Mount St. Benedict

July 19, 2009

To reach the trailhead drive east from Mission for 7 km (4.4 mi) to turn left onto Sylvester Road. Zero your odometer here. Follow this road north which, as it changes to a gravel surface at 16 km (9.9 mi), becomes the Lost Creek Forest Service Road. Drive ahead where the Lost Murdo Forest Service Road goes right. Another 2.6 km (1.6 mi) takes you to the bridge crossing over Murdo Creek. Park on the west of the road north of the creek.

Walk back across the bridge to find the trail, marked with orange tape, cutting up the bank to the east. There are some fine second growth Douglas firs as you ascend across the trail.

Walk back across the bridge and look for the trailhead on your left

The trailhead is close to Davis Lake Provincial Park. The park represents unique ecology that is not commonly found in the Lower Mainland area, including a virtually pure western hemlock stand and prime bird habitat.

Less than a half hour up the hillside you arrive on the Lost Murdo Forest Service Road, walk left up this road for about 15 minutes to a right-hand switchback where you go straight ahead on an older road.

Top: Switchback, go left
Bottom: Views from the old road

From the road it is possible to have partial views of the Lower Mainland.

The Lower Mainland is considered to have a high vulnerability to flood risk. There have been two major floods, the largest in 1894 and the second largest in 1948.

Fraser River and the Lower Mainland

According to the Fraser Basin Council, scientists predict a one-in-three chance of a similar-sized flood occurring in the next 50 years.

After less than than 1 hour of road-walking, the trail goes off the road. Watch carefully on the right hand side of the road for trail makers.

Trail goes off road

As you move uphill you can occassionally see that this has been a road at one time - although now just for foot traffic.

After roughly half an hour of walking up this trail, you will emerge at McKay Lake. This small but beautiful lake lies at the foot of a tall cliff beneath Mount St. Benedict.

The trail skirts around the lake to the left for a few paces before it hits the point where Murdo Creek drains out of the lake. Several logs have dammed the mouth of the lake and you must walk across these before continuing up the trail.

McKay Lake

The trail leaves the lake and quickly becomes very steep. It climbs straight up through the forest to a saddle between Mount St. Benedict and a peak to the north.

The trail now leads to the right along a ridge and flattens out to a pond and very small meadow at the base of another steep cliff. The final peak of Mount St. Benedict looms overhead. The trail leads to the left of the pond, and curls around the side of the cliff, climbing to the top of Mount St. Benedict.

The peak gives a perspective from the west side of Stave Lake. Stave Lake is a hydroelectric reservoir in the Stave River system. The main arm of the lake is just over 20 km long, and there is a southwest arm ending at Stave Falls Dam about 9.5 km long. The original lake occupied about a third of the space of the main arm.

Top: Stave Lake

There is a Benedictine monastery above the town of Mission and many of the monks have been active in the mountains. One of their group was responsible for this peak's official name.

Pond and trail view from the top

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Coordinates not available at this time
N49.30643 W122.19947 Trailhead

Distance One Way: 5.5 km (3.4 mi)
Total Time: 6 hours
Elevation gain: 1030 m (3380 ft)

Driving distance from Vancouver: 94 km (58 mi)
About 1 hour 36 mins

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