Do you think driving to the top of mountains is overrated? Do you really want to earn it? The Wakefield Trail gets you up to Idaho Peak using your own two feet. It’s a hard, steady climb that traces old mining routes to the top of Silver Ridge.
Trailhead: 4.6km up Silverton Creek FSR, then left and 3.9km up an unnamed dirt road
Distance, Round Trip: 14.2km (from trailhead)
Elevation: +1000m (from trailhead)
The Wakefield Trail follows an old pack trail used by miners to access Silver Ridge. As the trail climbs higher, it crosses old mine tailings and the remnants of rail tracks.
Parking Below the Trailhead
Driving directions can be found at Recreation Sites and Trails BC. After 4.6km on Silverton FSR, you turn left up a road signed ‘Wakefield’. Then 800m later, you reach a junction of two roads. The one of the left looks promising. The one on the right looks sketchy. Guess what? Wakefield is up the sketchy road on the right!
You’re supposed to drive another 3.3km up this road to reach the trailhead, but the road was so overgrown and we’d heard there was a large tree down (confirmed!), so we parked here and began walking. This added an extra 6.7km (round trip) and +365m elevation to our hike, lucky us!
The Official Trailhead
After switchbacking along the overgrown road, the actual trailhead was reached about 45 minutes later. Hopefully with some maintenance, this road will be drivable again as the extra walk was not appreciated by all.
Up to the Ridge
Leaving the road behind, it is 4km to Silver Ridge and another 2km further to Idaho Peak. The trail begins switching back through the forest at a steady climb, with glimpses of the Valhallas through the trees. The forest was lush and shaded from the morning sun, but it was hard work and a hot climb!
In the final kilometre, the forest starts to break up with avalanche paths and mine tailings. The views are spectacular and the wildflowers really start to show!
One annoying thing: Idaho Peak continuously pops into view as you hike along the trail. The fire tower is always higher and never closer. It tends to remind you that despite how high and far you’ve come, it is so much higher and farther to go before the final ascent to the ridge!
Idaho Peak and Silver Ridge
At long last! The Wakefield trail climbs to the parking lot at Idaho Peak! Now there are panoramic mountain views all around!
You might be annoyed, having just hiked almost 1000m elevation, that everyone else just drove to the top and skipped the grind of the Wakefield Trail. That is understandable. But one advantage is that Wakefield is south-facing so it is snow-free when the Idaho Peak road is still buried in the early summer. Also isn’t the journey supposed to be more important than the destination?
Regardless, we were bagged by the time we reached Silver Ridge and so we began a slow shamble along the final 2km to Idaho Peak.
The views on Idaho Peak were spectacular! Early July had meadows of Yellow Glacier Lily and anemone appearing where the snow retreated. Yellow Ragwort also dotted the slopes with Indian Paintbrush just starting to appear.
What goes up must come down, and sadly that is true for tired hikers out in the summer heat. We took the descent slowly, watching our step on the loose gravel of the mine tailings.
With our extra walk from the official trailhead down to the car, we were out for 9 hours. Our total hike was 21.2km and +1449m elevation, ahhh!