A Father's Day Hike in the Mountains
By Evan Wishloff
I love escaping to the mountains with family. Growing up, some of my fondest memories come from family trips through the mountains of Alberta and BC, spending time in nature.
But as most things in life seem to go, coordinating schedules with multiple people seems to prove almost impossible. What are the odds everyone will have the same weekend free? So when the opportunity arose over Father’s Day to escape to the mountains with my father and brother, I jumped at the chance.
The destination? Valemount, British Columbia, a picturesque mountain valley town just an hour west of Jasper. Nestled at the foot of three separate mountain ranges; the Monashees, the Caribous, and the Rockies, Valemount was the perfect place to escape the National Park crowds and go on an epic mountain adventure.
The purpose of the trip was threefold. First, a Father’s Day trip to spend some quality time with my Dad. Second, help unload some furniture that my parents were moving into their vacation cabin. Third, and selfishly what I was most excited for, a day hike to summit one of the local mountain peaks, breaking in a pair of brand new Oboz Bridger hiking boots before a summer full of longer backpacking adventures.
The trail we had chosen to hike was McKirdy Meadows, a relatively short and rewarding mountain hike. Our goal was to continue past the meadow and ridge and summit Carson's Peak for some stellar mountain views.
The trailhead for McKirdy Meadows is at the top of the local mountain bike park access road. Named Five Mile Road, it is a bit rough and bumpy, but a regular car should get you to the top of this road without problem.
There is ample space for parking at the end of Five Mile Road, and then the hiking begins. Starting with a brief downhill, it doesn’t take long for the trail to turn skyward. Switchbacks cut into the mountainside take hikers up through the lush BC forest.
We felt the burn in our legs as we worked our way up the steep trail, and just as our legs were screaming for a break, we came to a breathtaking viewpoint. With views down towards Kinbasket Lake, we took a load off on a rocky outcrop, enjoying some snacks and a few laughs as my Dad swatted away wasps that seemed to be attracted to his stinky, old, well-worn, and much loved Deuter backpack.
My brother taking in the views towards Kinbasket Lake below
With freshly rested legs, we continued upward, bringing us to McKirdy Cabin. This rustic backcountry cabin is available to rent for overnight stays in the meadow. But we had other plans, and continued on towards the ridge, and again upwards to the summit of Carson’s Peak.
From here, the trail became a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure, and we scrambled up the steep, grassy slope towards a rocky outcrop. We worked our way to this false summit, pausing for a quick glimpse of the views, before pressing onward.
To our dismay, not much further into our ascent, a patch of snow and ice covered the narrow ridge ahead. This narrow ridge served as the only path to the true peak, and wasn't safely passable with the snow. We turned back towards the false summit - it would have to do.
We took solace in the stupendous views surrounding us in every direction. The views could easily mislead anyone into thinking we were on top of a mountain. We could even see Mount Robson in the distance!
We took a well-earned break, basking in the views, before reluctantly heading back down towards the vehicle. There's a special feeling that comes with sharing moments in the outdoors with family, and this hike served as a reminder that I want to try to maximize every opportunity I can to make those memories!
Looking for inspiration on where to go hiking? Stop in to your local Campers Village. The store guides are all incredibly knowledgeable on some of the best adventures Western Canada has to offer. Whether you are a full-on beginner, or a seasoned-pro, we can almost guarantee we can point you in the direction of a hike that's guaranteed to put a smile on your face.