White Queen is a scenic off-trail hike just outside of Nelson, BC. Starting at Whitewater Ski Resort, the route crosses familiar ski terrain before ascending to a stunning ridge-line ramble with big views of Ymir Peak and surrounding country. At the summit of White Queen, you can see Kokanee and the Valhallas, and many distant mountains fading to overlapping shades of blue.
Max elevation: 2178 m
Min elevation: 1623 m
Total climbing: 655 m
Total descent: -656 m
Drive the short 20 minutes out of Nelson to Whitewater Ski Resort. This is a well-maintained road, accessible to all vehicles.
Up the ski trails
Starting at Whitewater Ski Resort, ascend either the ‘Lower Sluice Box’ run or the ‘Silverking Ski Way’ to get near the top of the Silverking lift. Both routes follow either an old road or have a faint summer trail.
Switching up the backcountry route
Near the Silver King ski lift, the backcountry ski route appears as a wide opening that climbs up through the forest with fragments of boot-beaten path.
You need to follow this route up to the top of the ridge as it switchbacks higher. The stepping is tricky with angled slopes and many rocky sections.
Along the ridge
At last, the route switchbacks up to the top of the ridge! On the other side is the Five Mile drainage – a popular backcountry skiing area.
Heading north-west along the ridge, you’ll climb higher to a small ‘bump’ where you can look ahead to see the route to White Queen’s summit in the distance:
Most of this route is pretty straight forward as there is a wide, cleared area along the ridge top. However, as you near White Queen, the route becomes a bit of a bushwhack through the forest.
White Queen Summit
We reached White Queen’s summit after 2 hours of hiking. Late June is a scenic time to do this hike with snow on the peaks and plenty of yellow glacier lilies!
We could see the Kokanee Range and distant Valhallas, as well as Toad Mountain and the Bonnington Range peaks. Ymir Peak overpowered the view to the east.
Follow the same route back, enjoying scenic Ymir Peak along the way. Within 1.5 hours we were back at the car.
Snowshoeing White Queen
This route is a great snowshoe trip in November and April with winter-wonderland views and no avalanche exposure. However, once Whitewater Ski Resort starts their operating season, this route will no longer be accessible via the ski runs. Instead, you can take the main snowshoe route near Hummingbird Pass.