Yes, you can hike ALL OF THE SUMMITS! Or at least as many as you want. This new trail zig zags up Whitewater Ski Resort to access several peaks on the “summit side” of the hill.
Trailhead and Driving Directions
Drive all the way up Whitewater Ski Hill Road to park near the main lodge. This road is generally good for 2WD low clearance vehicles.
Up the Summit Trail
Walk past the main lodge and head to where the Hummer Handle Tow runs in the winter. The trail is signed in multiple places but sometimes referred to as “Blaster’s Ridge”. You’ll cross Apex Creek on a bridge and then the trail immediately starts, heading along the creek and running above the top of the blue tow equipment.
The trail crosses a few creeklets, and then begins to wind pleasantly up the Motherlode Ski Run. The footing is soft, the grade is moderate, and the fall colours are explosive. Look for cairns and red/white paint, but the trail is well-built and easy to follow.
As you near the top of the ski run, the trails emerges on an old road that turns into the Catch Basin Ski Way in the winter. Here there is a loop to head over to Sherpa Peak.
Summit #1: Sherpa
If you’re planning to hike the loop to Sherpa Peak, go counter-clockwise and turn right after reaching the Ski Way. Follow the red/white blazes around the corner and watch for a faint trail heading up into the woods. The next 0.3km is a section called “Blaster’s Ridge” and is very steep so it’s better done uphill.
Sherpa doesn’t have as prominent a view as the other peaks – it’s a tree’d summit with lookouts over the valley. You’ll reached a signed junction at the top of the Sherpa Peak loop and then can hike a short, flat out-and-back to the summit. Once you’re done, you can hike along the top of the ridge to get closer to Hummingbird and Prospector Peaks.
Onwards to the Ridge
If you are skipping Sherpa Peak, turn left on the Catch Basin Ski Way. The boulder field along the ski way had been turned into a side walk! What a lot of work and very appreciated. Watch for paint where the trail cuts up to the ridgeline. This area is blazing with larches in the fall.
On the ridge, you’ll see another signed junction that heads right to Sherpa Peak to complete the loop along the ridge. Now you’ll be pointed towards Prospector and Hummingbird Peaks… and even Ymir if you’re truly up for an adventure!
The trail was extended in 2023 to go behind the Prospector and Hummingbird Peaks to end at the Ymir West Col. Continuing following the official trail if you want to go this route, or watch for flagging tape shortcuts leading up to the summits of Prospector and Hummingbird Peaks. The GPS route on the map above leaves the brand new trail to follow these shortcuts.
Summit #2: Prospector
Follow the flagging tape it leads you along the ridge and up to Prospector Peak. The route is mostly clear with steep sections as you ascend.
Reach the summit of Prospector and you’ll be treated to a big view… as well as probably the desire to go a little further. Hummingbird Peak is just 0.4km away but will give you a higher vantage point over the valley. We reached Prospector after hiking 2 hours from the trailhead.
Summit #3: Hummingbird
It’s not even a 10 minute walk over to Hummingbird Peak. Continue following the flagging tape and scraps of path. You’ll come to a tree fort and fire ring just before reaching the summit.
Summit #4: Ymir
Continuing on to Ymir Peak? You’re in for more route-finding and a journey that feels a bit airy along the ridges. Check out the Ymir Mountain post for more information on this section of the hike. It’s just 1 km, but about 500m elevation with some scrambly sections.
Retracing your steps, you’ll make your way back down the ridge to the Catch Basin Ski Way.
Watch for cairns and paint marking the trail back down Motherlode. It’s such a wonderfully built trail and winds all the way back down to the lodge.