Beaufort Crest Route (in progress)

New logoThis Beaufort Range section includes both private forest lands and two parcels of Crown land surrounded by the private lands.  VITA is currently working on a co-operative agreement with private land owners to allow the Trail to traverse their lands. There is a fairly well-known route along the crest of the Beaufort Range which has been lightly used for several decades.  A search of the web will yield substantial information about the route. Apart from the substantial climb up from the Alberni valley and the descent into Cumberland, the route is at moderately high elevations (1000 – 1600 metres along the crest) through a mosaic of subalpine forest communities.  This includes semi-open mountain hemlock ‘parkland’, characterized by patches of forest interspersed with heath (heather meadows); more or less open rock along some of the ridge crest, and some closed mountain hemlock forest, locally with substantial brush/shrub cover.  The route is well-defined in most forested sections and through some of the heaths, not well-defined but easy to follow on open rock ridges, but can be difficult to follow in heather meadows and where the crest widens out (more of a hilly plateau than a ridge).  Hikers should be aware of and prepared for white-out conditions in fog and low cloud that is common along the crest even when clear, sunny conditions prevail at lower elevations.

The proposed route (from south to north) starts on the Log Train Trail, then with a climb up the steep, western slopes of the Beauforts.  Several routes are feasible but the favored route utilizes logging roads from near the McLean Mill Historic Site and then some old road and a rough trail steeply up to just north of Mt. Irwin.  Northwards from Mt. Irwin, the route is more or less along the height of land past the summits of Mt. Hal, Mt. Joan, the Squarehead, Mt. Apps, Mt. Cameron, Mt. Henry Spencer and Mt. Stubbs as far as Tsable Mtn.  The route then descends the NW ridge of Tsable into the upper Katlum valley.  A short section of road links to trail back up to the ridgeline W of the Mt. Clifton summit near Three-heather Lake (Clifton is now an optional short side trip).  The route continues along the ridgeline from west of Clifton via a light trail to and around Tsable Lake.  The Tsable Lake Trail involves a combination of light trail and old logging roads that descend to a crossing of the upper Trent River (not passable at moderate to high flows; usually easy to cross during the summer months).  From the Trent River to Cumberland, the hiker can follow various mountain biking/hiking trails (see the Trail Forks app) that are managed pursuant to a land use agreement between private forest land owners, the Village of Cumberland and the United Riders of Cumberland.  The route we suggest uses the Trent River Trail (alongside the River, some falls and nice pools), Sphaghetti, Meatballs, Buckrub, Cabbage Patch and the 50:1 mountain bike trails.

In 2020-21, we evaluated and mapped existing trails along the Beaufort crest working from south to north and north along the height of land west of Mt. Clifton.  We have generally found a well-defined trail through the forested sections, but quite variable conditions once up into the semi-open mountain hemlock parkland (i.e. a wide range of conditions from well-defined trail tread to open heather meadows or rock outcrops with little to no evidence of a trail tread).  As much as possible, we removed old flagging tape and flagging litter on the ground and replaced it with our 2-inch fluorescent orange trail makers.  This, plus GPS tracks should make hiking the Beauforts much more safe, particularly during conditions of poor visibility.   Later in 2021, we will mark the section of the route from Henry Spencer to Mt. Tsable and on down into the upper Katlum valley.

Here is a gpx file from Alberni to Cumberland (Revised July, 2021)   Download

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