Driving over Grey Creek Pass? Want to bag a peak? The summit on the North side of the pass is easily gained by following a short trail along the ridge and then picking your way to the top. Nicknamed “Thanksgiving Mountain” by locals who hike it on the holiday, this summit offers a wide panorama of Kootenay Lake and the Purcells.
Trailhead and Driving Directions
Start at the very top of Grey Creek Pass. This road is usually suitable for 2WD low-clearance vehicles and open seasonally from July to October. Plan to drive an hour from the Kootenay Lake Ferry to the trailhead, with 2-3 hours of hiking.
From Crawford Bay, drive South on Highway 3A until you pass the Grey Creek Store. Turn either onto Oliver Road or Anderson Road (both connect to Grey Creek Pass Road shortly) and reset your odometer.
At 1.3km, fork left for signed Grey Creek FSR and follow the road as it ascends up the valley. After 6km, start driving up switch-backs, stay on the main road at any junctions. At 17km, pass Oliver Lake Rec Site on the right. There is a short 20-minute trail that loops around the lake if you want to add some extra adventure to the day.
At 18km, reach the top of Grey Creek Pass and park at the pullout on the left. You’ll see Thanksgiving Mountain ahead on the North side of the pass.
Follow the Trail
Leaving the vehicle, there are several trails on the North side of the pass that merge together to follow the ridge at a gentle grade. Hike through forest full of huckleberries
At 1.0km, the trail gets considerably steeper as it climbs through the forest. Look back to see distant peaks emerging above the trees.
By 1.3km, the trail is starting to fade. Look for orange flagging tape. By 1.4km, you’ll come to the base of a rockslide.
It’s pretty much up to you how to proceed. Look back and note the orange flagging tape marking where you came from. Looking ahead, a patch of trail crosses the meadow to the North and then ascends along the ridge-line. But you can also pick your way up the slope, sticking to grassy ramps.
Reach the top after 1.7km and admire the views. There is a short ridge-line dotted with larch trees and an impressive summit cairn.
Look South to see Oliver Lake far below as well as the distant triangle of Haystack Mountain. Look West to see Kootenay Lake and Kokanee Glacier. To the North, the saddled humps of Sphinx Mountain dominate the scene.
Take your time heading down the slope and retrace your steps back to the car. This short hike can be done in under 2 hours and makes a great stop-over while driving the pass.