Mount Macpherson Summit via Macpherson West Approach Trail

Rating: 5 stars.

Use: Hiking.

Difficulty: Difficult.

Distance: 14 km return to the summit.

Description: Other than hiring a helicopter to land you on the summit, this is the best option for getting to the top of Mount Macpherson. A newly reconstructed bridge over English Creek and a recently brushed access road to the power lines (thanks to BC Hydro) puts this hike back on the books! The access trail is old and overgrown (rumoured to have been put in by the Vernon Outdoors Club 25 years ago) but will save you a bushwhack. From the end of the trail and up to the Macpherson west col it is easy walking in any direction. Whether it is to the summit of Mount Macpherson, the summit of Mount Tilley or just a couple of days camping at Tilley Lakes this is a fantastic route. An alpine traverse over to Mount Begbie and down the Begbie Trail would also make for an excellent few days. See the corresponding section of this website for the various options. 

Directions: Drive west of Revelstoke on Highway 1. Just before the 3 Valley Gap ‘Resort’ hang a left onto the Three Valley – Victor FSR. Drive for 2.6 km on this road until you come to a Y. Take the  left hand road (100 Road) that leads into the English Creek drainage. Here you will cross the recently rebuilt English Bridge and head up the even more recently brushed access road. Once under the power lines look for the parking spot marked by a small rock cairn and proceed through the old cut block to the trailhead. The trail is pretty much non-existent through the cut block so make your way through it wherever it seems easiest. Once at the edge of the timber edge locate the trailhead. Follow the overgrown trail that leads up the drainage to the small lake (where the trail ends) and onto the boulder gully that leads to the col. From the col scramble up the talus slope to the almost flat 4 km long plateau that leads to the summit of Macpherson. Very easy hiking with a spectacular views of the Monashees the whole way. Hard to believe this is so close to town. 

Trailhead GPS:

  1. Three Valley – Victor FSR: N50 56.202 W118 25.939
  2. Branch 100 Road: N50 56.496 W118 24.344
  3. English Bridge: N50 56.693 W118 23.191
  4. Macpherson west approach trail parking: N50 56.566 W118 20.752
  5. Macpherson west approach trailhead: N50 56.409 W118 20.672
  6. Small lake marking the end of trail: N50 55.892 W118 20.503
  7. Macpherson west col: N50 55.496 W118 20.204

Useful Maps:

Mount Macpherson Summit via Macpherson West Approach Trail Overview Map PDF

Mount Macpherson Summit via Macpherson West Approach Trail Detail Map PDF

Mount Macpherson Summit via Macpherson West Approach Trail KML file on Dropbox

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The start of the old trail. When you find this tree (refer to the Trailhead GPS) look for the orange ribbon, hop over the blowdown and pick up the trail. Ben Wilkey Collection.
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July Wilkey following the overgrown trail. A bit on the bushy side but still better than a full on bushwhack. With good route finding skills you should manage to stay on the the trail. Ben Wilkey Collection.
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Past the end of the trail and into the boulder strewn gully. Ben Wilkey Collection.
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Looking up at the ‘talus slope’ from the Col. We skirted the climbers right hand side of the slope threading in and out of the small trees. The right hand side also offers larger boulders at a slightly lower angle. Ben Wilkey Collection.
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Nearing the top of the ‘talus slope’. English Lake below. Ben Wilkey Collection.
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Topping out into the alpine above the ‘talus slope’. Mount English forms the backdrop. Ben Wilkey Collection.
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Looking East along the route towards the summit in the distance. Beautiful alpine hiking the entire way with minimal elevation change. Ben Wilkey Collection.
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Nearing the summit of Mount Macpherson. Ben Wilkey Collection.
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July Wilkey on the summit helipad. I have landed on this pad many times. It was nice to have earned my elevation this time. Ben Wilkey Collection.
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From the summit, looking west along the route. Ben Wilkey Collection.
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The views along the route are spectacular. Mount Begbie, Blanket Peak, Mount Tilley, Davis Peak, Mount English. Ben Wilkey Collection.
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Beautiful views the whole way. Looking south to Mount Tilley, Davis Peak and Mount English. Ben Wilkey Collection.
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Returning from the summit. Sheer faces to the north and gentle slopes to the south. Ben Wilkey Collection.
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Looking back towards Mount Begbie. Ben Wilkey Collection.
English Lake. Fred Cox Collection.
English Lake. Fred Cox Collection.
The view of town from the summit. Fred Cox Collection.
The view of town from the summit. Fred Cox Collection.
Fred on the Summit. Fred Cox Collection.
Fred on the Summit. Fred Cox Collection.
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9 thoughts on “Mount Macpherson Summit via Macpherson West Approach Trail

  1. An excellent hike. The road is just possible with a low clearance 2wd – but I would definitely recommend a bit more clearance!

  2. Amazing hike, and so close to home! Would class it “moderate-most difficult” just because of the last scramble up the ‘Talus slope’. We ended up leaving a couple members of our party to explore the meadow because they weren’t up it. Also if you hike with your dog you might want to think twice, my ridgeback cross made it all the way, but the shorter-legged labs had to stay in the meadow. Added bonus: full cell coverage at the summit, allowing you to call and brag to friends at 8000ft. Definitely recommend this hike.

  3. As of Sept 11/14 the trail is flagged from the cairn. Thank you to who ever did that. Might be worth adding to the access info that the road drops down slightly and fords a creek –that is where the cairn is located

  4. A member of the Shuswap Outdoors emailed me the other day to let me know that he was planning to organize a work party on the Macpherson West Approach Trail. He is proposing a re-routing of the trail through a few of the steep and wet sections. No dates have been set but if you are interested in helping out please email me and I will pass on his contact info. It would be great if we could get a few people from Revelstoke to help out on this worthy project!

  5. An August 2017 update: the trail through the cutblock and up the drainage has been cleared and is pretty easy to follow. The route up and around the right of the ‘talus slope’ is well flagged’. We found the trip across the plateau to have more ups and down than expected from the description. All-in-all, a great day out. Total time was over 9 hours at a leisurely pace. Also, I’d say the a 4wd high clearance vehicle is needed for access.

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