Short of a yeti encounter, there is little that could turn the humdrum hike up Exshaw Mountain into a gripping ascent. Most of the route comprises a gentle ramp with little variation. And what scant views there are, are mostly confined to the southwest and even then are strangled by trees as you approach the summit, the very place you expect the best scenery.
Despite the small mountain's drawbacks, however, it's an attractive trip when time is short and snow impedes other objectives. It took us three hours to cover the 3.8-km round trip that climbs to 1783 m.
Dinah and I parked at the Exshaw Creek parking lot, nearly all of which was swallowed up by the June flood waters which have greatly broadened the creek, or at least the creekbed. The footbridge wasn't in service, but we simply walked across the dry creekbed. The trailhead was a few minutes away, accessed from a side street.
The trail starts up the right side of a drainage and soon splits. The path on the right faded fast but it pointed us in the right direction. The only error possible – and we managed to do it – is to stray too far right and miss the ramp. But a short traverse brought us back on track. We tramped to the snow line and then post-holed to the summit of Exshaw Mountain. From the treed summit we could see nothing at all. But the 472-metre elevation gain afforded us some exercise and a peak we hadn't done before.
Exshaw Mountain from the trailhead (click for a larger image)
Starting up the trail. Heart Mountain in the background.
Hiking up the ramp
Looking down at the hamlet of Exshaw. You can see the footbridge in
the centre (mouse over for a close-up).
The ramp follows alongside cliffs on the right
Looking back at Pigeon Mountain in the centre (click for a larger image)
The sun appeared just when we hit deeper snow
The snow here is strangely wrinkled
The grade eases near the summit
Standing next to the summit cairn
Hikes | Canada | Home