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.


Trailhead: Whitewater Ski Resort, Whitewater Road

Distance, round trip: 9.4km

Elevation: +666m

Difficulty: B2

GPS: link


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 the ‘Lower Sluice Box’ run where a faint summer trail rises towards Ymir Peak.

Hiking the summer trail towards Ymir Peak

The trail will wind through meadows, fading in and out, until it intersects with a gravel road. At this road, turning right will take you to the off-trail route to Ymir Peak .

To continue to White Queen, follow the gravel road as it switch-backs up and over the ski runs until the road nears the top of the Silver King ski lift.

Switching up the backcountry route

As you approach the Silver King ski lift, the backcountry ski route appears on the right 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.

Hiking up the backcountry ski route on a temporary patch of path

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.

Looking over the ridge

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:

Ridge-line route to White Queen

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.

Looking back towards the ridge-line, almost at the summit

White Queen Summit

We reached White Queen’s summit after 2 hours of hiking. In late June, the top was still capped with snow and we were unable to find the summit cairn, but we enjoyed the panoramic views of the ski resort below!

View from the summit

Radio tower on the summit

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.

Heading down

We followed the same route back, sliding along the old snow on the ridge. Within 1.5 hours we were back at the car.

Heading home

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.

Snowshoeing down from White Queen


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Trail Rating (4.5 / 2)

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Michelle Flynn
Michelle Flynn

Are these trails dog friendly?


Hi Michelle, I believe so! This route is not in a provincial park so I’m not aware of any dog restrictions. The route is off-trail, but there are no big boulders or scrambles that would be challenging for a dog.

Abby Wilson
Trail Rating :

Returned to snowshoe this route. The switchbacks up the back-country ski access route were a little awkward with some side-hilling, but we broke in a solid trail to the summit.

Trip Date
Trail Conditions
Access Road Conditions
Good, icy patches
Access Road Vehicle
2WD Low Clearance
Trail Rating :

Nice hike! The awkward walking on the switchbacks only takes 30 minutes, and the bushwack is only 10 minutes, Well worth it for the great views from the top and easy access from Nelson. Thanks for the original post!

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[…] The track will start weaving between the trees of a gently-sloped forest, heading north-east beneath the flank of White Queen.  […]