Trailhead Location: Near the town of
Fort St. James in central British Columbia, approximately 160 kilometers
Northwest of Prince George via Hwy 16 and Hwy 27.
Easy access to the trailhead via a
short scenic drive. Good views from the second viewpoint, and 360⁰
view from the gazebo at the end of the trail. Shade in the forest.
Several fine forest scenes. Benches along the trail. The lower part of
the trail can be hiked in a loop.
Of Note: Some
bugs and mosquitoes, especially in the upper part of the trail. Steep
unbarricaded drop-offs at the second viewpoint. Steep access to the
gazebo. Hiking poles and boots are recommended.
Mount Pope trail is a moderately difficult 6.5 km hike, located in Mount
Pope Provincial Park right next to the town of Fort St. James. The trail
has three viewpoints, with progressively better views. A short
scenic drive leads to the trailhead parking lot, which can accommodate
about 10 vehicles. Plentiful parking is available along the access road,
which is approximately 100 meters long. The trail is rather popular,
judging by the numerous notes left in the visitor book inside the gazebo
at the end of the hike. There are a few long climbs, but they are not
too steep. The steepest part of the trail is right before the gazebo,
though it's not that long. The view from the gazebo is very impressive.
While there are no majestic mountain peaks in the vicinity, there is so
much green and blue, with a huge Stuart Lake in front of you, that it
certainly makes it a worthwhile hike. And the second viewpoint, while
not as panoramic, also has some very decent views.
The lower part of the trail can be hiked in a loop, and climbers can
extend their adventure by climbing a large rock situated along the Mount
Pope trail near the end of that loop.
1. Highway 27 starts at Highway 16 just West of Vanderhoof, and leads to
Fort St. James in about 54 kilometers. Here we are on Highway 27 North,
entering the town of Fort St. James.
BC Highway 27 North - entering Fort St. James
2. Once in Fort St. James, which is a very small town, stay on Highway
27 (also called Stuart Lake Highway). The highway will make a left turn
into downtown Fort St. James (a sign will point in that direction). You
will then pass Save-on-Foods on the right side at the point seen in the
photo below. The blue sign on the right side says "Campground. Beach.
Marina. Scenic Lookout". The sign below that also promises a scenic
3. Very shortly, Cottonwood Park will appear on the left side.
4. Cottonwood Park is located on the shore of Stuart Lake, and features
this neat airplane statue.
Cottonwood Park Fort St. James BC Canada
5. Here is Stuart Lake and a small campground at the Cottonwood Park.
Fort St. James Cottonwood Park
6-7. Immediately after Cottonwood Park, turn left onto Lakeshore Drive.
It's 4.6 km from here to Mount Pope trailhead.
8. Now on Lakeshore Drive, with Our Lady of Good Hope Catholic church
Our Lady of Good Hope Catholic Church - Lakeshore Drive Fort St. James
9. Continuing on Lakeshore Drive, we see Cottonwood Marina access road
on the left side.
10. Lakeshore Drive smoothly turns into Resort Hill Road, which,
shortly, ends at Stones Bay Road, where we need to make a left turn, 1.5
km after starting at Lakeshore Drive by Cottonwood Park.
11. Driving on Stones Bay Road.
12. A pretty house on the left side.
13. 4.5 km after turning from Hwy 27 onto Lakeshore Drive, a right turn
would lead to Mount Pope trailhead. The sign with an arrow says "Mt.
14. Mount Pope trailhead access road after the turn.
15. About 100 meters after turning from Stones Bay Road, we arrived at
the Mount Pope trailhead parking area.
Coordinates: N 54⁰28.199' W 124⁰18.924'. Elevation: 697 meters.
16. Here is the trailhead.
17. The trail in the forest is quite pleasant, with lots of shade.
Mount Pope Trail - Mount Pope Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
18. The bugs were not too bad for the first half of the Mount Pope trail, allowing
for hiking in shorts.
19. There is some steepness, but nothing too taxing.
20. The first Mount Pope trail viewpoint arrives at the 1.3 km mark of the trail. The
view is decent, but better views await ahead. One of the many convenient benches
along this trail is located by the viewpoint.
21. The bench.
22. The view.
23. The trail.
Mount Pope Trail - Hiking in Fort St. James Area
24. At 3.9 km, the loop part of the trail ends.
Coordinates: N 54⁰29.612' W 124⁰19.443'. Elevation: 1,062 meters.
This is where we were attacked by about two dozen mosquitoes, so long
pants had to come out of the backpack. The mosquitoes remained a
noticeable presence until the end of the trail. At this split, you can
turn left, return to Stones Bay Road, then hike 1.4 km to the trailhead,
which is what we did on the way back. The trail to the top continues on
the right side.
25. The trail to the top after the split.
26. At 5.1 km, a very short trail on the left leads to the second
27-29. The views from the second viewpoint are quite good. Just watch
for steep unbarricaded drop-offs. Left to right.
Stuart Lake Seen from Mount Pope Trail
Here is our video of the views
from the second viewpoint.