With the paper edition of Backroad Mapbook promising "impressive views
of the surrounding plateau", we went for this trail despite the same
publication warning of possible access issues due to the military
training activities. We did run into military checkpoints, but were let
through, as our route and destination were in the opposite direction of
the restricted area where live firing was taking place.
The GPS version of Backroad Mapbook, just like the paper counterpart, only
indicated the trailhead for The Dome, which is at the beginning of a rather long
forest service road. It was then up to us to figure out exactly which way to go.
While the general direction was obvious (head straight and then turn right at
some point), we spent over an hour looking all over the place for the correct
turn, due to numerous right turns without any marks of any kind indicating the
way to The Dome. Finally, we found what we were looking for, and here is our
1. We are in Williams Lake, northbound on Highway
97, getting ready to turn left onto Highway 20.
BC Highway 97 North in Williams Lake British Columbia Canada
2. Now westbound on Highway 20. For more information
on this highway, check out our
Highway 20 trip
BC Highway 20 West near Williams Lake BC Canada
3. Approximately 47.5 kilometers from the Highway 97
/ Highway 20 junction in Williams Lake, turn right onto Stack Valley
Coordinates: N 51⁰58.104' W
BC Highway 20 West at Stack Valley Road turnoff British Columbia Canada
4. View of Stack Valley Road immediately after the
turn. Zero your odometer at this point.
Stack Valley Road near Williams Lake BC Canada
5. Stack Valley Road turns into gravel 1.5 km later,
but it's a fairly smooth ride.
Stack Valley Road off BC Highway 20 near Williams Lake BC Canada
6. As you are driving through the Canadian military
training area, don't be surprised to see a checkpoint. We explained
where we were going, and were let through, as the live firing exercise
was being held
in the opposite direction of our planned hike.
Canadian Military Checkpoint on Stack Valley Road near Williams Lake BC
7. Take the road on the right at the 10.8 km split.
Stack Valley Road near Williams Lake BC Canada
8. Approximately 14.2 km after turning onto Stack
Valley Road from Highway 20, a road on the left is where our Backroad
Mapbook GPS software marked as the The Dome trailhead. Unlike on all
the previous occasions, there was no actual trail marked in the GPS - just
the trailhead. Coordinates: N 52⁰04.539' W
122⁰34.341'. Elevation: 1,043 meters. Zero your odometer again after
making this turn. By the way, you can make it in a low-clearance 2WD
vehicle up to this point, but may wish to hike the rest of the way,
unless you have a high-clearance vehicle (2WD should be sufficient, if
the road is dry).
Stack Valley Road at Dome Road Turnoff near Williams Lake British
9. On the way back, we found one and only indication
that this was the correct turn - "Dome Road" was marked on a piece of
wood at the beginning of the road on the very left side. There was also
some flagging tape there, but flagging tape on back roads may mean lots
of different things.
The Dome Road off Stack Valley Road near Williams Lake BC Canada
10. Here is a really tricky part of the trip -
3.5 km after turning onto
Dome Road, there is this inconspicuous right turn, followed by a very
prominent right turn a mere 100 meters later. Guess which right turn we
thought was the correct one? Nonetheless, it's this grass-covered turn
you need to take to get to The Dome.
The Dome Road near Williams Lake British Columbia
11. The view of the road you need to turn into.
The Dome Road / Trail near Williams Lake BC Canada
12. And this is the wrong right turn 100 meters
13. Once you take the grass-covered right turn,
finding the rest of the trail is easy. Turn left at the T-junction 800
14. The view of the road after turning left. After
that, there are no more splits, and you can drive as far as your vehicle
will take you based on the road conditions (the last 650 meters are
quite steep, with loose surface, and can only be tackled by capable
15. Speaking of The Dome, the best view of it that we
got was from one of the wrong right turns.
View of The Dome near Williams Lake British Columbia Canada
16. Meanwhile, having turned left at the T-junction,
you are less than 3 km away from the top of The Dome.
The Road to The Dome near Williams Lake in the Province of British
17. We were able to drive in our high-clearance 2WD
vehicle for 1.5 kilometers after the T-junction, before the road became too
steep and loose.
Road to The Dome near Williams Lake BC
18. So, we parked, and hiked for 15 minutes to the
top. Almost there.
Williams Lake Hiking - The Dome Trail
19. And now we are on top of The Dome, at the elevation
of 1,374 meters, with the remnants of what was likely a fire lookout tower
Top of The Dome near Williams Lake BC Canada
20. And here are the promised panoramic plateau
View from The Dome - Hike in Williams Lake BC Canada Area
21. Nothing too overwhelming, but not too shabby
Plateau View from The Dome near Williams Lake BC Canada
22. Going towards the other side.
British Columbia Hiking
23. Slightly less impressive, though still good.
View from The Dome near Williams Lake in the Province of British
24. And here is a panorama.
Hike in BC - Panoramic View from The Dome near Williams Lake
Thus, The Dome trail turned into The Dome drive, with
the biggest adventure being finding the right road. If you are in the
area and want to see fine plateau views (sunsets figure to be quite
The Dome is where it's at.
ihikebc.com -> 135 The
Dome Trail Hike (in the general vicinity of Williams Lake BC)