NTS Map:92F2. Mt Arrowsmith at 1819 meters is the highest mountain in southern Vancouver Island. This hike will take you up Mt. Arrowsmith along the Judges route, the easiest and quickest way up. The route is about 6 kilometers round trip, should take about 5 hours round trip and has an elevation gain of about 1000 meters.
This route is non-technical, but steep and some scrambling is required in the last third to reach the summit. Any fit person - with solid experience on steep ascents/descents, and comfortable with loose dirt and shale for much of the trail - should be able to do this route. The 360 views from the top are fantastic. On clear days you will be able to see the Coast Mountains, the mountains in Strathcona Park, the sea on the west coast and you even get to sign your name in the summit registry to prove that you made it. In winter, bring an ice axe and crampons, snowshoes can also be useful.
The trail begins from the parking lot by heading down the road the way you came up and making a left up the road. Keep going on this road until the very end (25 minutes) and you will see the trail start on your left. For the next length of time keep following the well worn path and look for flagging. You will also get chances to enjoy the views of the Port Alberni Valley and the mountains in Strathcona Provincial Park. After about 2 hours you will come to a view point and if you look at Arrowsmith you will be able to see a radio tower. Here you will want to make a right and head upwards. Once at the top enjoy the views and sign the summit registry. In summer prepare to share the summit with other hikers as this is a very popular hike.
Caution: WINTER ASCENTS COULD INVOLVE AVALANCHE HAZARD, CHECK ONLINE REPORTS AT CAA, BE AVALANCHE AWARENESS TRAINED (CAA), CARRY WINTER GEAR INCLUDING TRANSCEIVERS.
Follow highway 4 out to Port Alberni, at the top of the bump before Port Alberni you will see a sign for Arrowsmith Ski Hill sign, make a left here. In about 20 minutes you will be at the trail head, watch for logging trucks. Drive about 3 km and then turn left on Cameron River Main. You will now start heading up a bit of grade. The road itself is in good condition in this area. Go for about 3 kms, look on your right for a road heading up (about the 4th road) with flagging. You can drive your vehicle up here (very rough for cars), park near the boulders or go about 100 meters further and park on the left in a parking area. Remember on the way back, you will come to a fork in the road, you want to make a right here. The road condition at the time was a bit rough but nothing most cars couldn't handle (assuming you don't mind roughing your car a bit) and all car based SUVs.
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Posted By: TekyJeff
- Tue Jun 11 07:40:04 UTC 2019
QuestionMy wife and I climbed Judges Route for the first time on 09Jun2019. Great climb. Great weather. Very little snow left, but a few flakes falling on us as we reached the top. Found a hat at the top. Seems brand new. Anyone lose one in the past few days? Describe it (make, colour, description) and it's yours.ANSWERS are in this forum: Looking for owner of a hat
Posted By: ssoros3
- Fri Nov 04 01:36:20 UTC 2016
Questiontrying to use my garmin etrex 30 but having a hard time figuring it out. someone please helpANSWERS are in this forum: garmin etrex30
Aug, 2016: There may have been a sign at one point but we didn't see one this month. The access road is Loon Lake Main - unmarked as far as we could tell -- there is a sign on Hwy 4 warning of logging trucks -- it is just west of the Port Alberni Summit - if you are coming from the east, you have gone too far if you see Elkford Road. Once on Loon Lake it's easy to figure out the way to the trailhead and key roads, like Pass Main, are clearly marked.
Posted By: ebner
- Wed Aug 24 20:43:37 UTC 2016
UpsideGreat challenging hike. DownsideDifficult - this is not the Chief (Squamish) or the Grouse Grind. The trail is largely loose dirt/shale. Nearer the top, there are scrambles. For good hikers, it's not especially difficult. For an average hiker, it is quite difficult. CommentHighly recommended for strong hikers. But a recent post notes that it is definitely a challenge. First, it is steep the whole way, as can be seen from the topo map. The trail is somewhat deteriorated, going from lots of loose dirt, to lots of loose rock. There are scrambles towards the top. Not tough -- but those without experience might be daunted. Much more difficult than popular hikes around Vancouver -- but that said anyone who is comfortable with a challenge will really like this one.
