Kitwanga Mountain Trail (also known as Bernadine Mountain
Trail) is found in Kitwanga Mountain Provincial Park near a Native
settlement of Kitwanga, which is located in Western British Columbia off
Highway 37 near its intersection with Highway 16. The said intersection
is about halfway between the town of Terrace (100 km to the West), and
the town of Smithers (116 km to the East).
Kitwanga Mountain Trail starts off a 2.7 km-long access
road, which branches off Cedarvale-Kitwanga Road about 4.7 km from
Highway 37. Cedarvale-Kitwanga Road is suitable for all vehicles, but
the access road is rather rough and has very deep and long puddles. So,
unless you have a high clearance 4x4 vehicle, getting to the trailhead
would add an additional 5.4 km to the total hiking distance.
The trail itself goes through the woods, and then breaks
into sub-alpine with absolutely gorgeous views of the Skeena River
valley and Seven Sisters mountain range. Past the first viewpoint, the
trail is suitable for experienced, well-equipped hikers only, as it is
very steep out there. Up to the first viewpoint, which is located about
3.3 km from the trailhead, the trail is moderately difficult with
several short steep stretches, and should be ok for any hiker in a
decent physical shape.
Past the first viewpoint, Kitwanga Mountain Trail becomes
more of a route, but the direction of travel is very obvious - West
along the Skeena River valley. The views are very panoramic and
impressive. For the best experience, head out as early as you can or on
a cloudy day, as later in the afternoon the sun starts shining in the
eyes when you are looking Southwest at the Seven Sisters, which is the
main attraction of the hike.
Today, we traveled for about 1.4 km past the first
viewpoint, for a total of 9.4 km round trip (plus 5.4 km of access road
round-trip, for a grand total of almost 15 km). It appeared that it was
possible to hike at least a bit further past the point where we stopped.
*All trail distances are based on a GPS odometer and
1. Here is a Google Maps location of Kitwanga Mountain
2. We are Westbound on BC Highway 16, approximately
116 km West of Smithers and 100 km East of Terrace, approaching a
junction with BC Highway 37.
BC Highway 16 West by BC Highway 37 Junction
3-4. There is a Petro Canada gas station right at the
junction of Highways 16 and 37. Make a right turn onto Highway 37, which
eventually leads to Yukon and Alaska.
Petro Canada Sign by BC Highway 16 at 37 Junction
BC Highway 16 West at BC Highway 37 Junction near Kitwanga
5. BC Highway 37 begins.
BC Highway 37 North Start at BC Highway 16
6. Right away, there is a bridge across Skeena River, and
Kitwanga Mountain can be seen to the left. We have indicated with a red
arrow the approximate point where we have finished our hike.
Kitwanga Mountain View from BC Highway 37
7. And here is this bridge seen from Kitwanga Mountain
with much zoom. Petro Canada is a red-roofed building on the right side.
Bridge Across Skeena River and BC Highway 37 View from Kitwanga Mountain
8. BC Highway 37 600 meters from the junction with BC
BC Highway 37 near Kitwanga British Columbia Canada
9. Make a left turn onto Cedarvale-Kitwanga Road (AKA 3rd
Avenue) - seen ahead - about 900 meters from BC Highway 16 junction.
BC Highway 37 at Cedarvale-Kitwanga Road
10. Now on Cedarvale-Kitwanga Road in Kitwanga BC.
11. 500 meters later, the road becomes packed dirt with
gravel. It's in a very good shape all the way to the trailhead access
Cedarvale-Kitwanga Road near BC Highway 37
12. There are a few bridges to cross, including this one
at 1.1 km of the road.
Cedarvale-Kitwanga Road near Kitwanga BC
13. At 3.5 km of Cedarvale-Kitwanga Road (4.4 km from
Highway 16 junction), keep right at the split pictured below.
Cedarvale-Kitwanga Road British Columbia
14. At 4.3 km (5.2 km from the junction), Kitwanga
Mountain Trail access road appears on the right side.
