Heather Mountain Hustle

In Activity, Clubs, Cowichan Valley Regional District, Hiking, Island Mountain Ramblers, Regional Districts by Explorington2 Comments

When the weather turned to crap on October 28th, we abandoned our plan to summit Steven Peak in the Tlupana Range and turned our eyes to something much closer to home: Heather Mountain.

You may be surprised to read that I haven’t done this common south island hike, but the long logging road approach never really appealed to me, when there are so many other objectives on our list that don’t require 15 kilometres of walking on hard, unaesthetic logging road. However, earlier that week, I caught wind that the gate might be open and sent Phil a message about the possibility. Rather than walk through the downpour of rain on an unknown route on an unfamiliar mountain, we decided to make an easy day of it.

hiking to Heather Mountain on Vancouver Island

an idyllic mountain scene

We got lucky! Indeed, we did find the gate unlocked. Even better, we found that a kind soul had brushed out the upper sections of the old logging road, creating what I’ll refer to as an ATV track to the end of the road.

Total Distance: 4.8km
Starting Elevation: 1053 Em
Maximum Elevation: 1346 m
Total Elevation Gain: 392 m
Total Time: 2h 12 m

Because we were able to park above 1000 metres elevation, the hike itself was incredibly short, not even three hours–hardly worth the whole day we had planned for our original hike. However, even in the pouring rain and blistering wind, the hike was enjoyable. It’s a lovely hike with minimal to no bush and low alpine meadows, following a maze of boot tracks to the summit.

hiking to Heather Mountain on Vancouver Island

great parking spot at 1050m. Little did we know our hike would be just over two hours.

hiking to Heather Mountain on Vancouver Island

another meadow?

hiking to Heather Mountain on Vancouver Island

into the ether

It was well before noon when we got back to the vehicles, so to extend the day we stopped off for a beer and lunch in Duncan. And this is how I ended up in a restaurant enjoying a beverage and some bites, with a great group of friends on a sunny afternoon. Yes, that’s right: by the time we arrived in Duncan, the skies were blue and not a drop of rain was falling. Oh well, I’ll hit up this peak another time with my children.

As for the ATV track that made the trip so easy, that was the real adventure of the day. In the highest elevations, the road is rough. Rick and I each made it through the terrain to the bottom of the trail, but in the process of doing that, I knocked the kayak racks off (recovered with minimal damage), ripped off my antenna (ordered a new one on Amazon), cracked my bumper, and busted the right turn signal wide open (second time this year).

Gosh, I love hiking.

hiking to Heather Mountain on Vancouver Island

into the ether

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Matthew is an adventure blogger and photographer. He documents his adventures on explorington.com. His stories create a vivid backdrop that give his photographs cotext. He finds his adventures with the Island Mountain Ramblers, and whenever possible, his family joins his adventures.


  1. Wow, late season but talk about lucky with the gate!! Was there still blueberries left? I’ve hiked it from Little Shaw Camp a few times; in the fall there are so many blueberries!

    1. Author

      Hi Rob, there we no blueberries. We were far too late in the season, most of the leaves were changing, and any berries were fermenting on the stalk.

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