Posted By: dar6live
- Mon Aug 22 15:42:27 UTC 2016
CommentOthers have posted updated directions to parking. We did not finish hike. Went with another person that had done this 4 or 5 years ago and indicated that trail has not been maintained. Much tougher hike than had anticipated. Most people were turning back when they realized at the 1 1/2 or 2 hour mark they were not close to summit. Hard uphill but downhill was grapping trees, roots, rocks to break yourself from falling. Most people were frustrated. If you go, not sure poles would help, wear gloves, hardy hiking footwear and know that descent is continual slipping and slidding
Posted By: Exeter
- Sat Apr 11 17:57:12 UTC 2015
QuestionI would like to hike up Arrowsmith but I'm not sure how worried I should be driving on the logging roads up to the trail head. Does anyone know if the logging roads are active, If I'll need a CV radio to call out km?ANSWERS are in this forum: Logging Roads
Posted By: brickh34d
- Fri Apr 10 00:00:41 UTC 2015
I was thinking about going up Mt. Arrowsmith in April. Although I am experienced, I'd love to have someone coming with me, maybe even someone who has already been on top.
Would anyone recommend/not recommend going up around this time of year? I am glad for any comments/thoughts!
DETAILS are in this forum: Mount Arrowsmith - middle of April 2015
Posted By: lefty
- Tue Mar 31 21:58:05 UTC 2015
QuestionHas anyone hiked Mt. Arrowsmith Judges Route recently? I am just curious if there is much snow. Any information would be appreciated.
Lefty,,ANSWERS are in this forum: Mt. Arrowsmith Judges route
Posted By: Stasher
- Sat Oct 04 16:04:58 UTC 2014
UpsideIt was a nice day out and the views from the top were terrific. The whole route was well flagged to the summit. DownsideThe blue marked rocks on the fireroad up to the trailhead may confuse others (we met a couple that did take it). It looks like the trail you would take but there is no marking telling you to continue right to the dead end to the actual Judges trailhead. The only thing that takes away from the view are all the microwave towers on the summit. CommentI cant wait to camp overnight in the lakes down off the southeast of the summit and explore all the other routes that make this a great destination for several more trips.
Posted By: DonM
- Fri Aug 22 07:21:34 UTC 2014
CommentThe road from the "hump" is no longer marked as a ski road. It is, however, where it is supposed to be and is the only road there. Worthwhile setting the trip odometer now. The first part of this road is not well used but soon joins with a network of recently used logging roads. Stay to the right and downhill and you should join with the Cameron Main in 2.5 km...turn left onto this active hauling road. Follow the Cameron Main, staying left at each of the three Ys. You'll cross Cameron Creek after the first Y and a smaller creek at the 2nd Y. The third Y will have you turning to the North. At 11K start looking for the boulder on the right side of the road and the parking spaces on the left just after. Walk up the logging road beside the boulder and, as directed by Bambi, stay to the OLD (inconspicuous) road to the right (5 min in). DO NOT continue (as we did) up the NEW logging road that continues to the north and higher than the old road. Like the OLD road, it takes 25 min to walk, but does not produce a trailhead!!!!! We bushwhacked from the end of this road and got as far as a rocky ridge beneath the Arrowsmith Summit...steep, lots of rocks and gullys. Views? Yes, amazing...and blue huckleberries like I've never tasted before. But no summit! Did I see any signage pertaining to the trail, anywhere? None. Some orange ribbon in a few places...just like the orange ribbon used by the road builders, fallers, hunters, fishers, etc in other parts of this area. So with some luck, you can find the trailhead (good on you Bambi). We eventually found it. The first few feet of it looked great...seems like it it had been recently maintained. Can't say what the rest of it is like...another day!
Oh. The NEW road is ready to log...any day. Plan accordingly and Good luck!
