Distance: 8km (5 miles) roundtrip. Duration: 3.5 hours. Elevation gain: 625m (2,000 ft). Spectacular 360 degree mountain views from the summit. Great day hike close to Nelson.

The hike up Toad Mountain provides a great view over Nelson and it's surrounding mountain peaks. From the summit, a 360 degree view gives you a great spot to look at the distant Valhallas, Kokanee Glacier, Purcells and lower Selkirks.

The main challenge to hiking Toad Mountain is access. The road to the trailhead is quite steep and challenging - 4wd or clearance is recommended. To get to the parking lot, turn onto Giveout Creek Rd about 6.5km (4 mi) south of Nelson on HWY 6. From here, turn left onto Gold Creek FSR after 1.6km (1 mi). Follow this steep road up the hill, staying on the main road at all intersections. After 12km (7.5 mi) of climbing you will reach an obvious carpark where the old Silver King mine used to be.There is a small sign pointing up the road to the trailhead. It is worth getting a copy of a backroad map for this journey.

The trailhead itself is about 500m (0.3 mi) up the steep muddy 4wd road. From the trailhead, the trail is easily to follow, albeit very steep for the first 45 minutes to the first summit. Once the first summit is reached, traverse the ridge toward Toad and make the final ascent. The summit should be reached by fit hikers in about 1.5 to 2 hours. The ridgewalking gives you great views out over every direction and is some of the most enjoyable walking within the immediate vicinity of Nelson. Enjoy the views and keep an eye out for Toads!

Pack List

  • Water
  • Good hiking boots
  • Backroad maps
  • Lunch and snacks
  • Photography equipment
  • Bear spray
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Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer, Autumn
Easy Parking


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Overall rating: 

Gnarly access to the trailhead

I think it's worth pointing out that after the right turn 7km past the first turn (as other commenters have pointed out) it's another 5-6 kms to the trailhead (so about 13-14 kms in total from the highway turn off)...and shortly before the trailhead there's one more fork that can be confusing. One road goes to the right and starts downhill, the other goes to the left and climbs further. Stay left. I was there late September 2017...there were three vehicles parked just below the actual parking lot because the road becomes almost impassable unless you have a serious offroad vehicle. I was able to squeeze behind a vehicle pulled off to the side as much as possible, with just enough room for vehicles to go by...but it would be a challenge to find somewhere to park if more than a handful of vehicles were there. The road was a lot gnarlier than I expected...I did see an older model Subaru Outback there but I imagine it bottomed out a couple times getting there. It's a beautiful and very steep hike; hiking poles wouldn't be a bad idea...

Really nice hike overall.

Poorly signed on the drive up, so pay attention to the tree with the signs on the left of the road (7km) and turn right. (Main sign at this turn says SOFT ROAD-unmaintained, along with a small realty sign pointing up the road, and you will continue to see this same realty sign on the way to the Silver King Parking lot). Many hikers overshoot this turn if going by the old directions citing to stay on the "main road" after the Gold Creek FSR turn off. A bit baffling why there would be no Silver King/Toad Mountain signage at the most important intersections but now you know. Turn left at Gold Creek FSR at 1.6ish Kms, continue on Gold Creek road and turn right at 7km where you will see the tree on the left with the SOFT ROAD signage. There can also be some confusion at the parking lot, so continue up the road to the trail head for around 500 metres and you will see an actual, real life Toad Mountain Trail sign. This is an excellent ridge hike considering the proximity to Nelson (You can make it to the trail head parking lot from Nelson city limits in under an hour in an AWD vehicle with decent clearance). There is a cool little alpine lake to check out adjacent to the Toad Mountain trail head, and the views are great at the top of Toad and along the way. Clear cuts and active logging detract from the experience somewhat, but the ridgewalk(s) and view more than make up for it. While steep at the beginning, the trail undulates and is not overly arduous. Just bring food, water, proper clothing and take breaks as needed. I came across seniors (fit) and families with children ranging from teenagers to under 10 on this trail, so it can be done by most people with a moderate level of fitness.

over 2 years ago


There is no map of the road into the parking lot near the head of the Trail. Lots of logging roads lead off in different directions.

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