West Ridge Trail
This new trail to access the top of Mt Thompson was built in the summer of 2019 by the Creston Community Forest. Total cost of the trail was funded equally by the Creston Community Forest and a grant from the Columbia Basin Trust. The trail starts at the next switchback just after the km 4 post on the Sullivan Creek Trail and ends at the Mt Thompson campsite just off the peak of Mt Thompson. Features of this trail include stands of large Douglas fir and Larch, rocky outcrops, stands of lodgepole pine, and as you approach the top of Mt Thompson, subalpine stands of Alpine Fir and White Bark Pine. The top of Mt Thompson burnt in the early 1900’s and some of the old fir and pine snags are still standing. The trail also passes through a small alpine meadow just above a rocky outcrop that was used as a hang-gliding launching point in the 1980’s. The remains of two old ramps are still there and this site now includes two picnic tables, a bench and a fire ring.
This part of Mt Thompson is mountain goat habitat. Seven or eight goats were transplanted to this area in 1978. Wildlife biologists now believe there are 15 to 20 goats in the herd. Look for mountain goats along the trail or on the rocky cliffs that are visible from various viewpoints. Please report any sightings to the Creston Community Forest at 250 402-0070.
With the completion of the West Ridge Trail, it is now possible to hike from the valley floor to the top of Mt Thompson. If you start from the Vance Road trail head, the total one way distance is 10 km with an elevation gain of 1430 m to the Mt Thompson campsite. From the Sullivan Creek trail head, the one way distance is slightly less at 8.5 km with elevation gain of 1234 m.
Access Point 1: Access to the lower trail head of the West Ridge Trail is via the Sullivan Creek Trail. From the Creston Valley Visitor Centre, head east out of Creston on Hwy 3 for 5.9 km; turn right onto Canyon-Lister Road; go 1.1 km – turn left onto Whimster Road; travel 750 m – turn left onto Mt Thompson forestry road (gravel, steep grades); travel 1.7 km to parking area for Sullivan Creek Trail. Hike up the Sullivan Creek Trail to just beyond the 4 km post to the start of the West Ridge Trail.
Access Point 2: the upper trail head of the West Ridge Trail is at the Mt Thompson campsite and the new trail head for the Rim Trail. This can be accessed by driving to the top of the Mt Thompson Forest Service Road (total distance of 10.5 km). Note: this is a forest service road with sharp curves and steep grades; high clearance vehicles with 4 wheel drive are highly recommended.
- Trail head access from town: 20 – 30 minutes to lower trail head plus the time to hike 4 km on the Sullivan Creek Trail.
- Hiking Time (return): 4 to 7 hours depending upon starting point
- Distance (Return): 9 km for West Ride Trail only; approximately 17 km from the Sullivan Creek trail head on the Mt Thompson FSR and 20 km from the Vance Road trail head.
- Elevation gain: 780 m for the West Ridge Trail only; 1430 m from the start of the Pack Trail at Vance Road; 1234 m from the Sullivan Creek trail head
- Difficulty Rating: Difficult due to distance, access and elevation gain
One of the many beautiful views along the West Ridge Trail
Old fir and pine snags which can be seen at the top of Mt Thompson
Picnic table at the old hang-gliding site (halfway up the West Ridge Trail)
The West Ridge Trail, constructed in the summer of 2019