Mount Trudeau Trail # 14


This trail was built by Joe Nusse, Noland Germain and crew in the early 2000's. It begins near km 14.7 on the West Ridge Forest Road and ascends through old logging. Crossing a creek on a foot-log, the trail climbs steeply to high benchlands and arrives at open subalpine wetlands in the basin above. Near the upper end of the basin is a small round lake, which is a popular swimming spot for whole families of hikers in summer. This basin is also frequented by whole families of grizzly bears, so it is advisable to look for recent signs of grizzlies such as tracks or scats, and if something recent is noticed, perhaps plan to continue your hike another day. August is probably the most bear-free month in this basin but bears may be seen here whenever they are not hibernating.

Dominating the upper end of this basin is Mount Pierre Elliott Trudeau, named after Canada's 15th prime minister in 2006 and dedicated by Justin Trudeau at a ceremony in Valemount in June of that year. This mountain is one of the peaks of the Premier Range, many of which are named after former Prime ministers of Canada. The summit is accessible for hikers but for the average hiker it is best to go with someone who knows a route that does not cross the line into technical mountaineering.

On a bench part way up the headwall are several alpine lakes including a couple of quite sizeable ones. Beyond the lakes, it is possible to scramble to the summit of the mountain by climbing directly up from the lakes, although there are a few feet of somewhat exposed scrambling just below the summit. A less exposed route exists on the opposite side of the peak. Ascend from the upper lakes to a low point in the ridge to the right of the main peak, cross a large snowfield and circle around behind the peak. Traverse around another ridge until overlooking the headwaters of Hystad Creek, and then work your way up toward the main peak, gaining the ridge-top about 200m below the summit and following it to the peak. From this description you can see that a traverse of the peak is possible, beginning and ending at the Mount Trudeau trailhead and looping over the peak to and from the upper lakes.

Getting There:

Same as for the West Ridge Loop (high altitude end) above, except continue on the West Ridge Forest Road to the large Mount Trudeau Trail sign at about km. 14.5.

Hiking Time:

Allow about 3 to 4 hours for the round trip to and from the lower lake, plus time to go swimming or enjoy the flowers and scenery. Another 2 to 3 hours will be needed to visit the upper lakes and return. The peak can be climbed by strong hikers in a reasonable full day.