Hiking Mount Benson

Mount Benson is an icon of Nanaimo. Everywhere you go in town, you can see it’s rolling green ridges.The small mountain is a beautiful sight from Nanaimo but the view back down from the top is even better. There are many different ways to get to the top depending on your fitness level, mode of transportation and sense of adventure.

Disclaimer: We try to keep these directions up to date but they can change without notice because trail reroutes and logging.

Mount Benson from Witchcraft lake

Witchcraft trail up Mount Benson

Witchcraft trail up Mount Benson

One of the more popular ways to get up Mount Benson is from Witchcraft Lake. Getting to Witchcraft is straightforward. Driving along Jingle Pot from the south end(near the pub) take a left onto Kilpatrick Road. Nearly at the end of Kilpatrick turn right onto Benson View (Google Maps shows Kilpatrick going all the way to Witchcraft lake right now but that is incorrect). At the end of Benson View Road is Witchcraft Lake. The trail starts at the very end of the road near the yellow sign.The trail from Witchcraft is easy to follow with new signs provided by NALT. It’s about 3 km to the top from Witchcraft Lake and takes most people 2-3 hours.

Download the GPS track for Mount Benson from Witchcraft Lake

Mount Benson from Westwood Lake

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Westwood Benson Trail

You can also hike up Mount Benson from Westwood lake. This trail is a little harder to follow than the one from Witchcraft. It is less steep but longer than the Witchcraft trail.To hike up Mount Benson from Westwood:

  1. Start by going around the east end of the lake (to the right if you are facing the water from the main parking lot). Go all the way around the end and turn up onto the powerlines around the back.
  2. Continue across the power lines and go straight up into the woods on the other side.
  3. Continue straight up this trail all way up until you cross a stream and enter a clear cut. Follow the trail through clear cut and cross the road on the other side.
  4. The trail goes from here up onto another logging road.
  5. Cross this logging road, the trail continues just on the other side of it.
  6. Turn right on this logging road and hike to where it intersects another road to form a “T”.
  7. At the “T” intersection a trail will continue straight into the woods. Follow this trail until you hit another logging road then turn right and head up along this road.
  8. Follow this road until you hit another intersection and a sign post.
  9. From here you can go right and connect with the Witchcraft lake trails or you can go left and follow the Te’tuxtwon

From here there are good signposts up the rest of the way to the top. Basically follow the trails all the way up!

Mount Benson from Nanaimo Lakes Road

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Benson Access Road

There is an access road that runs to the top of Benson but it’s gated to prevent vehicle access. While this prevents vehicle access you can still hike, bike and road the road that leads to the top. Head out Nanaimo Lakes Road from Wakesiah Ave. Where it changes from Nanaimo Lakes Road to South Forks Road there is a dirt road that leads off to the right. Take this and drive to the yellow gate. Crews still go in and out of the gate on a regular basis so don’t park in front of the gate. Start hiking at the gate and take right fork of the logging road. Follow the main road for about 5k and then take a right hand turn onto a smaller logging road. Follow this smaller road right to the top of Mount Benson! This way is quite a bit longer than the other two coming in at about 8 km each way. Check the photo below for what the smaller access road turn off looks like. I recommend grabbing the GPS track to know exactly where you are going.

Download the GPS track for Mount Benson from Nanaimo Lakes Road

Now go hike Mount Benson!

Getting up Mount Benson is easier than you think. If you haven’t been up there yet, you should pick a nice sunny day, pack up some food and water and get out on those trails.

As always, if you have any questions, email me at [email protected], fill out the Contact Form, or leave a comment below!