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

westwood_benson_trail

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

benson_access_road

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!

19 thoughts on “Hiking Mount Benson”

  1. […] south end of the lake and head into Morrell Sanctuary for a longer run. One of the routes to the top of Mount Benson starts at the Westwood lake. This route is longer and slightly more complicated than the one from […]

  2. Hey,Mt. Benson is most definitly my favorite hiking spot. There is so many little spots to sit and have a picnic or just sit and enjoy the view. I think if you have the day it is most worthwhile to explore around the side trails (just be aware of where you are…). We found the remains of a old cabin but have yet to find the plane crash site… any suggestions? We also want to try to get up there right now but there seems to still have snow on the top. Is it deep this time of year or can you hike easily? Great site BTW!!

    1. Hey Stefanie, I’ll be heading up there this weekend to check out where the snow is and take some photos. I’m going to see if I can find the plane wreck as well as I haven’t run across it either. I think it’s going to be covered by snow still though. The snow shouldn’t be very deep but there will still be some near the top. I was talking to a friend yesterday and he said there is still snow but it’s definitely hikeable.

    2. @Stefanieive heard about the cabin it was apparently an old site used for witchcraft and other things, its apparently haunted ppl reporting unexplaned site and noises , id love to know how you got there

  3. Hello Ross. Thanks for the info on the mountain. My grandfather died on that plane crash and my grandmother just recently died. My dad and i wanted to go up there and bring her ashes along. if there’s any chance you find it would you forward it’s GPS location? Regards.Shane

    1. @Shane Hi Shane, may i ask what was your grand-fathers name , what did he do for a living in Kitimat, you say he was a passenger on that fatal flight of the QCA Canso-A CF-FOQ amphibian aircraft….Stanley Strazza ([email protected])

    2. Howdy forum members and guest…I stumbled onto this site as I was web crawling for the plne crash info I have been searching for the past ten years…lots of stuff I have gathered,but I have a few holes in my story to fill in..I am luvin’ my hobby of wreck-hunting/chasing of downed planes…I hope you can assist me in my constant search as I am still thirsty for more…cheers!….stanley strazza

    3. hello forum members and guests..I am a retired IUOE local 115 member, (marine division) Dredging/Piledriving/Marine Construction..I am an avid aircraft wreck-hunter/chaser,a race car guy…I have searched for info on that particular Canso-A amphibian aircraft that had crashed into “Benson” for the past ten years, still, I am thirsty for more…I also have a few holes in my story and hope I can find the answers here…..looks like a fun forum that I’m sure I will enjoy….cheers!…stanley strazza

      1. I wish to inform the members that my e-mail has been changed to [email protected] .com…hope to hear from anyone who can add anything to the crash of the Canso-A of Queen Charlotte Airlines… cheers!

    4. if im heading up mount benson from nanaimo lakes how do i get to the crash site? my hubby and i want to go up and look around, weve heard lots of stories about ”wierd” happenings in the area. unexplanned sights ext.

    5. can someone hike in alone? i read there is a steep area near the top with a rope. that shouldn’t be a problem. what about wildlife?

      1. Hey Sumeet.I don’t recommend hiking along in a place you don’t know but you can. There isn’t anything on Mount Benson that will be too much to do alone. The route up from Witchcraft Lake is the easier route to follow with signs along the way and it’s shorter. The route from Westwood is a bit more confusing and doesn’t have any signs until half way up.I haven’t seen any wildlife while hiking Benson but they certainly can be there. There have been cougar and bear sightings over the years closer to the town so they could be on the trail. If you can make some yell or clap once in a while, or talk loudly with the people you’re with, that tends to keep most of them away.

    6. Ross,I do appreciate that you try to help people find their way in the outdoors but it is really frustrating when the instructions are wrong.,  For Mt Benson from Westwood Lake, you turn left not right at the last turn.  Turning right takes you to witchcraft Lake which I just finished with 25 lbs on my back.  Came back and went left and found the trail.  Please correct your instructions.  There was another group who also followed your instructions and were lost today.  Thx.

    7. pattymc Hi Patty! Thanks for commenting. In the Westwood section above, it says this about the last turn: “From here you can go right and connect with the Witchcraft lake trails or you can go left and follow the Te’tuxtwon trail. From here there are good signposts up the rest of the way to the top.” What would you suggest changing it to to make more sense?

    8. When I hike from Westwood there is the dog off leash sign at the back of woodwood once you cross the powerlines there a trail that will go into the woods following leads to logging roads and you can follow the logging road up most of the mountain when you reach the logging roads you will see where the logging road go up to more clearcuts keep going south into the logging road forks then turn right you will know your in the right place as it start getting real steep all the way up from this point keep falling the road up you will know your on the right logging road cause it gets steep and will open up to more clearcuts higher up and you will see the water too keep on the logging road into you see a post with a blue sign that has a map that tells you the rest of the way up.

      1. You got it Haig. You can cross some of the clear cuts if you know the way but it can be harder to find the trail on the other side. Witchcraft is a good start too if you haven’t tried that one.

    9. Some people hike right up the first few clear cuts too save time you can reach the logging roads higher up above the clearcuts too save more time if you do not want to take the long way up

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