This hike offers some great privacy as the number of people traveling up this trail is relatively low. Set up camp on one of the tent platforms with views of surrounding peaks and beautiful sub-alpine lakes.

The hike starts at the Westmin mine parking lot, located 2 hours north of Courtenay. To find the start of the trail you need to walk 50 metres down a dirt road from the parking area. You will see a sign for Phillips ridge, which marks the start of your journey.

The trail starts in a relatively flat area, which is packed tight with trees. After about 20 minutes, the trail becomes steeper and turns into switchbacks; this part of the hike is grueling and a lot of water breaks are recommended. Most of the elevation gained on this hike is done in these short switchbacks, which are separated by stretches of flat areas covered in beautiful large rocks concealed by lush deep green moss. The trail gets very skinny at certain points and it is crucial to keep steady footing as to avoid a long slide down the forest floor which is covered in dead trees and bramble. There are multiple creeks and waterfalls running down parallel to the path which add visual interest. At certain points along the path you get a clear view of a snow covered Mt. Myra which majestically towers over the valley below.

Once at Arnica lake, sit back relax and enjoy the gorgeous calm waters with views of Mt. Myra and the other surroundings peaks which loom behind the lake. Bring rope to string up food as there are no bear caches at the camping area. Black bears and cougars have been spotted in greater numbers in this area so keep an eye on all pets.

Pack List

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Camp stove
  • Photo gear
  • Swim trunks
  • Rope
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RT Distance 7.5 Miles
Elevation Gain 2624.7 Feet
Activities Chillin, Camping, Photography, Swimming, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Adult Beverages
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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