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Mt Baldy Lookout Trail

South Shuswap
Distance: 3.3 km (one way to lookout), 7.6 km (return via upper loop)
Difficulty: More Difficult
Duration: 1.5 - 2 hours (to lookout)
Trail Access / Features
Walk / Hike Mountain Biking Snow Shoeing

Trail Notes / Current Conditions:

September 13, 2016: New reroute upgrades just completed, including a new little viewpoint side-spur part way up, a bypass of the old road access from the gravel pit, and an easier final acent to the ridge just before the lookout. See the updated trail description and trail map below. Watch for final signs to come soon! 

Trail Description:

The Mt Baldy trail (built in the fall 2013) is a collaborative project between the Columbia Shuswap Regional District Area C Parks Commission, the Sorrento and Area Community Association, and the Shuswap Trail Alliance. It’s an intermediate walk (3.3 kms uphill) through mixed forests to a great lookout over the lake. A newer 1.7 km upper loop trail was blazed (Summer 2014) and brushed for more adventurous and experienced hikers to explore. And a final addition to a side view part way up the trail was built along with a reroute to the upper ridge (Fall 2016). Combined with the upper loop, the trail to the lookout and back makes a perfect 7.6 km hike through changing forest ecosystems with viewpoint rewards along the way.

The trailhead starts off the east end of the South Shores Place Cul-de-Sac (left accross the railway tracks off Elson Road just past Crannog Ales - yes - THE Crannog Ales, home of the award winning organic beers :-). Follow the trail accross the foot bridge, and watch for orange trail blazes and junction posts along the way. The first section climbs the grassy ridge through Interior Douglas forest to connect to old skid tracks through to the deactivated fire break. Follow the sign posts accross the fire break back into the forest where the new trail meanders and switchbacks climbing steadily. Notice how the forest ecology changes along the way. Two ravines and perennial creeks with boardwalk crossings are navigated, followed by a switchbacking climb before the trail meets up with the upper loop junction. Watch for a short signed side spur trail along the way to a peekaboo viewpoint looking east over the forested mountainside.

From the junction post with the upper loop trail, turn right (north) and continue to watch for marker posts and blazes. This is the more direct route to the Mt Baldy lookout. (Note: you could also turn left at this junction with the upper loop trail as an alternate longer route to the lookout - the trail ends up back at this same point. This description takes the route to the right.) In about 100 meters from the junction post the trail makes a left turn onto an old skid road. Follow the old road ahead as it drops and gradually narrows, crossing another creek, before eventually becoming a single track trail again climbing on the original much older single track foot trail. From this point on, notice as the forest stand diversifies to include mixed Interior Cedar Hemlock, and then pockets of poplar including Trembling Aspen and Cottonwood.

The trail emerges just below the lookout in a beautiful stand of Trembling Aspen - spectacular with brilliant yellow leaves in the fall. Listen for their cheerful chatter in a light breeze. Did you know Trembling Aspen forests are interconnected? Many of the trees will have grown as clones off route suckers connected with each other. Tread lightly staying to the old trail even if a bit wet - this is sensitive wildlife habitat at its most beautiful, and vulnerable. The trail travels along the edge of the Trembling Aspen stand and then makes its way up to the ridge on a new 225 metre section of trail that avoids an old unsustainable route. Trail users are asked to stay to the new reroute to avoid further erosion to this vulnerable pocket ecosystem. 

At the ridge the trail is less aparent, but the route turns to the right (east) at the route post and follows the rocky ridge climbing up a short rocky scramble (use caution and stay to the already impacted tread) and out onto the open knoll with spectacular vistas out over the South Shuswap lake and Copper Island in the distance. Watch your foot placement and stay to rock and mineral surfaces to minimize damage to the sensitive ecology on these unique Shuswap rocky outcrops. And take a moment to acknowledge the significance of these lookout locations within the Secwepemc First Nation Territory in which you stand.

The most direct return route is the same way in reverse. However, for more experienced hikers an additional loop from the ridge post marker travels north along the ridge before dropping down to cross a stream and then curve left (east) through another spectacular Aspen grove. You're following blaze markers on a brushed route that is mostly defined by your gentle footsteps on the soft forest floor. (Watch your step.) The 1.7 km loop addition reconnects with the junction post you were at earlier. From here return down the way you came.

Click here for an updated map.

Access:

Access the Mt Baldy trailhead by driving west of Sorrento on Highway one. Turn south onto Elson Road and drive past the famous Crannog Ales, left over the railway track, and then left on South Shore Place to park in the Cul-de-Sac at the Trailhead Kiosk sign. Please be sure to park allowing plenty of room for others to turn around, and avoid blocking local driveways. The trailhead starts here.

Access Map: Google Map

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