Yak Peak is, arguably, the most recognizable mountain on the side of BC
Highway 5 (Coquihalla) North of
Hope and South of
Merritt. It is a very steep trail, with some sections requiring
scrambling more than hiking, and one has to hike up (and then down) a
boulder field of several hundred meters long. This is definitely not a
trail for novice hikers, and may not be a good trail to hike at all, if
the ground is wet or icy. The noise from Highway 5, with numerous large
trucks using engine brakes, makes it for a much less serene hike than
desirable. That said, the views from this trail are great, and get
better and better the higher you climb. Another point to note is that
this is a high altitude trail, and oxygen shortage is quite obvious, so
going does get tough as the altitude increases, especially when you
tackle the steepest parts of the trail.
1. To get to Yak Peak trail from Vancouver, take Highway 1 East, and
then Highway 5 North (Coquihalla), which starts near Hope. Here is the view of Yak
Peak from Highway 5 while driving North.
Yak Peak view from Coquihalla Highway 5 near Hope BC
2. We are now approaching the snowshed on Highway 5. It's 3 kilometers
from the snowshed to the unmarked highway exit leading to the trail.
3. And here is that unmarked exit. On the other side is Zopkios brake
check, very prominently marked for Southbound traffic. You would need to
use a tunnel to cross under Highway 5 and get to Zopkios brake check /
rest area. It's about 400 meters to the trailhead from there. If you
miss this unmarked exit, proceed to the next marked exit (Falls Lake,
Exit 221), turn around, and drive to Zopkios brake check.
Coquihalla Highway 5 North across from Zopkios Brake Check and Rest Area
4. Here is the sign for Zopkios brake check for Southbound traffic.
BC Highway 5 (Coquihalla) Zopkios Brake Check Sign
5. And this is Zopkios brake check / rest area.
Coordinates: N 49⁰35.776' W 121⁰07.246'. Elevation: 1,189 meters.
Zopkios Brake Check and Rest Area near Hope British Columbia Canada
6. Yak Peak view from Zopkios brake check / rest area. It's very popular with
tourists, who stop by and take pictures.
Yak Peak seen from Zopkios Rest Area / Brake Check
7. And now a better view with the sun out - 600 meters South of the
Yak Peak near Hope BC Canada
8. To get to the trailhead, walk North (towards Merritt) on the Zopkios
brake check side of the highway. There is an obvious path by the
highway, and then an obvious trailhead. Here we are looking back (South)
towards Zopkios brake check, and the trailhead is seen branching off on
the right side.
Path near towards Yak Peak trail near Zopkios Brake Check / Rest Area
9. Now facing the trailhead, with Highway 5 several meters behind
us. Coordinates: N 49⁰35.714' W 121⁰06.411'.
Elevation: 1,215 meters. There are no signs pointing to the trail, but some flagging tape is
present by the trailhead.
Yak Peak trailhead
10. After a brief stretch of dense forest, this
creek crossing would be the first and last stream on this trail.
BC Hiking - Yak Peak Trail near Hope
11. Then, the trail goes up quite gently, if for a very short period of
Hiking in British Columbia - Yak Peak Trail near Hope
12. Steep grade arrives after that, and is all but relentless until the
end of Yak Peak Trail.
Hope Hiking - Yak Peak trail
13. After 1.2 kilometers of hiking, you are out of the woods. Yak Peak
is right above. Coordinates: N 49⁰36.008' W
121⁰06.222'. Elevation: 1,422 meters. The next challenge is climbing up a field of boulders
for about 250 meters.
Yak Pea Trail Boulder Field - Hiking in British Columbia
14. Also at this point, the views start appearing behind you as well.
Straight across from Yak Peak is Needle Peak, and Highway 5 (Coquihalla)
runs at the bottom.
Needle Peak and BC Highway 5 (Coquihalla) seen from Yak Peak trail near
15. The trail continues on the right side.
Yak Peak Trail - Hike in Hope Area of British Columbia Canada
16. The face of Yak Peak constantly changes the further you go.
Yak Peak - Trail in Hope BC Area
17. At one point it gets so steep, that a rope is needed to assist in
ascending and descending.
Rope on Yak Peak trail near Hope British Columbia Canada
18. There is lots of time to enjoy the scenery, as the steepness of the
trail and high altitude / reduced oxygen ensure that breaks to catch
breath happen one after another.
Yak Peak - Hope Hiking British Columbia
19. There are a few stretches where one has to scramble for some time.
Yak Peak Trail - Hiking in Hope BC Area
20. Finally, the trail becomes a bit less steep, and the second (lower)
Yak Peak becomes visible as well.
Yak Peak Hike near Hope BC Canada
21. The main peak is to the left, and ridge hiking is required to reach
the end of the trail.
Coquihalla Hiking - Yak Peak Trail near Hope BC
22. Approaching the end of Yak Peak trail.
Hiking in Coquihalla Area - Yak Peak Trail
23. And here is Yak Peak. Coordinates: N
49⁰36.306' W 121⁰06.219'. Elevation: 1,989 meters (774 meters elevation
gain from the trailhead). The trail is slightly over 3 km long, so the
average grade is about 25%. It took us 2.5 hours to get to the top.
Yak Peak British Columbia
24. The peak itself is very narrow, so be careful, as there are steep
drop-offs. To make things complicated, climbing the peak looks easy, but
the approach is angled, so one needs to slightly accelerate to avoid
sliding back (it's about 5-6 meters above the trail), so take care not
to overshoot the narrow ridge of the peak while doing so. Here we are
looking back from the peak, and you can see how narrow and angled it is
(bottom of the photograph). It's also quite windy on the top, making for
yet another challenge.
Hope Hiking - Yak Peak Trail by BC Highway 5 Coquihalla
25. If you do not feel comfortable climbing the peak itself, the landing
just beyond it offers views which are nearly just as good, and it is
easy to get there from the trail. We took this photo from the peak,
looking the other way compared to the photo above, and the narrow ridge
of the peak can be seen at the bottom left of the photograph.
View from Yak Peak - BC Hike
26-30. So, yeah, the views from the top are great. Looking left to
right, with the last photograph showing the second peak (which, come
think of it, might be the actual peak, if not by much).
32. With lots of zoom, we see BC Highway 5 (Coquihalla) and Zopkios
brake check / rest area. The red arrow points at the unmarked exit for
Northbound traffic, and the yellow arrows show the tunnel to be used by
Northbound traffic for getting to the brake check / trail parking area
on the other side of the highway.
Zopkios Brake Check and Rest Area seen from Yak Peak
33. And here is a closer zoomed photo of the brake check / rest area.
This is the best spot to take a photo of Yak Peak in that location.
Zopkios Brake Check and Rest Area
If you know what you are doing and are properly equipped, Yak Peak trail
will offer some very fine views. Highly recommended.