Bear Mountain

July 6, 2008

To reach the trailhead drive to Harrison Hot Springs. In Harrison, on the first stop turn right onto Lillooet Avenue and follow it for almost 5 km as it turns up the east side of the lake. Near the top of a hill, a rough road forks off right. Park here and do not block the gate. Starting you hike you will see the road is signed as Bear Mountain Forest Service Road.

After passing the gate you start gaining altitude. After the first turn you will pass an old storage building. The mountain has been held or optioned by various operators since the early 1970's including Abo Resources Ltd., Kerr Addison Mines Ltd. and Bema International Resources Ltd.

Old storage building with mineral samples

The name of the operation is Abo Gold Project and my research shows that in 2005 Northern Continental Resources (NCR) invested $100,000 in a drilling program looking for gold. Now NCR is more concentrated in an uranium development on Rusell Lake in Saskatchewan so most likely hikers can keep accessing this place for years to come.

Very soon you will reach another turn. Take the right road.

Go right

In the old days mining was the prime resource, not forestry. Most of the mining activity was centered on the east side of Harrison Lake; silver, nickel, gold and ore are just some of the minerals associated with the geology in the area. In fact, recently with the price of metals there has been a resumption of mining interest and activity in the region.

After 45 minutes of hiking, you will arrive to a small waterfall and the only chance (unless you stop in Bear Lake) of getting cooled off. Also, this is the water source for the community at the trailhead.

Small waterfall

The road keeps ascending, for ATV riders there is a little washout that happily marks the end of their rides. Later on you will reach another junction, keep going straight.

New junction, keep going straight

After 2 hours of hiking you will reach two talus slopes and get some views of Harrison Lake. East of the lake are the Lillooet Ranges while to the west are the Douglas Ranges.

Harrison Lake is the largest lake in the southern Coast Mountains of Canada, being about 250 square kilometres in area. It is about 60 km in length and at its widest almost 9 km across. The lake is the last (and of course largest) of a series of large north-south glacial valleys tributary to the Fraser along its north bank east of Vancouver. The others to the west are the Chehalis, Stave, Alouette, Pitt, and Coquitlam Rivers.

Top - Harrison Lake
Bottom Left - Harrison River
Bottom Right - Echo Island

After leaving the viewpoints you will soon arrive at the intersection for Bear Lake to your right, and the trail to the Bear Mountain Lookout to the left.

Many years ago they were reports about Sasquatch (Bigfoot), an alleged ape-like creature living on this area. Bigfoot is a popular symbol, included as "Quatchi", one of the mascots of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and used to name both a provincial park and the annual Sasquatch Daze event in Harrison Hot Springs.

Bear Lake

Continuing towards the lookout, you will find that the trail soon gets overgrown with deadfall and trees. Stay on the main route and avoid following markers pointing to the forest (perhaps that was Sasquatch or snowshoers). The trail also becomes single track at points. Due to all the deadfall it is advisable to use hiking pants regardless of the temperature. The trail continues for another 2.5 km before you reach a not too obvious trail on your left side, the best sign being that the Service Road/Trail is going no further.

Making the left turn, the trail becomes faint, and you have to rely on your sense of direction at points. At the beginning the trail gains some altitude, and keeps to the right of a little ridge. You will slowly go left and cross some small ponds, being on the left side of a little valley. Follow the ridge as far as it goes, trying not to stride too much left. The ridge narrows as you reach your destination, the Bear Mountain lookout.

Coming out of the forest, and all of a sudden you see the whole Fraser Valley in front of you. The Cheam Mountain range straight ahead, Hope to your left, Mount Baker in the distance and on a very clear day without too much smog, Vancouver on the right. The summit is used by paragliders who helicopter to the top, then attempt to land on the beach at Harrison Hot Springs.

Today was a cloudy day, so Victor and I had to use our imagination to fix our sights in views we weren't able to see.

Top - Fraser River

A week ago, a motorhome caught fire after a transmission fluid line ruptured shooting flames into the air and creating the Jackass Mountain Fire. We saw one helicopter most likely used to control the fire.

Victor found a nest on the ground. Grouses and woodcocks nest on the ground. The nest of the grouse may be hidden amid underbrush. It is easily overlooked, being made of dry leaves with, perhaps, some feathers. In the season it contains from eight to fourteen eggs. The woodcock's nest seldom contains more than four eggs.

Left - Fire Helicopter
Right - Possible grouse nest on ground

Download Video of the Hike - 0:40 minutes
Windows - WMV File - 5.29 MB

1. N 49.3327 W 121.7507 Elev: 51m Parking Lot and Trailhead
2. N 49.3228 W 121.7468 Elev: 303m Falls
3. N 49.3128 W 121.7444 Elev: 685m Junction, ignore right road
4. N 49.3205 W 121.7343 Elev: 897m Junction, right to Bear Lake
5. N 49.3182 W 121.7345 Elev: 894m Bear Lake
-. N 49.3089 W 121.7418 Elev: 978m Km 8
6. N 49.3056 W 121.7414 Elev: 982m End of road, Km 9. Go left
7. N 49.2988 W 121.7410 Elev: 1024m Km 10, viewpoint

Roundtrip length: 20.40 km (12.75 miles)
Time: 6.5 hours
Elevation gain: 975m (3198 ft)

Download route in GTM format available for free at
Download route in plain text

Driving distance from Vancouver: 138 kilometers / 85.8 miles (1.25 hours)

Copyright © 2003 - 2009. Outdoors With Juan all rights reserved