Less than ten minutes from Nelson, the network of trails at Morning Mountain is fantastic hiking! The trails wind at a comfortable climb and will take you through dark cedar forests, across wildflower meadows, and up to distant views of Kokanee and the Valhalla Mountains.
Morning Mountain operated as a ski hill until 1999 when the lodge burned down. Now it is a huge network of mountain biking trails that climbs all the way up to Toad Mountain.
Trailhead & Driving Directions
Leaving Nelson, head West on Highway 3A and turn left on Granite Road just as you leave town. Drive 4.1km and then turn left on Blewett Ski Hill Road. Blewett Ski Hill Road switch-backs higher but is suitable for low-clearance 2WD vehicles. Reach the parking lot 10 minutes after leaving Nelson.
Check out the trail map on the kiosk. It’s a pretty complex network with many jumbled intersections. I recommend using the Trail Forks app to keep orientated. I also recommend making a donation to the Nelson Cycling Club who maintains this network!
Bottoms Up / Upper Bottoms
You have a choice of trails to ascend, but Bottoms Up and Upper Bottoms are the easy green trails with a gradual incline. This is a busy trail network for mountain biking – do not hike on black diamond trails. Always watch for bikes coming down.
As you leave the trailhead, the Bottoms Up trail starts near the kiosk. It’s the ‘up track’ so it’s very gradual and switchback-y. Almost painfully slow. You might want to hike up the old ski road or take a blue trail.
There is a big junction about 2km on Bottoms Up where several trails cross paths. From here, you can switch onto the green Upper Bottoms trail. Upper Bottoms opened in 2015 and runs along the edge of a forested valley before switch-backing up to the top of the ridge.
Reaching the Top
The top of the network is reached in about two hours, as Upper Bottoms switch-backs through the open meadows of an old cut block. And it is so worth it! Suddenly – boom! – there are the Valhalla peaks edging the skyline. And over there? Boom! Kokanee! The views are inspiring! The hills are alive! This is a great spot in the fall when the little larches turn yellow.
And of course, there is a scenic bench in the middle. But don’t stop here – an amazing viewpoint over Nelson is about 10 minutes up the trail.
The Best Viewpoint
Continue walking along Upper Bottoms until you reach Giveout Creek Road. Giveout FSR is where many of the mountain bikers get shuttled to and you can drive it up to Toad Mountain on another adventure.
Turn left on Giveout Creek and walk along the road for a few minutes (0.3km) until you see a turn-off on the right for the signed ‘Bedframe’ trail. Hike down Bedframe for just 0.1km and watch for a junction – turn right and come down to a most epic view over Nelson!
Finding and Winding Back Down
Head back to Upper Bottoms. Once you start down, you again have a choice of trails. The nice thing about a network of trails is that you can pick your level. The bad thing is that you can get lost. Note that a couple of the trails in the area do not lead back to the main parking lot and instead come out on Granite Road.
If all goes well, you’ll be back at the trailhead in 4-5 hours.