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 standard 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!
Trailhead: Giveout Creek FSR
Distance, round trip: 6.7km
Max elevation: 2200 m
Min elevation: 1926 m
Total climbing: 383 m
Total descent: -398 m
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 was in great condition in October 2018 with just a few steeper patches. It would be okay for a careful 2WD low clearance vehicle until the very end.
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 should only be attempted by a solid 4WD high-clearance vehicle in good conditions.
You’ll hike or drive up the last 0.5km of steep access road. As you near the top of the ridge, watch for a flagged trail starting in the woods. There is no official sign, but that’s the start of the “Upper Powerslave” mountain bike trail that leads directly to the summit of Toad. 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, so hiking poles are helpful along the route.
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.
We hiked up in mid-October so we had the two season effect of fall in the valley and winter on the ridges.
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.