Cedarvale-Kitwanga Road near Kitwanga Mountain Provincial Park
15. Here is the view from the other side. Coordinates:
N 55°06.275’ W 128°07.684’. Elevation: 290 meters.
Cedarvale-Kitwanga Road at Kitwanga Mountain Trailhead Access Road
16. If you have a high clearance 4x4 vehicle, you may be
able to pass through large deep puddles and get about 2 km closer to the
trailhead. Otherwise, either leave your vehicle here, or, which is a
better option (and what we ended up doing), drive for about 400 meters
further and park at this large pullout. This would extend your
round-trip hike by 800 meters, but then your vehicle would be in a much
17. We are now at the 480 meter mark of the Kitwanga
Mountain Trail access road.
Kitwanga Mountain Trail Access Road
18. At the 625 meters, we are entering Kitwanga Mountain
Provincial Park. There are no facilities.
Kitwanga Mountain Provincial Park Boundary
19. One of the several enormous puddles is at 695 meters
of the access road. This being the end of a fairly dry season, one can
only imagine the kind of a swamp this road is a few months earlier.
Kitwanga Mountain Trail Access Road Puddle
20. At the 2.0 km mark, there is a large parking lot - a
good place to leave your vehicle and hike the last 700 meters to the
Kitwanga Mountain Trail Access Road Parking Lot
21. Now at 340 meters past the parking lot.
Kitwanga Mountain Trail Access Road
22. At 600 meters, there is a small pullout. Your last
chance to park or turn around, unless you are interested in...
Kitwanga Mountain Trail Access Road near Kitwanga BC Canada
23-24....dipping your ride in this huge mud hole just
before the trailhead.
Kitwanga Mountain Trail Access Road Mud Hole
Mud Hole on Kitwanga Mountain Trail Access Road
25. Kitwanga Mountain trailhead arrives at 2.7 km from
Cedarvale-Kitwanga Road, 700 meters from the parking lot, and about 40
meters from the mud hole. Coordinates:
N 55°07.045’ W 128°08.765’. Elevation: 610 meters. The box contains an optional sign-in sheet
(no one checks it regularly, though, so you are on your own).
Kitwanga Mountain Trailhead
26. There is not much to see on this trail until the
first viewpoint. Here we are at the 80 meter mark.
Kitwanga Mountain Trail - Bernadine Mountain Trail
27. Now at 2.45 km of Kitwanga Mountain (Bernadine
Mountain) Trail. One of the short very steep stretches before the first
Bernadine Mountain Trail - Kitwanga Mountain Trail
28. The last kilometer or so before the first viewpoint
is somewhat brushed-in, as illustrated by this spot at the 3.22 km mark
of the trail.
British Columbia Hiking - Kitwanga Mountain Trail
29. At 3.29 km, we have reached the first viewpoint,
where a small plaque had been placed in the memory of Bruce H. Johnson.
N 55°07.459’ W 128°10.380’. Elevation: 1,295 meters. The average grade
from the trailhead is about 20%.
Kitwanga Mountain Trail Bruce Johnson Memorial Cairn
30-31. Skeena River Valley seen from the first viewpoint.
Plain and zoomed views.
Skeena River Valley
32-33. Seven Sisters mountain range seen from the first
viewpoint. Plain and zoomed views.
Seven Sisters Mountain
34. Unless you are an experienced and properly equipped
hiker, this is a good spot to turn around and head back, or proceed for
a few hundred meters for better views prior to calling it a day. Very
shortly, Kitwanga Mountain Trail becomes exceedingly steep and
difficult. Here is the continuation of the trail.
Hike in British Columbia - Kitwanga Mountain Trail
Our Kitwanga Mountain Trail Hike Trip Report
Continues on Page 2.
Trip 271 - Kitwanga Mountain Trail Hike
(Near Kitwanga BC)
Page 1 of 2