Added by Natalie R
This challenging hike has rewarding views of the fin-shaped Vicuna Peak and other striking granite mountains in the Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area.
The Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area is a zone comprised of several oddly shaped granite peaks. A few of these mountains demand your attention while driving along the Coquihalla Highway, but many remain hidden and require backroad exploration and elevation gain to be seen. Guanaco Peak is reasonably accessible with 4WD or 2WD with high clearance. This hike presents a few challenges along the trail, but has an incredibly rewarding view of nearby mountains.
FYI: We saw frequent bear poop, the mosquitoes were relentless, and we had to walk the last 6 km of the Forest Service Road adding an extra hour each way.
DRIVING DIRECTIONS: To access the trailhead, take exit 228 (headed East-bound) off the Coquihalla Highway and turn at the second Left toward the Coldwater River; this road will take you on an overpass over the highway. Turn Right, go over a bridge, past the Works Yard and begin on the Upper Coldwater FSR. Once you begin on this road, stay right whenever the road branches. At 8km you will reach the Zum Peak parking lot. Cars with 2WD abilities should park here and walk the additional, but level, 6km to the trailhead, 4WD cars can continue 6km to the trail head, (be warned the bushes and trees grow densely over the road and will scratch your car). Right before the trailhead, your will drive over a small, rocky creak. Stay straight at the Y-junction, and park in front of a berm with a lone vertical trunk behind it.
TRAIL DESCRIPTION: The unofficial trail begins on a path to the Left of the berm. You immediately cross a shallow river, and head along an overgrown trail with lots of bush-whacking. Keep your eyes up so you don’t miss a small cairn about 10 minutes up the trail on the Left which guides you over a small wooden bridge and to the official start of the trail where you will see a wooden sign on a large boulder marking the trail.
For the next hour, make your way up the soft pine-bedded trail, over a few fallen trunks and catch a glimpse of the neighboring mountains through the gaps in the trees. You will reach your first sight of the granite slab about 1-1.5 hours in and soon reach the wet section of the trail. For approx. 30 minutes, expect your feet to get wet and muddy; a misplaced step ended with mud up to our knees. After passing through another forested section of the trail, you’ll reach a boulder field with a step carved boulder, then head through more forest before reaching the top boulder field. Cross the boulder field and trail NE along the base of Vicuna to access both Vicuna and Guacano Peak. Vicuna requires technical climbing skills, but Guacano is accessible to those able to scramble over a few boulders as it has a more gradual incline to the peak. The top offers spectacular 360 views.
Time: allow 6-7 hrs
- 10 essentials
- Water-proof boots
- Bug spray is a must
- Bear spray/repellent
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