Mount Macpherson Summit Trail

Rating: 3 stars.

Use: Hiking.

Difficulty: Difficult.

Distance: 14 km return from the ‘Mountain Climb’ access to the upper gully, 8 km return from  the ‘Powerline’ access to the upper gully. From the upper gully to the summit would be a further 6 km return. 

Description: The start of this newly brushed trail is what the Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club used to call ‘Mountain Climb’. It was an old logging road which over the years had become an overgrown alder-fest.  Not any longer. A number of years ago Revelstoke local Travis Hunt began clearing the old road. He then put his efforts into fixing up the creek crossings. Recently he has actually brushed in a trail that leads to a subalpine talus gully 3 km short of the summit. This proves to be a great trail providing long overdue summer access from town to the summit of Macpherson. Furthermore Travis has put in an alternate access point to this summit trail from the powerline access road seen from town.  This higher access provides better direct access to the summit. Worth the effort!

But… if you don’t have the time or energy to go all the way to the summit Travis has created a few other options for you. If you want to scope your winter lines try the trail branching off the summit trail to the top of the Burnt Knob. If you don’t have that much time try the Mountain Climb Trail to the viewpoint near the intersection of Wells Creek. Or if you have the kids for the day or the in-laws are in town and you want to go for a quick hike park at the powerline access point and just do the loop there and back to the main summit trail. Lots of options!

There also exists an access trail from the west end of Macpherson. Going up the the west end and coming down the east end to hit this trail makes a very fine traverse. See the corresponding sections on the website for further details on this traverse. 

Directions: For the ‘Mountain Climb’ access turn off the highway at the Revelstoke Nordic Ski Lodge. Follow the nordic ski trail roads to the ‘Mountain Climb’ trail bridge. Park here.  For the Powerline access turn off the highway at the Griffith Creek access road. Follow the nordic ski trail roads and then the rough and slightly overgrown road to the parking below the powerlines. 

Trailhead GPS:

  1. Mt. Macpherson Nordic Lodge: N50° 56.598′ W118° 13.327′
  2. Mt. Macpherson Mountain Climb bridge: N50° 56.489′ W118° 14.067′
  3. Griffith Creek Road: N50° 57.590′ W118° 13.678′
  4. Powerline Parking: N50° 58.038′ W118° 16.220′
  5. Mountain Climb Viewpoint: N50° 57.407′ W118° 15.635′
  6. Top of Burnt Knob: N50° 56.877′ W118° 16.419′
  7. End of brushed trail: N50° 56.774′ W118° 17.252′

Useful Maps:

Mount Macpherson Summit Trail Overview Map PDF

Mount Macpherson Summit Trail Detail Map PDF

Mount Macpherson Summit Trail Summit Route PDF

Mount Macpherson Summit Trail KML file on Dropbox

IMG_1173
The view from the Mountain Climb ‘viewpoint’ just before the intersection of Wells Creek. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Lower Talus Slope
Lower Talus slope below the Burnt Knob. Travis Hunt Collection.
Burnt Knob VP
The view from the top of the Burnt Knob. Travis Hunt Collection.
Upper Talus Slope
The end of the brushed trail at the bottom of the upper talus gully. Travis Hunt Collection.
Upper Gully
The view from the top of the upper talus gully en-route to the summit. Travis Hunt Collection.
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22 thoughts on “Mount Macpherson Summit Trail

    1. Dylan, This trail is still a work in progress. Travis Hunt tells me that he has continued work on this trail over the past two summers. While it now goes past the point located on my maps it is far from being anywhere close to reaching the alpine. If the summit is your goal it would be better accessed from the west end where there is a trail to the alpine. If a traverse of Macpherson is your goal I would suggest west to east, bushwhacking down from the alpine to reach the end of this trail. This would be a large endevour but not impossible.

  1. The trail now goes about 1 km past Wells creek. There are two logs to get across the creek. After this is where the single track starts.
    This is NOT a biking trail!
    It climbs up some nice open rocky terrain with much better views than the small side trail “lookout” lower down.
    There are a couple of small wet sections.
    The route past where the current trail ends is flagged with orange tape.
    With the nice fall weather, I hope people check out this work in progress as it is getting better the longer it gets!

  2. Thanks for the comment Travis. I think its time I took another trip up your trail to see the progress. If you have some photos from the new section of trail I would be happy to post them.

  3. This trail now extends another kilometre past the end of the Wells creek skid road.
    It is now almost snow free to the rocky viewpoints. Great views both north and south.
    If anyone is interested in working on this trail this summer, please let me know. I am planning to continue clearing the right of way as high as possible.

  4. I hiked Macpherson last week. Drove the road near 3 Valley Gap to the power lines. Around 1500m elevation there was a distinct trail heading through the cut block into the forest but I lost it with too much snow. Not sure where that trail headed, but Macpherson offers some great views.

