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Family Outdoor Adventure on Vancouver Island » Blogs » Summiting Mt. Becher Adventure Guide

  • Summiting Mt. Becher Adventure Guide

     

    Adventure at a glance:

     

    Distance – approximately 11km round trip
    Time – not recommended for little adventurers, full day for our family/those with kids aprox. 7-12, 4-5 hours for seasoned adventurers or those with

    teenagers and beyond
    Difficulty – moderate with challenging sections for most (challenging for most kids under 10)
    Highlights –well established trail, fabulous views of the Comox Glacier, coast mountains, Comox glacier & more, interesting alpine forest, official summit as a “destination”

     

    One of the most accessible and family friendly true “summit” hikes on Vancouver Island has got to be Mt Becher. While challenging in sections, and probably not suitable for very small adventurers (unless they are young enough to be carried in a back-pack style child carrier), we feel that the effort is well worth the ample reward of incredible views, beautiful alpine terrain, and the incomparable satisfaction of hiking “all the way to the top”! We have done many, many hikes all over the Island, and this is one adventure that our boys still remember fondly and often recall their excitement in finding the official summit marker, as well as the fun they had sliding on the snow patches we came across (even though it was a very hot day in August). If you are hiking with a reasonably physically fit party over the age of 10, don’t mind exerting some effort, and have a full day to devote to a hike, we would highly recommend this adventure! It can be done year round as well, and is a popular snow shoe route during the winter (although we have yet to experience it in that season).

     

     

    For those adventuring with four-legged, furry family members in tow - we have found that dogs that can typically behave off leash have no problems here, but as with most parts of Vancouver Island, owners need to be aware that there is the possibility to encounter wildlife (including cougars and bears) in addition to other hikers and their pets, so please use your own discretion. Also, the route is long and access to creeks & streams suitable for a drink can be intermittent, so pack extra water & a drinking vessel for your pets!

     

     

    The jump off point that we used for this trip is at the base of the old, abandoned “Wood Mountain” ski lodge near Courtenay. To access this route, approach on Highway 19, turn off at the Piercy Road exit (# 127) and drive aprox 1km towards Courtenay. Turn right onto Forbidden Plateau Rd., then drive back over the highway and proceed aprox 15km up to the remains of the old ski lodge. The first 7-8 km of the road is paved and the rest is gravel, but we had no issues safely navigating the road. When you reach the lodge (which is burnt out and not safe to enter – although there is some cool grafitti), you will find ample parking and see the remains of the chair-lift still standing on the hill, so there will be no doubt you are in the right place! While this may not be the most picturesque place to begin your hike, before long, you will be well on your way to much more wild and beautiful sights.

     

     

     

    As you set out on the trail, which originates to the right of the abandoned lodge, you will immediately begin climbing up the old ski hill – the route is quite obvious, but when in doubt, look for flagging, and up you go! This section of the trail is steep, and definitely a workout for almost anyone, but don’t be discouraged – it doesn’t last long!

     

     

    After about 15 minutes of climbing, you will reach another burnt out old building, which is a good place to take a breather and a drink, and you can already begin to reap the rewards of your efforts, as expansive views present themselves behind you.

     

     

     After a little more climbing, the trail will curve right under the chairlift, at which point the incline becomes much more relaxed. There are often beautiful wildflowers along this section of the trail as well during the summer months.

     

     

    You will continue on through some beautiful subalpine forest, passing a couple of gorgeous little ponds, any of which would make a great spot for a break and a quick drink or snack.

     

     

    Soon after, you will reach the marked boundary for Strathcona Provincial Park, and some very informative signage that outlines several different hikes that can be accessed from this area. The trail then continues up a rocky section that presents some uneven footing, but nothing too difficult as long as you are paying attention.

     

     

    Before long you will reach a junction with a tree covered in directional signs (and a reminder not to be a litterbug!). Follow the sign for Mt. Becher and you will be on the right path.

     

     
    As the trail continues on, you will encounter another steep section, with very “rooty” portions as well. Younger adventurers may find it helpful to scramble up some of this portion of the trail (as our boys did!).

     
    Once you emerge from the dense forest the trail will level off a little, and take you through some beautiful meadows. One of our favorite features of this adventure is that the natural undulation of the trail seems to provide rest & reprieve from the incline after each steep section, and this area is a welcome example of that!

    Some exploring here will also lead you to an old campsite, complete with a fire pit, which is stamped “1933”. This is a good place for another rest and refuel for the final push to the summit!

    Another fabulous feature of this aventure is that there are definitely no shortage of signs on this trail to keep you on track, and they also help to keep morale high for younger adventurers who may be experiencing tired legs by this point.

    Soon you will come upon another steep, rocky section, with the rewarding bonus of more sweeping views behind you. It really starts to become obvious how high up your adventure has taken you so far, as the terrain becomes increasingly alpine in nature, and we loved paying attention to the unique plant-life, lichens, and rock formations we found.

    Shortly before you reach the final section of the trail, you will encounter an idyllic little creek, which is another great spot for a rest (and a drink for your four legged adventurers!).

    You will then emerge from the trees, revealing breathtaking views of the valley below, and during most parts of the year, there is a good chance you will encounter some snow – which can be especially fun for younger adventurers! Follow the frequent rock pile trail markers, and make your way to the summit!

    The official summit of Mt Becher is easy to find and marked with the standard style of marker, but we found it is still an exciting discovery for the young adventurers among you. It provides an incredible location for some photos to mark your accomplishment, and views in every direction of the Comox Glacier, coast mountains, Mt. Arrowsmith, Comox Lake, Georgia straight, Forbidden Plateau and the Gulf Islands.

     Another nice characteristic of this summit is that it is quite wide and flat, so there is lots of room to settle in for an extended break or picnic before you begin the journey back down. We loved the little pond with the cairn on a rock bordered by the water, and chose that as our lunch spot!

    After you have had your fill of exploring the summit and taking in the views, you can head back the way you came, enjoying a whole new perspective of the same trail. For our family, hiking at a casual pace with stops included to take photos, inspect exciting or interesting discoveries, soak up the glorious views and several lunch/snack and water breaks, we were back at our vehicle about seven hours after we had departed. We consider this to be a full day hike, although adventure parties with older children (or none at all) could certainly complete the journey in less time. The round trip distance, according to our GPS, was just under 11km’s. Definitely not a small feat, but we feel confident that this adventure is worth the effort, and will provide you with wonderful memories, beautiful photos, and a greater appreciation for the astounding natural beauty present here on Vancouver Island.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


     

     

     

     

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