Goat Bluffs Trail

An old, little known trail heading up the south-eastern ridge of Mount Ogilvie.

Statistics

to End of Trail / Jean's Trail Sign

Total Distance: 7.0 km (return)
Estimated Time: 5 - 6 hours
Average Grade: 27.0%
Structure: Linear - Return
Elevation Gain: 945 m
Start Elevation: 245 m
Max Elevation: 1190 m

to Ogilvie Sub-Peak

Total Distance: 9.5 km (return)
Estimated Time: 7.5 - 8 hours
Average Grade: 26.7%
Structure: Linear - Return
Elevation Gain: 1270 m
Start Elevation: 245 m
Max Elevation: 1515 m

Directions

Follow Highway #5 (Coquihalla) north from Hope. Take the Kawkawa Lake Exit (#123), crossing underneath the highway and reaching a three-way stop sign. Turn right at the stop sign as though you're heading back onto the highway heading south. Approximately halfway between the stop sign and the highway on-ramp, look for a tiny grassy clearing in the forest on your left, large enough to park one or two cars in a row. If you see a large rock at the far end of the grassy patch with a black plaque on it, you'll know you're in the right spot.

Park here, but bear in mind that historically the Othello area has had an extremely high number of car break-ins. Arrange a drop-off/pick-up arrangement if possible.

Details

The Goat Bluffs Trail, dating back to at least the 1970's, is the only known trail leading up Hope's Mount Ogilvie. Starting near the Othello Tunnels, the trail leads up Ogilvie's south-east ridge above Railway Creek until vanishing near some cabin ruins at approximately 1200m. From this point on, it's a non-technical off-trail trek through relatively open forest to Ogilvie's south-east sub-peak. The off-trail route to the sub-peak is located directly above the "Goat Bluffs" - a series of large cliffs facing the town of Hope. From the sub-peak, it's a moderate-to-difficult scramble over steep terrain down into a deep col before attaining Ogilvie's summit.

Some older hiking guides mention that the trail was originally created to access an old mine in the area. This may hold some truth, since the defined trail appears to vanish near the ruins of an old cabin. Relatively speaking, the trail is in relatively good shape considering it is only intermittently maintained and rarely hiked.

To locate the trailhead, follow Othello Road from Hope or take the first exit on the Coquihalla Highway (signed as Kawkawa Lake). Near the highway is a stop sign where Ogilvie Road connects with the highway interchange. Follow Ogilvie Road towards the highway from the 3-way stop, as though you are about to head onto the Coquihalla Highway heading southbound. Approximately halfway between the stop sign and the true highway on-ramp, look to your left - a small grassy cut large enough for one car leads a few meters off of the road to the left. Look for a small boulder that may still have a black plaque cemented on to it, marking the trailhead.

Continue past the rock, bushwacking through a patch of tall stinging neddles near a pipeline right-of-way. The start of the trail can be confusing to find, but there should be a tiny "bridge" made out of two planks. Once across the bridge and past the pipeline, the trail is much more defined and easy to follow. This portion of the trail is relatively new, created as a method to access the original trailhead which was blocked off to vehicle access due to the pipeline pumping station in the area. The new trail switchbacks steeply uphill along a slope covered in pine needles. Expect some deadfall and slope erosion in this area, given the fact that the trail is no longer maintained.

The terrain levels out and leaves the depressing grayish forest before exiting on to another pipeline right-of-way. Head up the pipeline about 50 to 100 meters before turning right onto an old road, blocked to vehicle access. The road is easy to follow and has one curve before exiting onto yet another right-of-way. Continue straight for a short distance until you reach an area with a small antenna on your left and a bench on your right near the trail's 1km marker. This is the original Goat Bluffs trailhead.

Past this point the trail is very well defined as it continues climbing upward. In the winter of 2001/2002 a large amount of deadfall blew down over the trail approximately 1/2 km after the antenna area. Getting around this section of trail is extremely difficult given the density of the blowdown and the steep grade of the cross slope. In fact, the deadfall was so bad after it happened most people just gave up and turned around at this point. It's doubtful that the trail has been cleared - it might be worth bringing a small saw for this section.

The trail continues climbing steeply upward, eventually entering what can best be described as a dark "tunnel" made out of the forest itself. The trees interweave above tightly, giving the forest a very moody feel through this section. The trail curves to the left, exiting the "tunnel" and opening into a beautiful moss covered paradise. Completely unlike the rest of the mountain, this area is almost like a little sanctuary - calm, bright green moss and ferns stretching across the landscape along small Railway Creek.

Eventually leaving the mossy grove, the trail re-enters more typical forest and climbs uphill until it reaches a sign marked as "Jean's Trail Ogilvie Peak". It's not clear who Jean was, the person definately did have a sick sense of humor - the sign doesn't mark the continuation of the trail, but the end of it! If you look in the forest to the left, you should be able to find what remains of an old cabin - presumably the original destination of the trail.

Past this point, there is no real trail to speak of and it's extremely easy to get lost in the dark and confusing forest. A map is a definite asset here. Flagging stretches off in every direction in a haphazard way and cannot be trusted. Try to find whatever fragment of trail you can, generally making your way uphill due west from the cabin ruins and sign. On bright days some light can be seen to the left where the top of the Goat Bluffs are. It can be difficult to get a good view from here, but there may be some interesting locations waiting to be discovered. After 300m of heading west from the sign, begin heading west-north-west. Assuming you didn't get lost, you should come across a small clearing with a pond.

Strangely enough, in 2003 the pond had at least two piles of firewood near it - perhaps a trail builder? Backcountry camper hoping for better views? Some of the forested terrain near the pond almost appears to have a defined trail, but they lead nowhere and are likely the trails of animals using the water source.

From the pond, head north and begin climbing up a series of extremely steep grassy hillsides that are covered in rabbit warrens. It's only about 100 meters of vertical gain before you reach the top of Ogilvie's SE sub-peak. Don't expect much of a view - the entire top of the sub-peak is forested and you'd be hard-pressed to even realize your at the top of it. Climbing a tree offers some incredible views of Hope and the surrounding area, however.

It may be possible to climb down into the steep gully to the west, separating the sub-peak from the top of Ogilvie. Reports indicate the route is steep and *may* require ropes or technical scrambling to reach the summit via this route.

Photographs

GPS Waypoints

Trailhead N49.38743 W121.32056 10U 621880 5471882
Trail Reaches Pipeline Right-of-Way N49.38417 W121.32624 10U 621476 5471511
Trail Leaves Pipeline Right-of-Way at 1km Marker N49.38670 W121.32805 10U 621339 5471789
Large Amounts of Blowdown Over Trail N49.39043 W121.33213 10U 621033 5472197
"Jean's Trail" Sign / End of Visible Trail N49.39773 W121.34384 10U 620166 5472990
Pond N49.39861 W121.35248 10U 619537 5473074