Mount Crowe Snowshoe

A winter wonderland awaits! The snowshoe route up to Mount Crowe leads to amazing views along the ridge. It’s a little more adventure than exploring the day-use cabins below, so be prepared to route-find and break trail.

Summary
Trailhead: Highway 3B
Distance, round trip: 10.1km
Elevation: +574m
Difficulty: Moderate
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Trailhead & Driving Directions

Drive to the top of Nancy Greene summit on Highway 3B (also called Strawberry Pass). There are a couple of trailheads and parking options on either side of the highway.

  • From Rossland, leaving from the junction of Highways 22 and 3B (across from the Rossland Musem), drive 19.8km north on Highway 3B
  • From Castlegar, drive up towards the Paulson Summit. At the junction of Highways 3 and 3B, drive 8.4km south on Highway 3B.

You’ll start off at the same trailhead as the Lepsoe Basin and Mount Crowe cabin loops.

Safety
Avalanche – the Mount Crowe route stays within Simple avalanche terrain; however, you could easily wander into more hazardous terrain if you start following the wrong track. It is recommended to bring a beacon, shovel, and probe and to have completed Avalanche Safety Training.

Navigation – it can be easy to lose landmarks on this forested route or follow the wrong track. If you’re not confident with navigating this route, do not attempt.

Trailhead at Strawberry Pass

To start this route, you need to be on the north side of the highway – take a look at the kiosk! You’ll follow the established winter trail network through White Owl Pass and then strike out for the ridge.

Cookie Jar Cabin to White Owl Pass

Leaving the trailhead, take an immediate right to come around to the historic Cookie Jar Cabin. This cabin is no longer available for use but is being preserved in all its bright-pink character.

Past the cabin, watch for a trail forking up the hill to the right – take it for the most direct route to White Owl Pass. After about 0.8km, you’ll intersect with a forest road. Go right again and follow the up road for just 0.1km until the trail branches off to the left and continues a steep ascent. You’re now ascending through White Owl Pass with Mount Crowe on the right and a small knoll to the left.

Junction to Mount Crowe

After 1.5km, reach a junction where left goes to the Mosquito Cabin and right follows the Mount Crowe touring route. Go right and be prepared to strap on your snowshoes.

Mount Crowe Touring Route

The next kilometre is a long side-hill as you gradually ascend through an old cut-block. The view west opens up to reveal the 3 snowy peaks of Mounts Faith, Hope, and Charity. Further along, the massive bulk of Mount Gladstone rises above the valley.

Views of Mt Gladstone (left) along the cutblock with Faith, Hope and Charity (right)

The route will ascend through a dark stand of pines before finally making a switchback up to meet Mount Crowe Road after 3.0km from the trailhead.

The remaining route beyond the road is hard to follow when buried in fresh snow. If you can’t find the route and don’t have navigation aids, then you can take the Mount Crowe Road back down to return to the signed network below and make alternate plants to visit a cabin.

Otherwise, continue picking you way up through the trees. The route angles south-east away from the Mount Crowe Road before switchbacking north and then angling around towards the east to find the ridge at 3.7km.

Crowe Ridge

The majority of Crowe’s ridge is a treed gap without big exciting views. Catch a glimpse of Mount Neptune to the north-east, but otherwise turn right (south) and follow the gap in the forest. Trail breaking can be extra tough here in fresh snow or wind drifts.

Ascend a few steep sections until 4.5km where the views finally reach epic proportions to the south-east.

Scenery along the top of the ridge
Looking out to the south-east

Mount Crowe Summit

At 5km, reach Mount Crowe’s summit! On a clear day, Old Glory Mountain is prominent above the Rossland Range. You can also see the City of Trail as well as several peaks at Red Mountain Ski Resort.

Old Glory Mountain from the summit
Trees along the ridge

The safest way back is to retrace your route. Attempting to shortcut off of Mount Crowe leads to steep terrain with higher risks.

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