Kings Peak

In early June 2015, a few friends and I did an overnight trip up to Kings Peak in Strathcona Park. Kings Peak had been on my list for a long time and I had heard a lot great things about it, so I was stoked to finally get up there, especially since the weather forecast was looking good. It did not disappoint and had a bit of everything; old growth forest, waterfalls, an alpine meadow, a great ridge walk, and a panoramic view from the summit. It’s now one of my favourite hikes in Strathcona Park.

Most people seem to camp in the alpine meadows but we pushed on upwards and ended up wild camping on Queens Ridge, a bare rounded summit just below Kings Peak. It turned out being the perfect campsite with stunning views of the surrounding mountains, a few spots big flat enough for a tent, no bugs, and a convenient little tarn for a water source. A bit of grind to get up there but definitely worth it!

ACCESS

The hike is easy to reach and can be accessed with a regular 2WD vehicle. It’s right off Highway 28 and only has a short 1km section of flat, gravel road with a few potholes. 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 19 km. Just before a small bridge crossing the Elk River, turn left onto a gravel road (there should be a small sign saying Kings Peak). Follow this road about 1 km to the trailhead parking lot.

TRAIL

A big tree in a section of old growth forest on the Kings Peak trail.

From the trailhead parking lot, the trail passes through some forest and soon reaches a power line. Briefly follow the powerline to the right until you reach a sign saying “Kings Peak” and turn left into more forest. You will soon cross a bridge over a creek and enter into old growth forest and get treated to some massive trees along the trail. The trail then steepens and begins a long, grinding ascent to an alpine basin, passing several waterfalls along the way.

Stopping to filter some water at one of the waterfalls on the way up.
Stopping to filter some water at one of the waterfalls on the way up.

The alpine basin sits in a bowl cut by a several creeks melting off the glaciers stubbornly clinging to the north side of Kings Peak. There are some good camping spots but limited views and a bit claustophobic with Kings Peak and Queens Ridge looming above, so we decided to push on up to the ridge and see if we could find a spot with nice views.  It’s a steep climb up through a rocky cleft to gain the ridge, with lots of loose rock. Once on the ridge and above the tree line, the views open up to the west and north. We stopped here for a lunch break and then pressed on. The trail then goes up and over a round outcrop on the ridge and contours below Queens Ridge, with nice views up the Elk River Valley to the big peak of Mt Colonel Foster and Rambler Peak and then Elkhorn suddenly appears looming close by. A gully of loose is reached that takes you up to Queens Ridge, where there are some flat spots to pitch tents on the rocks and a tiny tarn for a water source. From here Kings Peak is visible just above. Walk another 10 minutes to the pass between Kings Peak and Queens Ridge and then follow the trail up to the summit of Kings Peak, where there is an amazing panoramic view.

 

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