Mount Jardine is spectacular hike which follows a historic mining trail to a high alpine ridge. The summit offers wide views of the Valley of the Ghosts where old mining towns have faded back into the forest.
Trailhead & Driving Directions
Follow Highway 31A between Kaslo and New Denver until you reach Rossiter FSR and reset your odometer. The road smoothly ascends until 1.0km when it passes the Wagon Road and switchbacks left. There are a few shallow waterbars on this first section of the road.
At 2.4km, reach a junction. The left fork goes to the Lyle Lakes/Mt Brennan trailhead – ascend right for Mt Jardine. At 2.5km, reach another junction and fork right again. Now there are deep waterbars on the road and 4WD HC is necessary to continue for the last section.
At 3.0km from the highway, the road widens with a nice wide pullout on the right – park here! Driving further up the road will take you towards a washout where there is little room to turnaround.
Hiking Up the Beaver Mine Trail
Once you’ve parked, it’s time to start walking up the road! Pretty soon, you’ll encounter a huge washout that’s washed across the road in two places, spreading rocks and debris between switchbacks. You’ll hike up a tight switchback and over rough debris along the road. And then at 0.8km the Beaver Mine Trail will start to the left. It’s signed and the junction is also marked with cairns and flagging tape.
The trail angles left up from the road and begins switchbacking through an old clearcut. Soon after, you’ll ascend into the forest and continue switching up the shady slopes.
The trail was created over 100 years ago by early prospectors who staked the Beaver Claim just below Mount Jardine in the summer of 1891. The trail they made from the valley floor is thoughtfully graded over switchbacks and climbs at a steady but manageable grade up a ridge. Some kind locals from Kaslo have recently cleared away the deadfall and the trail is in great shape after all of this time!
After about 3km, you’ll start to see views of the valley far below as well as a ridge coming down from Jardine to the NE. The trail will then wrap around to the west and you’ll glimpse Whitewater Mountain in the distance.
At 4.7km from your vehicle, the trail ‘ends’. An old route heading straight north is blocked off by logs and a new route heading right (east) is marked with fresh flagging tape. It took us 2 hours to reach this point and it’s about 2/3 of the way up.
Go right and follow the flagging tape. A new trail is being beaten into the path and is easy to follow in some places, but fades away in other areas. We added fresh flagging tape in 2018 to spotty sections, but pay attention and keep watching for the trail.
This new route takes you on a gradual climb to the basin below Mount Jardine.
You’ll start to pass old diggings and tailing piles where those prospectors were hard at work! The Beaver Claim was never transformed into a mine, but it was the start of the silver rush which transformed the ‘Silvery Slocan’ at the turn of the century.
Continue following the path and flagging tape until you come to a ridge that looks down on the basin beneath Mount Jardine. If you’re following the tape, it will lead you to the NE across the basin.
We ended up losing the marked route at this point and found our own way to the west ridge of Mount Jardine by contouring high around the basin (note that the posted GPS track is slightly different on the way up then the way down). This was a fine way to go and we ended up at the low point on Jardine’s west ridge before we continued on to the summit.
As we approached Jardine, we angled up a long grassy slope and met up with the trail again, hurrah!
To the Summit!
The final ascent to the summit is a bit steep and loose – hiking poles recommended! The trail switchbacks up the grassy slope at a steeper climb and it’s hard work. In places, the trail is packed down into loose talus so take care as you go.
As you climb, the basin below opens up and you’ll see a distant tarn as well as more tailing piles from the old Beaver Claim. Across the distant valley, Texas and Reco peaks are high on the horizon with Kokanee Glacier far in the hazy distance.
The trail steepens and fades as it reaches the final crest to Jardine. Choose safe routes, staying away from the cliffy exposure on Jardine’s north face.
Mount Jardine Summit
At last, reach Mount Jardine’s summit at 2442m!
The summit cairn has an old rusty shovel stuffed among the rocks as well as a register hidden within. On a clear day, high Mount Brennan is prominent to the NW with Whitewater Mountain beyond. You can look East along Blue Ridge to see distant Mount Buchanan above Kootenay Lake.
It took us 3.5 hours to reach the summit at a steady pace. We had a short lunch further down the ridge out of the wind and then began heading down.
It is much easier to follow the faint trail and flagging tape on the way down. The path winds back down Mount Jardine’s grassy slopes and then descends into the basin.
Once you get back onto the main Beaver Mine trail, it’s a walk in the park back down through the forest to the trailhead! We were back at the car within 2.5 hours of leaving the summit.