Estekwalan Hike

Hiking Trail Information

Use of this information is entirely at your own risk and the VOC accepts no liability whatsoever for your use of any trail information on this website.   VOC clears and flags trails to facilitate group hikes lead by a VOC member.   Hazards may exist on the trails and route finding skills and navigation aids such as a GPS and/or map and compass may be required.   You must assess your own ability and readiness to hike any trail mentioned on this website.

Estekwalan Hike Description

© Vernon Outdoors Club 2020

Statistics

Hike distance              10 km round trip                     Altitude gain               702m

Hiking time                 6.5  hrs round trip                   Max altitude               1715m

Govt of Canada topo map 82 L/12                             Difficulty                     Difficult & Technical


Description:

The trail to Estekwalan Mountain should only be attempted from the most eastern trailhead and is designed to be hiked in a counter-clockwise direction. Be sure to bring leather gloves as there is a steep descent using ropes near the end of the trail. The trailhead is marked with a trail sign, and orange diamond trail markers were installed in 2020 by VOC volunteers. The trail offers a challenging hike with magnificent views in several directions.

Options: If multiple cars are brought, you could leave some at where the trail exits again on the FSR, which is 1.4km west of the trailhead. This saves the walk on the road back to the trailhead after a strenuous hike. On the other hand, if everyone parks at the trail exit, hikers get a 1.4 km easy warm up prior to the steep ascent from the trailhead.

Estekwalan is that rocky ridge rising above the Salmon River valley about 4km NW of Falkland. The trail climbs steadily through the forest, finally reaching a narrow area of open scree that you follow to the summit ridge. You can now look down on the valley of Six Mile Creek and the roads leading to Pillar lake. On a clear day to the east you can see the snow capped peaks of the Monashees. Towards the West are the rolling hills of the Nicola Plateau.

Continue scrambling up the ridge, where at some point the trail turns away in a westerly direction. Follow a nicely rounded rocky ridge that offers good views in a Southerly direction. Continue along the rock and open alpine grasslands for about 1.5km, after which you reach a steeper down-slope. Descend this area slowly, as it has loose footing, and two deep fissures to cross in the rock that are about 1m wide and 3-4m deep. Continue south and cross a small stream. The trail starts up steeply again through a forest with many dead trees from the mountain pine beetle.  At the top follow an open alpine area and drop steeply off the ridge to the west down a loose gravelly slope. Follow the trail until you come to a ridge where about 100m towards the West is a narrow crack in which you drop steeply down.

From here the trail descends very steeply down a narrow draw to the road below. About 10 climber’s ropes are in place to aid as handholds to safely descend the last 1.5km to the road below. This is where leather gloves are required to protect your hands from rope burns. A reasonable amount of grip strength is required. After the last rope, the trail meanders through a young forest back to the road, where you are about 1.4 km West of the trailhead where you started.

Note:  use of these directions is entirely at your own risk.

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Driving Directions to the Estekwalan Trailhead from Vernon

© Vernon Outdoors Club 2020

Note:  Use these directions entirely at your own risk

This route is via Westwold. It is a 74 km, 1.25 hr drive, with the final 15 km on gravel. This route has a few sections requiring high clearance, but is far superior than the very rough and deteriorating 4x4 route up the Dump Road from Falkland. The Forest Service Road (FSR) Channel is Rh-19.

  1. Drive north from Vernon on Hwy. 97 towards Kamloops.
  2. At the traffic lights of 27 Street and 48 Avenue (SE corner of the Village Green Mall parking lot), set your trip odometer to zero.
  3. Continue north on 27 Street which soon merges into Hwy 97 North.
  4. At 7.0 km stay on Hwy 97 by taking the underpass, following signage to Kamloops.  
  5. Stay on Hwy 97 passing by O’Keefe Ranch and right through the Town of Falkland (a ½ hour drive).
  6. At 58.2 km (0.7 km past the Westwold School), turn right onto Westwold Station Road.  There is a sign posted.
  7. At 59.4 km stay right at the cattleguard.
  8. At 59.7 km stay right at the Landfill.
  9. At 63.6 stay right on Station Bay FSR.
  10. At 69.1 km stay right onto the Rob Roy FSR.
  11. At 72.0 km is the Exit Trailhead. It is a good idea to drop off a vehicle here to enable a vehicle shuffle after the hike is over. This avoids a 1.4 km walk at the end of the day after this strenuous hike.
  12. At 73.4 km park at the Estekwalan Trailhead.

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