  5. Update on the Macpherson trail:
    This trail is now brushed and flagged to the start (1660m) of the gulley that will get to the alpine. The lower skid road may be a bit overgrown in spots (hope to brush this soon).
    From the start at the bridge over the beaver pond area to the end of the skid road is 3k and the rest up and past the burnt knob to the upper gulley is about 4K (about 7k).
    All the major bushwacking is now over!
    The trail is at times steep and the boulderfield on the north side of the burnt knob is steep also. There are still some trees over the trail in spots.
    Follow the orange flagging.
    It has a real wilderness and adventure feel to it.
    Access to the alpine on this side of Macpherson is now a reality!

    1. Hi Travis, thanks for clearing this trail, I’m planning on doing the traverse from the west. From the summit, where is the best way to connect to the trail? Is it straight down the Wells creek gully, or through the trees north of the creek?

      1. Hi Laurent,
        not sure if you have done the traverse yet, but if you send me your email address, I can send you a google earth KMZ file of a route the connects to the lower brushed trail. You descend off the summit heading northeast to the larger plateau making sure you descend below the prominent east ridge/upper cliff. Trend northeast through the heather, alpland features until you descend to the long gulley that leads to the distinct boulder field/talus slope and descend to the forested upper area at about 1650 meters and to the north of the burnt knob. As you descend the talus trend skiers right below the lower large cliff/wall. Keep trending skiers right and eventually you will see some orange flagging in the alder that gets you to the brushed trail where you are now on the flatter area in the trees. Just follow the brushed trail and flagging/cairns from there.
        Hope that helps

  6. Forgot to mention that I will get a side trail brushed and flagged up to the top of the burnt knob also.
    Thanks
    Travis

  7. The skid road part of the trail is a little bushy in spots. There is now a new foot bridge over Wells creek. The single track past Wells creek is cleared and raked to the talus slope on the north side of the burnt knob (1400m).
    The “flat” area above 1600 meters is still snow covered. Orange flagging is present on upper trail.
    Plan to get the trail extended to top of Burnt Knob this summer.

    1. We hiked your trail today. We followed your flag line toward the burnt but didn’t get burnt knob itself. Where does the trail go where it continues toward the upper talus slope? Thanks for all your work on the trail and for the new bridge over Wells Creek.

      1. Thanks Keith,
        If you are referring to the upper talus gulley above 1600m, then the trail approaches lookers left of this where it is still flagged and contours right into the talus slope proper
        after avoided the tarn wet areas by staying left.
        There are some cairns there also. There is no flagging above that, but travelling is easy above treeline.
        The lower talus slope (1400m) continues upward steeply on the north side of the burnt knob past the little head wall and onto the lower angle terrain(1600m) and continues toward the upper talus slope.
        This is flagged and has cairns.
        Hope you had a great hike!

      2. Just curious if you can get to the summit of MacPherson from this trail? On July 15 we biked up as far as you can go and then hiked the short way to the upper lookout, but ran out of time to go any further. Does the trail continue on to the summit or just up the Burnt Knob? Would it be better to summit from the 3 Valley Gap side? (Also, thanks so much for making this trail possible!)

    2. Just curious, can you get to the summit of MacPherson from this trail? On July 15th we biked up as far as you could and then hiked the short way to the upper lookout but ran out of time. Hoping to go back and try for the summit, but only if it’s possible! Or is it best to summit from 3 Valley Gap?

      1. You can access the summit from this trail. Once you reach the upper talus slope which is above 1600 meters and through the mellow terrain past the burnt knob, the orange flagging will end.
        From there you would proceed up and lookers right into the talus gulley and straight up into the alpine. There is no flagging.
        From here just continue to follow the creek and gulley. The easiest way to the summit is to gain the upper meadows and grassy benches by climbing up steeply lookers left through various access points until you are above the gulley and just continue upward.
        There is no trail up there, but travel is easy.
        From the large bridge at the beginning of the mountain climb skid road to the summit is about 10 k.
        There is only flagging to the burnt knob proper, but no trail yet.

  8. There is now a brushed trail to the top of the burnt knob.
    Look for the orange flagging with burnt knob written on it at about 6 KM from the beginning of the Mountain Climb skid road bridge. It’s the only left fork up there.
    It is about 1KM to the viewpoint and tops out at 1700m. There is one small steep rock step and still some logs across the trail.
    The views are awesome.

      1. Hi,
        Just saw this comment, so sorry for the late reply.
        You can reach the summit of Macpherson from this trail. If you go past the flagged Burnt knob trail fork and continue straight on the trail you will reach the upper talus slope which gets you into the alpine. Continue up the talus slope trending right to the upper gulley.
        From here you continue up the gulley looking for cairns on the left after it flattens out a bit.
        Continue upward and left here on a short steep slope and you will gain the upper benches which eventually lead to the summit.
        There is no flagging up there, so you will need to navigate on your own.
        The site should be updated soon with some maps in the next few weeks.
        Thanks

        Travis

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