Welcome to the West Kootenay’s latest and greatest hike! The Lost Mountain trail offers highway access and a steady workout. Most of this hike is done in the forest, but the final ridge and summit are worth the effort!
Distance, round trip: 10.6km
Season: mid-June to early October
The Lost Mountain trail was restored in 2017 through a partnership between the Salmo Valley Trails Society and the Kootenay Mountaineering Club. The first 2km are fresh trail, rerouted to keep the trailhead away from the highway chain-up area. The route then picks up sections of the old trail, merging and diverging in a series of new switchbacks.
The new trailhead is located in a massive pullout just after the avalanche gates of Kootenay Pass (coming from the Salmo side).
There is a kiosk at the parking area. Look for the trail across the highway, angling up along the slope above. Cross with care!
Up through the forest
The trail starts off climbing steadily and evenly and uneventfully through the forest. The sounds of the highway fade, but the forest continues. We kicked up plenty of dirt and startled plenty of grouse, but the scenery didn’t start to get interesting until about 2.3km when we came to the scenic mid-point:
The trail leads to a rock outcropping and we could suddenly look down towards the highway and Kootenay Pass. Looking ahead, the summit of Lost Mountain was visible in the far distance:
Leaving the rest point, the trail continues onwards and upwards through the forest. The trees thin very slowly, until suddenly you’re hiking high on a ridge – at last! Scenery!
Above the trees
As the trees fade away, so does the trail disappear into a line of cairns and reflective blazes. But at this point, the route ahead is easy to see:
Aim for the ridge, approaching the summit from the left.
We reached the summit within 3 hours. Although it was a sunny day, cool wind was blowing at high elevation. The view towards Kootenay Pass was relatively clear, but wildfire smoke was hazing the other directions.
We were flying on the hike down – only 2 hours! Lost Mountain has similar distance and elevation to the Mount Loki trail, but I kept marvelling at how much easier it is. The trail crew did an excellent job at managing the grade!
Download GPS file for Lost Mountain
Trail crew did about 5 km. Several sections were rerouted.
Hey, I believe someone in Ymir found your cell phone or keys Chris Cowan. Posting at Ymir store.
Lots of deadfall out there today! Did in a bit less than 3 hours, 1:50 ascent, 1:07 descent
Wow, that is impressive hiking time!
Mostly all cleared up now xcp a few really large chunks you have to go around.
Any chance this would be doable now or do you think still too much snow?
There will be snow on the upper half of the trail, but it should be compact and hardened to walk on top okay. There is usually a lot of dead fall on this trail – the KMC is doing a clearing hike in June to clean it up. 🙂
It’s definitely a bit of a slog up those switchbacks. Not terribly interesting until you get above the trees. Summit was nice though, there’s a little register tucked into the cairn.
Note this trail is actually 12 km round trip if you are going to the true summit. At 5 km you come to a false summit and the trail markers end. It’s easy enough to find your way up the last km (stay to the left)
Aha, I logged 5.3km one-way on my GPS from the trailhead to the summit. I’ll get a new track next time I go and double-check the distance.
[…] As the ridge extends, you’ll get a clear view looking West down the highway – see Lost Mountain in the distance. Another great hike in the […]