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.

Summary
Trailhead: Whitewater Ski Resort, Whitewater Road
Distance, round trip: 9.4km
Elevation: +666m
Difficulty:  Moderate

Total distance: 10205 m
Max elevation: 2178 m
Min elevation: 1623 m
Total climbing: 655 m
Total descent: -656 m
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Trailhead

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.

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Hiking the summer trail on Lower Sluice box towards Ymir Peak

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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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

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!

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View from the summit
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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

Follow the same route back, enjoying scenic Ymir Peak along the way. Within 1.5 hours we were back at the car.

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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. Instead, you can take the main snowshoe route near Hummingbird Pass.

Snowshoeing down from White Queen
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Michelle Flynn
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Michelle Flynn

Are these trails dog friendly?

kooteneer
Guest
kooteneer

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
Admin
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
2018-11-12
Trail Conditions
Snowy
Access Road Conditions
Good, icy patches
Access Road Vehicle
2WD Low Clearance
Scott
Guest
Scott
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!

(Comment imported from old trail rating system)

Trip Date
2018-06-07
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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.  […]

Mike Piva
Guest
Mike Piva

Nice, we hiked in the late spring but would like to snowshoe it. Is there another route to take in January to avoid the ski run?

Abby Wilson
Admin

Yes! There is a turn-off on the Mount Beattie snowshoe route that goes up to White Queen from the Hummingbird Pass end. It’s a little steeper and more challenging, but avoids the ski runs. I haven’t hiked up this way yet.

Abby Wilson
Admin

Hey Mike, I’ve now posted a write-up of the main snowshoe route. 🙂
https://westkootenayhiking.ca/white-queen-snowshoe/

Mike P
Guest
Mike P

Nice! Thanks Abby!

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[…] post describes the main winter snowshoe route to White Queen. There is an alternate summer hiking route up via the Silverking ski lift which is suitable from April to […]