Mount Arrowsmith-Judges Route (Port Alberni, BC)

I did this hike back in August 2014, with my boyfriend and his friends Ryan and Fred. It felt really really hard at the time, but I think it was mainly because I had just started hiking. That being said, the hike is only 3km to the summit but it’s really steep. The elevation gain hits you the whole time, and there are barely any flat sections.
The summit
  • difficult
  • 1,819 m elevation terrain map
  • 1000m elevation gain
  • 6km round trip
  • 5-7 hours
  • scramble/shale

        The trail head is pretty difficult for an average hiker because there is a lot of loose shale and steep exposed areas. Going down was pretty brutal on the knees as well, so walking poles would be really helpful.

Ryan and Pat- almost at the top

There are several routes to take on Arrowsmith, but Judges Route is the only one you can take to get to the summit without mountaineering. Additionally, there is also a Saddle Trail that is pretty popular as well, that is shorter but will not obviously take you to the top.The trail starts out going through the forest but it is really well marked. You will then go through a small valley between 2 large peaks, and at the end of the valley you will head right. There is a radio tower and helipad close to the summit, but from there is is a short distance up to the summit where you will find more communication towers.



Mount Arrowsmith is the highest mountain on the southern portion of Vancouver Island, so there is a gorgeous 360 degree view at the summit and you can actually see both coasts!  You  will also be able to see the Alberni Valley, the southern mountains in Strathcona, the Coastal Mountains and the east and west coast of the island. There is a time capsule at the summit as well, which was pretty neat. It took us about 2.5 hours to get to the top, but it was definitely a grind. 214


Follow Highway 4, east of Port Alberni  and turn left on the logging road that is named Arrowsmith Ski Area (Loon Lake Main). Note, this road is not paved, so you might not want to bring a small car. After 2-3kms turn left onto Cameron Main and follow this logging road for about 10km, looking for a sign that says Mt. Arrowsmith, where you will take a left.  This road goes up to the old ski area. Look for the 4th branch on your right hand side (about 3kms up), which has a good spot to pull over and park immediately afterwards on your left. There will be a large boulder on the right where the trail starts.


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