Crest Mountain, Strathcona Park, Vancouver Island, BC

Crest Mountain is one of the easier alpine hikes in Strathcona Park, although easy is a relative term because any hike there requires a good amount of elevation gain to get above the treeline. The trail is well maintained and climbs in switchbacks that lessen the effort. Crest Mountain is an unremarkable mountain that is more of a plateau than a peak but has great panoramic views. It’s easily done as a day hike but is also a great place to wild camp. There are many tarns on the plateau.

ACCESS

The hike is easy to reach and can be accessed with a regular 2WD vehicle. The trailhead is right on Highway 28. Drive to Campbell River, then head west on Hwy 28 to intersection with Westmin Rd. Turn right to stay on Hwy 28 and continue another 25 km. There is a small pullout on the side of the highway and a trailhead sign.

TRAIL

Round Trip: 10 km, 1240 m elevation gain, 5-6 hours return. Add more time and distance if you want to explore the plateau.

From the trailhead sign, cross a bridge between two lakes and enter forest. Begin gradually ascending before crossing a creek and then begin steadily ascending on well graded switchbacks. The trail climbs steeply for 2.5-3 hours before the trees start to thin out and you pop out on the plateau near a decent sized tarn. From here continue uphill across the plateau to reach the summit. There are some minor trails across the plateau but you pick your own route.

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