Trip 212 - May 29, 2021 (Saturday)

BC Highway 12 Valley Lookout Trail Hike

Off BC Highway 12 Between Lytton and Lillooet


Distance from Vancouver to the Trailhead: Approximately 280 km, if via Highway 1 West, Highway 99 (Sea-to-Sky) North, and Highway 12 South. Approximately 290 kilometers, if via Highway 1 East, and Highway 12 North.

Liked: A panoramic view of BC Highway 12 valley from the end of the hike.

Of Note: Very steep, if rather short, trail with loose dirt and rocks. Very little shade. The trail is suitable for experienced and well-equipped hikers only. Hiking poles and boots are essential. 

Vancouver, Coast & Mountains Backroad Mapbook (5th edition) Approximate Trailhead Coordinates: Page 45 (Spences Bridge) A4.

We were in the area on another business, and discovered a new trail. It appears no one hiked it before, and a few short paths here and there were likely made not by humans, but by goats. The trail is very steep, but it's the loose dirt and rocks which make it such a struggle. This is definitely not a trail for novice and/or ill-equipped hikers, as the injury potential is high. After sweating for just over a kilometer, you are treated to a panoramic view of a valley located alongside BC Highway 12 just about half-way between Lytton (35 km to the South), and Lillooet (30 km to the North). Thus, the name of the trail.

For the best views when the sun is out, try hiking in the morning or early afternoon. Later in the afternoon, the sun is starting to shine in the eyes at the viewpoint area.

The trail is well-flagged now, and should be pretty easy to follow. There might be a less complicated way to get to the lookout point, but we followed what seemed to be the most obvious route, so here it is.

1. We are Southbound on BC Highway 12, driving from Lillooet (about 30 km behind) towards Lytton (about 35 km ahead), and are getting ready to turn left onto McGillivray Forest Service Road. It's a very obscure turnoff.

2. The view of the beginning of McGillivray FSR from BC Highway 12. Coordinates: N 5029.797' W 12142.462'. Elevation: 370 meters.

3. The name of the road can't be seen from the highway, as the sign is hiding behind a corner seen in the photo above.

4. Despite the FSR not being maintained, it's in a decent shape to the trailhead, which is just over 1 km away.

5. There is a tricky spot at about the 1 km mark. So, if your vehicle's clearance would be insufficient, park at a large pullout on the left side 400 meters from Highway 12.

6. Here is that rough, tricky spot, between 900 m and 1.0 km of McGillivray Forest Service Road. Most vehicles should be ok here, though.

7. Just after the 1 km marker, there is a cattle guard ahead.

8. The path to the trailhead is on the left side immediately past the cattle guard. Plenty of parking available on the side of the FSR, or on the rough road on the left side, where the arrow is pointing towards the eventual trailhead. Coordinates: N 5029.875' W 12141.726'. Elevation: 433 meters.

9. It's 300 meters from the cattle guard to the trailhead. Just go between the trees (they are widely spaced), keeping as close to the FSR on your right as you can.

10. Here we are by the trailhead (on the left side), 300 meters from the cattle guard.

11. BC Highway 12 Valley Lookout Trailhead. Coordinates: N 5029.974' W 12141.550'. Elevation: 473 meters.

12. The trail is steep from the get go, with loose dirt and stones making the going tough.

13. Good views start appearing very soon. Here is looking left at the 200 meter mark.

14. BC Highway 12 Valley Lookout Trail at 230 meters.

15. Looking right as we climb.

16. Looking behind us at the 630 meter mark.

17. Having climbed up for about 800 meters, the tough part is over, and a left turn makes the trail much less steep. Approximate Coordinates for the Left Turn: N 5030.146' W 12121.029'. Elevation: 701 meters. Estimated grade from the trailhead to the left turn: 28%.

18. The end is near!

19. And here we are, 1.15 km from the trailhead. Coordinates: N 5030.040' W 12142.029'. Elevation: 729 meters.

20. The above view is quite good, but 150 more meters of hiking to the right is in order for a true panorama.

21-24. And now BC Highway 12 Valley is in front of us in all of its glory. The highway and Fraser River can be seen below. Left to right.

25. Here is a panorama.

And here our video of the views from this location.

More ihikebc.com videos are on our YouTube Channel.

26. Zooming in to check out a herd of cows.

27. And this is the spot where McGillivray FSR begins off Highway 12.

As a newly discovered hike, BC Highway 12 Valley Lookout Trail is quite rough, but short enough to be a good outing for experienced, well-equipped hikers. Recommended.


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