A Fall hike up Horton Hill

NOTE: The route from Canoe Meadows is no longer viable. The logging company has obliterated the north-south logging road, chewing it up so it is uncomfortable to walk on. We have not been able to find an alternative due to severe blowdown in the forest below the cutblock. The recommended route up Horton Hill now is the ridge route from Lusk Creek Day-use Area.

Horton Hill,  the forested hill above Tim Horton’s Children Ranch has a marked trail all the way to the summit.  It’s moderately steep in places, not quite the doddle  you might suppose it is, so it makes a good conditioning hike in early spring. But it’s also good in fall when the weather is iffy.  The trail starts from the ranch, but of course the manager doesn’t want people tramping through the grounds, so at her suggestion, this is the alternative start.

View from the top

View from the top

Park at Canoe Meadows parking lot on Hwy. 40. Walk out to the highway and turn right. At the K Country boundary sign, climb the grassy bank on the opposite side of the road and follow the  powerline right-of-way a short distance to the right. Just past a broken-down fence turn left and shortcut up to a logging road. Turn left and follow this road up a long hill to a T-junction. Turn right on another logging road that  climbs into the cutblock on the west slope of the hill. In the cutblock is a T-junction where the main logging road turns left. Go right here. In a few metres, just before the road ends, you intersect the Horton Hill Trail.  It can be identified by  parallel rows of guillotined pines and yellow arrows.

Turn left and follow the trail up the west slope of the hill. Once out of the cutblock, it winds through pine forest onto the south ridge of the hill at a saddle, then turns left and follows the south ridge to the top. En route, look back for a surprise view of Barrier Lake from a natural clearing. At the top turn right  along the ridge line to an opening with cairn. Here the view is of the Fisher Range and the cutblocks below Mt. Baldy .

Distance one way  3.1 km

Horton Hill
5 comments… add one
  • Bob Stebbins Apr 5, 2010, 2:54 pm

    Hi Gill. Sorry for this late reply to your 26 November message. Yes, it was the top at 413572 to which I was referring. I must confess that we did, on the way to the trail paralleling Lusk Creek, walk some on the Ranch’s road. It seems to me, in retrospect, that the best for all concerned is to start and return from the Lusk Creek Recreational Area. To be sure, as you observed, the trail down to the Ranch is a mess, so why not skip it altogether.

  • Gill Nov 26, 2009, 12:15 pm

    Hi Bob. A few comments on your observations. Yes, the south ridge is a nice way up. When you say the second top at 366 m, do you mean the top at 413572? It’s quite an enjoyable walk to this top (views en route), but you don’t want to go beyond to the pass at the head of Sibbald Creek. The deadfall makes the little bit of deadfall down to the col between the two tops seem like a walk in the park. It’s that bad!
    Not sure which trail you are referring to for your return to Lusk Creek parking lot. On the original Horton Hill Trail, an equestrian trail heads left along a bench just above the ranch access road and joins a gravel road. Or maybe you went down to the access road and from there followed the gravel road across Lusk Creek to the old Hwy. 68 and returned on that to the parking lot? Either way, in a guidebook I can’t tell people to walk through the lease land. The friendly folks at the ranch won’t like it and we won’t get our free mugs of tea.
    On looking for an alternative to the reclaimed logging road, it was suggested we use the disused horse trail that comes into the lease land just below the cutblock. But unfortunately, it’s been decimated by a whole swath of fallen trees.
    The other problem is that the Horton Hill Trail is not an official K Country Trail. As a result the kids at the ranch are no longer able to use it and you probably noticed on your descent that the trail is falling into disrepair. The cutblock doesn’t help either.
    Of course, there are easy solutions to these problems if the powers that be have the will to help.

  • Bob Stebbins Nov 26, 2009, 9:46 am

    Spooked by recent comments we decided on 22 November to climb Horton Hill from the Lusk Recreation Area. The trail to the junction with the one from the Ranch is, at best, intermittent, but the going is nonetheless easy. The forest is open and, in places, there are no trees at all. Our GPS recorded the first top at 333m and the second (along the ridge) at 366m. Beware of heavy dead fall on the descent to the col between the two tops. We descended to the Ranch, returning to Lusk Recreation Area by way of a very good trail more or less paralleling Lusk Cr. This trail — an extension to the west of Lusk Creek Trail — appears on no recent maps that we own (GemTrek, Daffern), but does show up on a 1987 K-Country map.

  • Gillean Daffern Nov 8, 2009, 8:45 pm

    Thank you Derek, for those few kind words! When we walked and GPSed the route, it was in fine condition. Obviously Spray Lakes Sawmills has been in there recently and without notice is reclaiming the road to the cutblock. Rather than dissing my description, I would have appreciated your saying something to this effect on the blog and then notifying me of the changes.

  • Derek Ryder Nov 8, 2009, 7:04 pm

    Warning: the directions are poor (there’s really no second logging road, and no trail on it, and it’s not really a T-junction) and the topo map is misleading. For photos and an explanation, see http://drandkc.blogspot.com/2009/11/horton-hill-ha.html. I cannot recommend this route.

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