The trail leads up through the forest, following just to the south of Murdo Creek, until it hits a logging road (possibly Murdo FSR?). The area around this section of the trail is being actively logged and you will hit a small, recently logged area just as the trail emerges onto the logging road. Turn left onto the logging road and follow it upwards, ignoring any branches to the right. You will pass another small, recently logged area to the right. After about 30 minutes of hiking uphill, the road becomes less steep. Watch carefully on the right hand side of the road for trail makers.
The trail leaves the logging road before Murdo Creek and continues uphill through second growth forest. 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.
Now 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. From here, you get your first glimpse into the neighbouring valley to the east (presumably with Cascade Creek at the bottom of this valley). 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.
When we reached the top, the view was partially obscured by clouds, however we could see Stave Lake far below to the West, and we had a brief view of the Fraser Valley, suggesting outstanding views on a clearer day.
Travel east on the Lougheed Highway for about six and a half km past Mission. Turn left onto Sylvester Road (watch for the sign to Cascade Falls.) Follow Sylvester Road northwards until it ends. Do not turn right to Cascade Falls Regional Park. After about 15 km, Sylvester Road turns into Lost Creek FSR (a well-graded gravel road that is fine for 2WD vehicles). Follow Lost Creek FSR for about two or three km, watching for Davis Lake through the trees on your left. Ignore the right turn onto Murdo FSR. Once you reach Davis Lake, stop and park as soon as you reach the bridge over Murdo Creek (opposite the lake). The Trailhead is on the right-hand side, a few paces south of the bridge and is clearly marked with red tape. It heads uphill in an easterly direction away from the Lost Creek FSR.
If you have a high clearance 4wd, you may want to try following the Murdo FSR. Apparently it crosses the trail much higher up the mountainside. We tried this but quickly found the waterbars to be too deep for our Ford Escape, so we started hiking from the trailhead at Davis Lake.
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Posted By: markkamp76
- Fri May 24 23:39:51 EDT 2013
UpsideMcKay is beautiful.
DownsideSnow, and marking below the lake.
CommentI tried this climb on May 24, 2013 but got stopped by large amounts of snow below the lake. I made it to the lake and had to end my journey there. I will try it in August or September. Does anyone have a good idea when it will be melted?
Posted By: indianabrown
- Wed Jul 02 21:51:06 EDT 2008
CommentDespite the previous comments, we found this trail hard to follow. One possible reason for this is that a lot of the trail markers were buried in snow :-) We are new to hiking and did not expect that much snow on the 1st of July in 26 degree weather. Despite having a Garmin and several maps, we lost the trail completely on two occasions, running into another confused couple who ended up turning around. We were able to push through and find the trail again. We have posted our GPS info ... it is very accurate until about the 980 meter mark where we turned around, then it is an estimation based on waypoints we found on other sites. Should be reasonably accurate to the top.<BR><BR>Despite the difficulties, it is a very beautiful trail with incredible views and well worth the hike. Hope the GPS keeps others on track where we got lost .. we will definitely try this one again when there is less snow to hide the markers.<BR>
Posted By: awaldner
- Sun Mar 12 19:48:34 EST 2006
Downsideoh wow do not do this hike in March!! we were trecken through snow up to our knees....unless you have snow shoes....
Commentit was all in all a great place and we are going to try it again in April....
Posted By: Christineholroyd
- Tue Sep 27 18:46:40 EDT 2005
Upsideawesome hike! I was lucky enough to get perfect late summer weather, with clear skies which made for some wicked views. It is a challenge if your new to hiking like myself, but don't let that discourage you. Just when I started to think I couldn't make it much further the trail would flatten out long enough to get my second wind. Good directions and clearly marked trails too....no complaints about this one!
Posted By: Omega2000
- Mon Jul 25 16:03:49 EDT 2005
Upsidegreat views, trail well marked... great review from TimG... directions were right on the money.
DownsideNot too many. The constant uphill walk and steep section above Mackay Lake may discourage some people.
CommentWe did this hike on 23 July and it was great. The weather was fairly decent (about 21C and hazy). It would have been nice if the clouds had totally lifted by the time we reached the peak, because I am sure that the views (although beautful) would be spectacular on a clear day. We parked right before the bridge about 2.5km up the gravel road. There is plenty of space to park there and the trailhead is there too. It was marked with orange/red flagging. The trail is well trodden and marked by orange sqaures and flagging. The walk up the logging road is a constant grind, but be careful not to miss the turn off that leads up to Mackay Lake after you have been walking up the logging road for about 30 minutes. Again this trail was marked with lots of flagging, but could be easily missed if you're not paying attention. Once on this trail it is about 30 minutes before you reach the lake and you pass through forests and lots of Salmonberry bushes. I would be careful because we saw a lot of fresh bear droppings and bear tracks as well. Once you reach Mackay Lake you still have about 1-1.5 hours to go before you reach the top. Mackay Lake isn't all that big, but it is fairly picturesque and we took some time to admire the view. The trail gets very steep fairly soon after the lake and for the next 30-45 minutes you will have to walk up a very steep section. The trail here is still in very good condition, but there are some parts where there is some loose gravel/small rocks and there were also some wet slippery sections so take extra care going through these parts. Once you reach the saddle and go up along the ridge you can catch your breath. Once you reach the small pond on the ridge the trail goes to the south and you walk up to the top from the south. The trail isn't that steep (only one part where we had to scramble up a rock) and it is only about 20 minutes to the peak from here. We walked to the north end of the peak where the views were the nicest, but be aware that there are cliffs on almost everyside so be extra cautious. Even with a 1/2 stop at the top we managed to do this hike in 5.5 hours. I had my GPS unit with me and my best estimate is that from the parking to the peak is about a 3300ft gain in elevation, so it is a good work out. The best news is that once you get to the top it's downhill all the way back to the car. I'd recommend this hike to anyone and I would like to do it again sometime when it's 100% clear to really enjoy the views.