Seven Summits Trail

The Seven Summits is a legendary ridge-line trail that sweeps across the Rossland Range. Strong hikers and trail runners will enjoy the challenge of a big day with stunning alpine views. The terrain features rolling wildflower meadows, gnarled trees, and of course the seven mountain summits.

Summary
Trailhead: Highway 3B and Old Rossland Cascade Highway
Distance, one way: 31 km
Elevation: +1131m, -1314m
Difficulty:  Challenging
Download file: sevensummits.gpx

Trailhead and Driving Directions

The Seven Summits Trail is multi-use, but famous as a mountain biking destination. Be aware of your surroundings and watch for bikes ripping on the descents. If you go with the flow, you’ll start at the North Trailhead and end on the Old Rossland Cascade Highway. Hiking North to South cuts out some elevation gain and provides switchbacks on the climb.

North Trailhead: Highway 3B – from the Rossland Museum, drive 19.6km North on Highway 3B to the Strawberry Pass summit. There is a large parking pullout on the left side of the highway.

South Trailhead: Old Rossland Cascade Highway – from the Rossland Museum, drive 0.4km south on Highway 22 and then turn right onto the Old Rossland Cascade Highway and reset your odometer. Drive to the 12km marker at the crest of the road. If the road starts to descend, you’ve gone too far. There isn’t a trailhead kiosk here, but the trail descends across the power-line to meet the road.

Locals have provided a water source at 18.1km where a pipe provides clean spring water. Thank you! Otherwise, there is no water on the trail.

Hikers who want a shorter day can use the Plewman Trail, Old Glory Trail, or Red Mountain area to exit the Seven Summits Trail and descend to Highway 3B.

The Mighty Ascent

Starting from Strawberry Pass, you’ll pick up the Seven Summits trail on a series of winding switchbacks that climb through the forest. Watch carefully for trail markers as this section intersects with the winter cabin trail network.

The trail mainly stays in the forest as it wraps around Mount Lepsoe (Summit #1) to gradually gain the ridge. After 5km, the trees begin to fall away and you’ll start entering stretches of wildflower meadow.

At 8km, reach the highest point of the trail at 2200m! Now you’re really out on the ridge – look for Old Glory mountain on the right. It’ll be a major landmark as the highest peak in the Rossland Range.

View of Old Glory Mountain

Past Old Glory

This next stretch of trail is some of the nicest! You’ll hike along the ridge with big views and wildflower meadows, flowing at a comfortable descent most of the way. Pass by Mount Plewman (Summit #2) and follow the trail as it traces the ridge.

Mount Plewman

At about 10km, pass the signed turn-offs for the Plewman Trail and then Old Glory (Summit #3).

After Old Glory Mountain, continue hiking a blissful 3km through alpine meadows, studded with weather-worn trees.

Beautiful flowing trail

At 14km, reach a 3-way junction for the old Old Glory Trail which descends to Highway 3B. Stay right. You’re almost at the half-way point, but there is more climb to go!

Past Red Mountain Resort

The trail now ascends on switchbacks as it nears Mount Kirkup (Summit #4). You’re back in the forest and back in the shade, a relief on a hot day! Shortly after Kirkup, you’ll come out at Red Mountain Ski Resort and pass beneath Grey Mountain (Summit #5) around 16km.

Trail cutting across a ski run, Granite Mountain in the distance

The trail dips down as it nears Granite Mountain to cross the signed water spring at 18km. Relief! Watch carefully for signed junctions around Red Mountain as the trail intersects with many roads and ski runs.

After the spring, the trail climbs up a series of switchbacks past Granite Mountain (Summit #6) and gains the ridge again.

Along Record Ridge

The last stretch of trail feels really long. Sure, it’s only about 12km to the end. But you’ve already hiked by 6/7 summits, done three climbs, and long ago reached the highest point. The thing goes on forever!

Looking back at Old Glory Mountain from much further South

The trail follows the top of the ridge before cutting below Record Mountain (Summit #7) around 20km. Then another climb to a viewpoint at 22km. Looking ahead, you can see the rolling ridge alternating between forest and grassy meadow.

Changing landscape on the Southern end of the trail

Now you’ll be losing elevation at a steady pace, following the trail as it alternates on either side of the ridge. The final segment of trail comes out onto a series of grassy hillocks, dotted with dramatic pine trees. It’s a surprising change of scenery after the lush wildflower meadows and forests further north.

Finally, the trail enters the forest for the last time and traces bits of old road before crossing the power line. End at the Old Rossland Cascade Highway. It took us 8.5 hours to hike at a quick pace with a couple sections of trail running. A long, but worthwhile day!

Trail Angels

Kootenay Columbia Trails Society

The Kootenay Columbia Trails Society maintains the Seven Summits trail. If you’d like to support the trail, consider making a donation or becoming a member.

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Dave U
Dave U
1 month ago
Trail Rating :
     

Hiked/ran this trail with a friend in 2017. Along with Dewdney trail and a couple of small detours it came out around 37.5km. The Seven Summits has a lot of potential for varied experiences (eg. doing a partial route or camping and hitting all 7 summits- rather than passing close by- would be amazing).
The first half is golden, with a long denouement after Record ridge. Bring lots of water if it is a hot day; even with a total 6L for two people, we ran out on the second half and it was suboptimal for a while.

Trip Date
2017-08-05
Trail Conditions
Clear trails. Dry. Smoke in the air from wildfires.
Access Road Conditions
Highway on both ends (we parked at the terminus of the Dewdney trail, passed the old highway that was dirt)
Access Road Vehicle
2WD Low Clearance
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