Hiking Toad Mountain via Giveout Creek FSR leads you along a forested trail to access the summit from the northern ridge. The ridge line ascent is a little less scenic than the original trail from the Silverking mine, but much easier for hikers and vehicles alike! The summit of Toad offers epic views of the Nelson and surrounding peaks!
Distance, round trip: 6.7km
Season: early July to late September
This route is reached via Giveout Creek FSR, near the Morning Mountain Bike Trails area above Nelson, BC. I recommend using the Trailforks app to familiarize yourself with the area as there is a network of trails and roads up there! Some of the recent logging roads are not on the Trailforks app, but if you put the app on your phone, it will show you where you are in relation to the main access road and trail.
This route to Toad Mountain follows the “Upper Powerslave” mountain bike trail. The road up Giveout is in good condition with a couple steep switchbacks and small ruts. 4WD high clearance is recommedned.
From Nelson, head south on Highway 6 until you reach Giveout Creek FSR just before Cottonwood Regional Park. Turn right onto Giveout Creek and reset your odometer.
Drive up Giveout Creek FSR. At 1.6km, ignore the switchback leading left and continue straight (north-west) on the main road. At 4.8km, cross a bridge over Giveout Creek. At 9.0km, pass the upper kiosk for the Morning Mountain Bike Trails. Reach a major junction at 10.0km with a large boulder at the cross-roads. Take the left fork up the west branch of Giveout Creek FSR. Continue driving up a series of switchbacks and then stay on the main road as it wraps high along the mountain side, heading back south with impressive views below. Toad Mountain will come into view!
The last section of FSR has several short branches to recent clearcuts. Stay on the main road and consult Trailforks if you’re not sure about a junction. At 16.7km, reach a forked junction near the top of the ridge and switchback right, away from Toad Mountain. At 17.4km park or turn left (steep) at another junction where the road widens. The last 0.5km of access road to the start of the trail are very steep and require low-range gears. Better to park and walk.
You’ll hike up the last 0.5km of steep access road. As you near the top of the ridge, watch for a signed trail starting in the woods. If you reach a landing on the ridge with a picnic table, you’ve gone too far up!
Along the Trail
The trail winds along through the woods at the top of the ridge. There are no big views for the first half, but you’ll catch glimpses of distant scenery through the trees as you ascend. There are a couple of short steep sections where the mountain bikers rip.
After about 1.7km, you’ll reach a high point on the ridge below Toad. This high point offers a great view of Toad and the scenery starts to improve along the trail after!
The trail descends again and then levels off for a nice break until the final, steep ascent to the summit. Now there are views all around with the distant Bonnington range, with the peaks of Red Mountain and Copper Mountain to the south-west.
We reached the summit after about 1.5 hours on the trail. There is a wooden triangle structure which makes for a good enough bench.
The views are fantastic with Nelson far below along Kootenay Lake. Toad Mountain’s summit is at 2200m, so you’re high above Elephant Mountain and most of the surrounding landscape. You’ll see Ymir Mountain and the Whitewater Ski area to the east with the Bonnington range stretching out west.
Back down the ridge
The hike was quick, with a steady downhill slope and wide views of the valley below. Once we got down off the high point on the ridge, it was a steady walk through the forest and back to the car.
Thanks for the information on the route. Four of us followed your footsteps on Friday for some great views. Just enough snow to make icers helpful. An addition to the driving instructions: if you drive up the last half kilometre and get to the clearing with the picnic table, turn around and go back about 200 metres!
Thanks Dave! I’ve added a note about the picnic table to the driving directions. 🙂
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We really enjoyed this hike; thanks for posting on it! The beargrass was an unexpected treat, and we’re glad you identified it for us in your post.
Glad you got to see the beargrass! It doesn’t always have a big bloom… certain years are superbloom years. 2020 was a good year!