Exploring Smithers: Hudson Bay Mountain and Malkow Lookout

I had a long list of things that I wanted to do in Smithers, but the weather wasn’t being very cooperative. On Day 56 of the trip, June 20th, I drove to the Hudson Bay Mountain ski area, and then hiked to Malkow Lookout.

The weather forecast for the day wasn’t very good, but at 09:00 it looked like hiking the Glacier Gulch trail, directly ahead of me at the Glacier View RV Park, was still a possibility. A storm soon moved in from the back side of the mountain, though, so Plan B went into effect.

Glacier View RV Park in Smithers, BC
At 10:45, we started driving up Hudson Bay Mountain to a ski area that I’d never been to. From downtown Smithers, it’s about 24 km (15 mi) to the lodge.

The road to the Hudson Bay Mountain ski area at Smithers, BC
Twenty minutes later, we had reached the newest and lowest of the residential areas at the ski area. “Mountain cabins starting at $249,000.”

New housing development at the Hudson Bay Mountain ski area at Smithers, BC
A couple of minutes later, we found Area 51 North, with even an “Alien X-ing” sign! 🙂

Area 51 North - Hudson Bay Mountain ski area at Smithers, BC
Panorama Lodge. A ski area in the off season is a rather sad place. Hudson Bay Mountain gets great reviews, though, and I know some people drive down from Whitehorse to ski the awesome powder here.

Panorama Lodge - Hudson Bay Mountain ski area at Smithers, BC
The view is pretty fine in any season, though.

Hudson Bay Mountain ski area at Smithers, BC
There seems to have been a lot of recent building up top…

Hudson Bay Mountain ski area at Smithers, BC
…some with a modern solution to an old-fashioned problem. I had a styrofoam outhouse seat at my Carcross cabin – ahhhh, that’s nice at -40! 🙂

Styrofoam outhouse seat poster at Hudson Bay Mountain ski area at Smithers, BC

I thought about hiking out to Crater Lake, but then a storm hit that had ice crystals being driven into our faces by a screaming wind. None of us thought that was fun, so I started driving down to a more hospitable elevation instead.

Just add snow…

Hudson Bay Mountain ski area at Smithers, BC
On the way down, I had a look at the new residential area. Ski-in, ski-out cabins, 1073 square feet, $399,500. Three very nice ones, larger than that, have been built so far.

Hudson Bay Mountain ski area at Smithers, BC
The sun came out for a few minutes to light up some wildflowers along the road.

Wildlowers along the road to the Hudson Bay Mountain ski area at Smithers, BC
I made a few stops on the way down to check out side roads. Pretty, but nothing drew me further in.

Hudson Bay Mountain ski area at Smithers, BC
The Smithers Community Forest near the bottom of the mountain has a large network of trails, but a cold rain had hit again so we continued on.

Smithers Community Forest
And the trees there can kill you, too! 🙂

Trees can kill you at Smithers!
The view across the Bulkley Valley from near the bottom of the mountain shows the weather problem clearly.

View across the Bulkley Valley
The Dahlie Road CN Rail overpass stopped me to walk back for some photos.


With much nicer weather down in the valley, I decided that Bella and Tucker needed a long walk, so we headed for the Malkow Lookout trail.

The road to Malkow Lookout - Smithers, BC
The brochure I picked up says that it’s a 1-hour hike, but that turned out to be one way – not a very useful figure for a hike. It’s about a 5 km hike, though, with an elevation gain of just over 200 meters. Much of the trail is on private farmland, and there are a few gates to close. One of the signs up further says that cows in the pasture have zero tolerance for loose dogs.

The trail to Malkow Lookout - Smithers, BC
There’s a lot of variety on the trail – varying rolling pastures and forests until the final climb.

The trail to Malkow Lookout - Smithers, BC
Bella and Tucker try to figure out what’s ahead.

The trail to Malkow Lookout - Smithers, BC
Looking across one of the pastures to Hudson Bay Mountain. There were no cows, but plenty of wildflowers.

Along the trail to Malkow Lookout - Smithers, BC
A well-decorated Christmas tree along the trail!

Christmas tree along the trail to Malkow Lookout - Smithers, BC
I don’t think I’d ever seen such huge wild roses as in this one small area along the trail. The fragrance for a long way down the trail was wonderful!

Wild roses along the trail to Malkow Lookout - Smithers, BC
On the final climb. The road once served a forestry lookout tower, and now there’s a communications tower and a couple of picnic tables.

The trail to Malkow Lookout - Smithers, BC
The next three photos show various directions from the top. Malkow Lookout was a great choice for a hike, and the weather did cooperate.

Malkow Lookout - Smithers, BC

Malkow Lookout - Smithers, BC

Malkow Lookout - Smithers, BC
On the way back down. Within seconds of reaching the car, rain began, and it got heavier and heavier as we drove back to the RV park.

The trail from Malkow Lookout - Smithers, BC
The view at 8:15 that night. I had thought about staying another day, but the weather forecast had pushed the arrival of good weather away for 3 days instead of just one, so I decided to move on the next morning, to Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park.

Glacier View RV Park in Smithers, BC


Comments

Exploring Smithers: Hudson Bay Mountain and Malkow Lookout — 3 Comments

  1. BC – truly a remarkable place to travel, explore…profoundly beautiful and varied in so many places you have shared on your lengthy adventures. A day, three days, a week, never enough time to really see all the good places in a small area. Some great pics, which I really enjoyed.

  2. That is quite the epic view from the RV Park! One of the best in BC surely? We also tried to get to Crater Lake on our journey north but no luck for us either.