Trip 149 - September 4, 2018 (Tuesday)
Zoa Peak Trail Hike
Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area near Hope, British Columbia, Canada.
Liked: Easy trailhead access, fairly easy trail, mountain views, valley views, wildflowers, no bugs.
Of Note: Limited parking space, highway noise for much of the trail, several tricky stretches - hiking poles and boots are highly recommended.
Vancouver, Coast & Mountains BC Backroad Mapbook (2nd edition) Coordinates: Page 16 (Coquihalla Summit) E1. The latest edition of Backroad Mapbook for this and other regions, as well as GPS maps, are available for purchase at BackroadMapbooks.com.
Zoa Peak trail is located in Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area, and is the easiest of the nearby trails, from what we have read. Indeed, Zoa Peak is a fairly easy trail, though it does have a few tricky sections. Zoa Peak trail is also relatively short, with about 3.5 hours round trip time. However, the trail starts at the elevation of over 1,200 meters, so thinner air would make you tired faster than at sea level under the same conditions. The views, while not overwhelming, are quite decent, and could be even better, provided the sun is shining in the right direction. An added bonus is that the parking lot for Zoa Peak trail is shared with Falls Lake, so you can do both hiking and fishing on the same day without having to move your vehicle.
1. To get to Zoa Peak trailhead, take Highway 5 (Coquihalla Highway). Here we are Eastbound on Highway 1 by Exit 170 (Hope), and are following the sign to Highway 5 North.
2. Just over 50 kilometers later, take Exit 221 - Falls Lake.
3. Upon taking Exit 221, follow the signs to Falls Lake. You would make a left turn to go under the highway.
4. Here is the tunnel under Highway 5.
5. Upon driving through the tunnel, turn left, and then right.
6. Just over a kilometer later, arrive at the Falls Lake parking lot. There is enough space for about 15 vehicles. There are also several pullouts along the 1 km-long access road, which can accommodate 5-6 vehicles each. The trailhead for both Falls Lake and Zoa Peak trail is seen in the upper middle of the photo below. Coordinates: N 49'36'742 W 121'03'874. Elevation: 1,231 meters.
7. Within a minute, Falls Lake trail makes a left turn, and the lake is about 900 meters away from there. And this is Zoa Peak trail after that split.
8. Less that 400 meters from the start of the trail, turn left at the split seen below.
9. It gets a bit rough after the turn.
10. But, by and large, this is not a difficult trail, and it gets easier very shortly. Beautiful wildflowers too.
11. About 1.4 km after the start of the trail, make another left turn. Coordinates: N 49'37'268 W 121'03'753. Elevation: 1,478 meters. There are currently signs at all the splits so far.
12. View of the trail from the road.
13. If gets tricky here, if for a very short stretch.
14. You then walk through a forest, until this neat rock outcropping.
15. Then it's back into the forest.
16. The trail then enters into a fairly open sub-alpine area, and the views start getting better and better.
17. The valley below looks quite good.
18. Mountain views are very fine as well.
19. The combination of white stones, green vegetation and blue sky is hard to beat.
20. Closer to the end of the trail, there is a short side trail on the left side. Coordinates: N 49'37'602 W 121'05'081. Elevation: 1,769 meters.
21. The sun was shining right at us, thus all the haze, but it's quite an impressive mountain out there.
22. You can get closer, but some stone-hopping would be required.
23. Zooming in.
24. We are back on the main trail, with another neat view straight ahead.
25. Just over two hours after the start, we are at the peak of Zoa. Coordinates: N 49'37'637 W 121'05'457. Elevation: 1,848 meters (617 meters elevation gain from the start of the trail). Total distance traveled: 4.73 km. The rather slow average moving speed of 2.9 km/h (despite a fairly easy trail) has much to do with high elevation at the start of the trail.
26. Here is the view from the top (where a cairn is located).
27. It is possible to walk around for a better view of the mountain seen on the photo above. Here is that better view (slightly zoomed). Coordinates: N 49'37'682 W 121'05'440.
Here is Our Video of the Views From This Location:
28. There is another good view on the opposite side of Zoa Peak. It's starting to be blocked by the trees, but it's a fine view nonetheless. Coordinates: N 49'37'563 W 121'05'503. That's Falls Lake down below on the left side.
The trail is rather easy, the views are rather good, and Zoa Peak trail is, therefore, rather recommended.
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