Added by Jessica Reid
Green Mountain is an abandoned ski hill outside Nanaimo that offers stunning views year-round. From sunny meadows filled with flowers in the spring, to crisp snowy slopes in the winter, the drive is well worth it.
Green Mountain is located out in the Nanaimo Lakes area and used to be a ski hill back in the 60's. There was a lodge and even a t-bar to get you up the hill (both of which are nothing more than dilapidated remains now). The mountain's ski-based past becomes apparent as you hike up through countless cleared paths snaking through the trees alongside giant metal poles that once operated the t-bar.
Getting to Green Mountain is not exactly easy. I'd definitely recommend using a GPS track to get up there, both for the road in and for the hike itself. To get there, head out Nanaimo River Road towards the Nanaimo Lakes campgrounds. Both the first gate and the second gate have to be open in order to get through, so check on Timber West's blog to see their hours. The first half of the drive is on gravel logging roads, but the last half gets pretty rough pretty quick. Keep driving on the main road, ignoring all of the spurs. The signs say N/L Main. In about 15 minutes, you'll reach a fork. The road to the right is covered in flagging tape and the sign says M - do NOT take this road! Take a left over the bridge instead, continuing on N/L Main. Keep following the main road and ignore all of the spurs. In about 10 more minutes you'll reach a huge fork in the road. Take a left - you'll see a sign that says K branch (the other way is unmarked).
Now here is where we almost missed it. Once you are on K, keep an eye out for a little spur road branching off to your left that immediately starts heading up hill. Take that left! If you see a sign with an old shot up dart board and random naked lady pictures on it, then you've missed the turn. Once you take that turn, it's a long hard grind up switchbacks to get to the trail head. The road is deactivated (cross ditches dug at regular intervals), steep, and covered in large, sharp rocks. The giant cliff that you're driving along doesn't help either. This is where a 4x4 is necessary. We drove up in a 2 wheel drive truck and although we made it, it was a dangerous choice and I would not recommend it. There is really only one big cross ditch that requires a 4x4, and it's still a long way to the trail from there so parking and walking is not an option. There is red/orange flagging tape the entire way up to the trail head, so just follow that and you'll be good to go. About forty minutes in or so, there is another fork in the road. Take the left - follow the red flagging tape. We ended up parking pretty shortly after the fork because the ditches were getting bigger and snowy, but it was only a short walk to the official trail head sign from there.
Once you reach the trailhead, it's smooth sailing. There are lots of trails criss-crossing up the mountain, but we seemed to be following the one that was more dominant than the rest. It was hard to tell because very quickly we were up to our shins in snow!
Total drive time (one way): 1 hour 20 minutes. Total hiking time (leaving the truck to getting back to the truck): about 3 hours
- Hiking poles
- Winter survival gear (if going in that season)
- Toque and gloves - it can get windy up there!
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