Mount Benson Hike Directions (Nanaimo, BC)

Mount Benson Hike Summit
Whiskey Jack

MT Benson Hike Summit

Mount Benson is a popular hiking route in Nanaimo, BC that I have done several times. I like to think of it as the Grouse Grind of Vancouver Island. It is quite challenging and a great workout. It is the tallest mountain in the area, so you get amazing 360 views of the city of Nanaimo, Straight of Georgia, the Coast Mountains and the surrounding mountains behind Mt. Benson. This hike is fairly well signed and easy to navigate as long as you pay attention to the numerous signs. If you don’t feel like hiking all of MT Benson there is a pretty respectable lookout about 1/2 way up!

IMount Benson Hike Summit


  • 8km round trip
  • 730 meter elevation gain
  • 3-5 hours
  • difficult
  • dogs allowed on leash

Mount Benson Hike Summit


The HIke

The trail is quite difficult because you are mainly ascending for 4 straight kilometers. It usually takes us about 3 hours to do the whole hike, but it is always good to give yourself extra time. There are several different starting points and routes to go up, but the one I usually take starts at Witchcraft Lake. This is the official parking lot and where google will take you. There is a large trail map at the beginning of the hike and shortly after you will cross a small bridge that goes over the Lake. There are many paths and different hiking routes up, so you have to be very careful not to make wrong turns on your way up. Most of them will all reach the top, but some are definitely longer than others and many are mountain bike paths that will steer you in directions that won’t ascend up the mountain. The way I like to go is the quickest way up the mountain and the steepest, but it allows for a bit of a loop on the way down.

Witchcraft Lake
Witchcraft Lake

After you pass Witchcraft Lake you will turn right and in about 5 minutes you will see a sign for Mt Benson. You will take this steep route up the mountain and you eventually get to the first view point.  After another half an hour or so you will then reach a logging road and you will turn right and then hang a left up into the tree line again. You will see signs along the way, so just make sure to follow the directions. The trail is mostly hard packed dirt through the trees, but on a rainy day it can get quite muddy. Trekking poles can be helpful on this hike. Make no mistake it is steep and very much a grind.

Mt Benson 1/2 way views
!st view point


Mount Benson Hike Trail Markers
Signs along the way

Mount Benson Hike Trail

After another 45 minutes or so you will then come to a second outlook that almost looks like the summit, but at this point there is still another half an hour or so to go to reach the top.  The last final ascent is really steep, but it is rewarding to finally reach the summit to take in the view. The summit has a small radio tower on top and a Canadian flag.

Mount Benson Hike Summit
Rainy day fog

Mount Benson Hike Summit

Mount Benson Driving Directions

The trail head of Mt. Benson is located at Witchcraft Lake on Bensonview Road.  From Nanaimo you take Jinglepot rd to Kilpatrick rd. Then, you take a right onto Bensonview rd Road and drive to the end where you will see plenty of parking on the side of the road.  There is also a parking lot a little bit down to the right. There is a large trail map at the beginning of the hike. Google maps directions are below.

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