Mount Arrowsmith is the tallest and most popular climb for mountain hiking on Vancouver Island south of Strathcona Park. There
Mount Arrowsmith is the tallest and most popular climb for mountain hiking on Vancouver Island south of Strathcona Park. There are several routes up the mountain. The Judges Route is one is the most direct, but it is a steep grind up the west face of the mountain in the direct afternoon sun.
The trail starts pretty high up, at around 760 meters. There is some lovely old forest in the first part of the trail past the recent logging. Although the forest is dominated by Douglas fir forest at first, it drops out of the picture as you move up the mountain into the montane forest zone. Then the species composition changes to Western Hemlock and then to Mountain hemlock along with Yellow Cedar and Amabilis or Silver Fir. Slowly the forest becomes more stunted and gnarled giving way to alpine shrubs and wildflowers. Then you are able to see incredible rock faces, knobs and drop-offs signifying that you are approaching the top. Here the trail may become less obvious, however there are plastic ribbons hung on the trees and bushes along the trail that will help. At the top there is a helicopter platform and a communications tower and wonderful views of Georgia Straight (the Salish Sea), Port Alberni, the Alberni Inlet, as well as the mountains and lakes to the west.