Loki.
The Mount Loki hike is a challenging day hike, with steep elevation gains. There is significant amount of scrambling on this hike, and this scrambling comes with exposure and the potential for rockfall. In some areas this route can be very dangerous. While it is listed as a hike, it is technically a scramble.
It is not recommended to take small children on this hike and pets are not allowed as this is grizzly country.
Route finding up Mount Loki is mostly easy enough to follow, the hardest part is when you reach the scramble.
The hike begins through a beautiful forest and meadow in the valley, and the trail goes up with a steady incline. After passing through the meadow you will begin to hike upwards on rocks and dirt until Mt. Loki’s false peak is perfectly placed right in front of you. After this point, you hike along the ridge and forest toward the peak. There are lots of nice places to eat lunch here.
Once you finish hiking through the forest, you will see a huge, steep pile of rocks. There is no set trail up here, although there are some cairns. We recommend heading towards the right to find a route to the top of Mount Loki. The left can take you over very steep cliff drops and while it is possible to do, it feels a lot safer to head for the right.
You will pick your own route up Mount Loki from now on, occasionally coming across faint trails and cairns, as you scramble to the top. It can take around 2 hours to reach the summit of Mt. Loki and about 2/3rds of the way up you will reach the false summit only to see ahead of you another large pile of steep rocks!
Once on the summit of Mount Loki, the views are spectacular, and you’ll end up spending quite a while up here.
The Mount Loki hike is one of the most incredible hikes you can find in the West Kootenays. Remote and fairly untouched, you can experience the outstanding views of epic mountain ranges in every single direction, alpine lakes and spikey peaks almost all to yourself. It is a mountain commonly climbed by locals and you will rarely find tourists up here.
Return the way you came, the way down is usually more difficult than the way up. Poles definitely help with the descent.
Garland Bay Campsite ($12) is one of the most beautiful campsites in British Columbia. Do not miss a chance to enjoy this area (South is for walk in camping and North for RV’s or cars). It is very close to the FSR that leads up to Loki and a perfect place to have a home base for the weekend.
Check weather carefully for this hike, it is always windy at the top regardless of the forecast and can be extremely cold. Scrambling can become dangerous and it is absolutely not advised to complete this hike when it is snowy, wet or has rained over night.
A hiking pole or two is a nice help for the rocks on the way down.
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