Posted By: Bambi
- Fri Aug 22 03:33:22 UTC 2014
CommentDifficult to find even after reading several guide books! Look for a rock on your right with a 2.7 painted on it (2.7km). It is just before where you will have to park on your left. Walk down this logging road for about 20 mins. Stay to the right (it looks like there is a new logging road since many of the guide books have been written) and don't start at the painted blue rocks- continue on the old logging road until the very end. Here you will find the trail into the forest.
Posted By: Herrmann
- Mon Feb 17 09:58:51 UTC 2014
do you think it´s possible to do the Mt. Arrowsmith in June ?ANSWERS are in this forum: Mt. Arrowsmith
Posted By: Melmidge
- Fri Jul 26 17:02:50 UTC 2013
QuestionCan kids manage this route?ANSWERS are in this forum: Kids?
Posted By: Rainbird
- Mon Jun 10 20:50:34 UTC 2013
UpsideQuickest Route to the top. Fantastic views. DownsideSteepest Route, and no water available. You bake on a hot afternoon. CommentDo this route in August or September
Posted By: julzrinny
- Sat Jul 31 20:02:19 UTC 2010
CommentA wee update on directions: There is no longer a sign directing people to the ski hill, but there is a small sign that says "Mt. Arrowsmith" tacked to a tree (easy to miss). Coming out of Port Alberni on Hwy 4, just before the break check at the pass between Port Alberni and Cathedral Grove, there is a gravel road on the right with a Mt. Arrowsmith sign. Coming into Port Alberni on Hwy 4 it's the opposite - just after the break check on the left is the road. You basically stay on that main logging road, passing a gully, two bridges, and then you start climbing up to the parking lot.
Posted By: toolbox
- Wed Aug 26 20:30:48 UTC 2009
CommentAs of right now the roads are open and the gate is unlocked. If it stays this dry it will likely be closed. Your best bet is to contact the timber company and see what is going on.
Camping on this route is harder to find. There are good camping spots if you do the saddle route and camp in the col between Cokely and Arrowsmith. There is even a pond with year round water in it.
Posted By: r2lihou
- Fri Mar 27 02:29:33 UTC 2009
Questionhello, does anyone know if there are any suitable/permitted camping areas in or around mt arrosmith? i cant seem to find any definative answers on my google machine!
thanks, dylan.ANSWERS are in this forum: arrosmith summit camping?
Posted By: baggedpiper
- Tue Jul 22 02:06:50 UTC 2008
UpsideGreat view, challenging trail, beautiful weather. DownsideTrail is getting worn, needs some work; no available water sources, be sure to pack lots!, trailhead hard to find. CommentFirst time, really fun trail!!! Weather was perfect, a bit hazy though (fires/smog?). Could see the whole Alberni valley though, plus the mountains north/south. Will definitely come back. x2 above, keep to the flagging tape.
Take it easy, with the dry weather, everything is very easily loosened and you will slip a bit, especially coming down. Poles are great on this trail.
The old road to the trailhead is barely suitable for 4x4s...only a quad or Zuki Samurai could make it easy, unless you like pinstriping. Overall a great day trip. Enjoy!
Posted By: Nordic Hunter
- Sun Aug 26 03:00:00 UTC 2007
UpsideChallening, great elevation gain in short distance. I'm told the views are amazing... DownsideSaw nothing but cloud, wind and rain, even though weather in the valley was great. CommentFirst time to the summit for every one in our party. Today we saw nothing but cloud. Weather was great all week, and down in the valley it was great too, but the whole mountain was socked in today. Will definitely be back, hopefully on a clear day. Easy to get off route on this hike, so keep your eyes on the trail and follow the flagging tape. Even still you may find yourselves on a slightly different version of the route on the way down. We ended up coming out at the washout on the old road rather than the actual trailhead, despite following flagging tape the whole way. Took 3 hours to get up and about 1.5 to get down. Take it easy on the rocks though, especially if they are wet. The hike isn't suitable for beginners, but fantastic if you've got some reasonably tough hikes under you belt. Great cardio going up, and tough on the knees coming down.