September 26, 2009
This past weekend I had the opportunity to hike Mt. Arrowsmith which is located just outside of Port Alberni. It is the highest mountain in southern Vancouver Island at 1819 metres. My friend Chris and I chose the Judges Route as it was probably the most accessible route to the top and less technical than the others (quickest way to the top I believe). The trail to the top is steep (elevation gain of about 1000 metres) and is about 6 km round trip and should take about 5 hours round trip. We did it in 4 hours – 2 hours up and 2 hours down. The views on the top are simply breathtaking. You get a 360 degree view of the Alberni Valley and the mountains in Strathcona Park (on a clear day of course).
For pictures of Mt. Arrowsmith, click here
Directions on how to get there (Judges Route Trailhead):
There was some confusion on how to get to the Judges Route trailhead. Some of the sites out there provide different directions so I will hopefully clear things up. If you are coming from southern Vancouver Island follow Highway 19 and then take Highway 4 heading west to Port Alberni. You will go through Cathedral Grove and Cameron Lake. Just west (approx 1 km) of the Alberni Summit you will need to watch for a gravel road on the left side (this is Summit Main). There is a small sign that says “Mt. Arrowsmith” at the start of the gravel road so make sure you don’t miss it. If you are coming the other direction, it is about 5.5 km from the Visitor Information Centre (travelling east) and turn right onto Summit Main. There is no “Mt Arrowsmith Ski Hill” sign so make sure you slow down and watch for a gravel road. After you’ve found Summit Main, it is a good idea to set your trip meter to zero here. Follow Summit Main for 2.7 km to the junction with Cameron Main. Turn left and drive 7.7 km to the Pass Main junction on your left. Drive about 2.8 km up Pass Main to the intersection of Pass 32 (I think it’s Pass 32 but just follow your trip meter). You will see a sign “Judges” on the right. Park a little further up Pass Main on the left side. Enjoy the hike!