If you’ve ever gazed at the Skimmerhorn Mountains above Creston and wondered if the distant ridge would be a good place to hike, your wish has been granted! Not only is there a network of trails up there, you can even drive to the top! The Thompson Rim Trail traces the top of the ridge with big views of the Creston Valley below!
Trailhead & Driving Directions
Drive East out of Creston on Hwy 3 and turn right onto Canyon-Lister Rd. Go 1.1 km and turn left on Whimster Rd, go 750 m and continue on Mt Thompson Forestry Rd for 12km, staying on the main road. This road is well maintained, but has steep grades on the switchbacks so 4WD is recommended.
The road ends at the radio towers where there is plenty of parking and lots of panoramic views! Look down into the Creston Valley with distant Kootenay Lake to the north-west. Looking down the ridge, you can see the true summit of Mount Thompson in the distance. The actual summit is only 38m higher than where you start, but with the ups and downs of the ridge, you’ll gain 300m round trip!
There is no water on the trail and plan on 4-5 hours return trip at a moderate pace.
Heading down the ridge
The trail is signed and quickly descends down the ridge. This is one of the steepest, loosest sections of trail, so don’t be discouraged – it gets better. Take your time as you hike down.
After the big descent, the trail levels out to pleasant hiking through meadows full of bear grass. At 1.5km, stay right to continue on the Mount Thomson Trail at a faint marked junction.
After 2km, the trail will ascend to highpoint with a 126m elevation gain. Then it’s a matter of hiking the final stretch to the another tower at trail’s end.
Reach the end of the trail after 3.5km. The final section crosses a short boulder field so pick your way up to the radio tower. You’ll find a bench on the other side to rest.
Now it’s a matter of retracing your steps – the effort continues with the ups and downs to return.