Jim Kelly Peak
BC-Kamloops/Thompson / Coquihalla
140 min driving from Kelowna, BC
Downloading the GPS log for the trail is HIGHLY recommended.
This easy-to-find trail nestled in the Coquihalla mountain range offers unparalleled vistas of the surrounding peaks, and views of countless ponds and lakes. Begin the trail on Tulameen FSR and park at the fork to the right just after the 19 km FSR road marker. This will mean an extra 3.5 km of hiking each way, but will save a vehicle from some pretty serious paint job damage as the road has become very overgrown. However, the route in up to this point is essentially a dirt-road super-highway.
Once reaching the clearing on the trail, notice some old worn-out signs and head to the right down the trail beyond the large log sawn in half. The trail is slightly overgrown for roughly half a kilometre, until reaching a small creek. The trail widens and follows beneath much taller pine trees as the slope begins to dramatically increase. Prepare for a good cardio workout for the next 3 km until reaching the alpine meadows.
At these meadows, the trail becomes difficult to follow. This is where way finding begins. Notice two larger ponds to the right, and continue walking straight through the meadow over the crest of the hill ahead (and often a small snow drift right up until mid-summer). After 2.5 km since hitting the meadows, hikers reach a larger crystal clear pond with shale bottom on the left. A great 6-foot deep dip before the final scramble. This is an excellent place to end the hike with children.
From here, head up the very loose pancake-like shale directly behind the pond and notice the large Jim Kelly Peak right in front of you. There is no trail, and hikers must way-find their route to the summit. There are a number of crests which appear as false-summits while climbing. From the pond at the bottom of the hill to the summit is a mere 1.7 km each way, but it can easily take 45 minutes.
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