In July I had the chance to get up the modest peak of Gemini Mountain at 1516m. I’ve seen it many times from the neighbouring Green Mountain but only now planned to hike it.If you haven’t been to Green or Gemini yet, you should plan a trip out there as soon as you can. For people with 4×4’s they are of the most accessible, easy to hike mountains around with stunning, near 360 views at the top.
The Trail Up Mount Gemini
It’s nice and easy to get to like Green and Gemini if you’ve got a 4×4. Head out to Nanaimo lakes and continue past second lake. Take the bridge with the painted rock that crosses the river. (Need to find branch number of Green turnoff) Hang a right on Branch number and continue on that road right to the top.
Snow on Gemini Mountain
The road is 2 wheel drivable all the way to the washout that’s about half way up the back of Green. It’s a fairly big ditch that only recently has had some logs piled in it to make it a bit easier. 2 wheel drive trucks might be able to make it through but lower vehicles definitely wouldn’t.
From here the road takes you up to Green. Just before you hit the trailhead for the trail up Green there’s a road that takes off to the right. Take that and follow it all the way up Gemini. You end up at the top of a clearcut with the trail, if you could really call it that, leading up into the forest.
Pay careful attention to the flagging, it is the easiest route up but hard to follow. I started just heading straight up the hill not realizing there was flagging until about half way up. It’s quite steep the whole way up but nothing requiring any ropes.
Half way up there was a bit of snow started to show itself and a little past there. The open ground was covered with 15-30 cm. The thick treed sections were still clear underneath. I covered the open snow-covered ground in good time with easy kick-steps but had to work harder finding a route through the trees near the top.
It was a welcome reprieve from all the mosquito’s when I broke out of the trees onto the snow. I have no idea where they all came from but the little bloodsuckers were out in force. Don’t stop for a rest stop for too long in the woods, you might be carried away by the long-nosed troops.
On ridge up Gemini
Cutting around to the left and up onto the ridge it was an easy jaunt to the top to hang out in the bright, warm sunshine. Great views led off in every direction. Green Mountain’s greenery was almost entirely void of snow. Looking back towards Nanaimo, De Cosmos, Hooker and Benson had lots their white coverage weeks ago.
View from the top
On the hike up to the top, I was pleased to see that the actual summit is only about 1 km from the clearcut. Researching the trail, I was under the impression the summit was over 2 km from the start, the taller peak just to the south. I’m not sure why the taller one is not the actual summit but after finally getting to the top I’m glad they named them the way they did. Another kilometer down and up the far peak would have been pushing my time that day.
Peak next to Gemini
The trip back down to the truck was a quick and easy one. The flagging was easy to follow all the way without much trouble and it seemed to be an easier route. I had already hiked most of it once though so we knew it better than on the way down.
What I liked about Mount Gemini
It’s relatively easy to get to. There aren’t many places that you can drive an hour and hike an hour and be on top of a beautiful snow-covered peak with great vistas in the background. Green is similar if you want don’t care to fight off the bugs while you’re hiking.
The views are spectacular. If you’re looking for some unique views of snow-covered peaks in the Nanaimo Lakes area, check out Gemini. For extra view points camp in the area and watch the sunset over the mountains to the West. I camped in the truck in the clearcut the night before the hike and was thoroughly impressed with the views of the sun falling behind the peaks in the distance.
What I didn’t like about Mount Gemini
The bugs were horrible. The night before and during the hike the mozzies were everywhere. Any time to rest and 3 or 4 more bites were added to the pile. Some good bug spray might have helped. I highly recommend taking something to ward off the little critters.
For how nice the views were at the top, the hike to get up there wasn’t terribly impressive. There were a lot of trees packed tightly together so there weren’t any views on the way up. The trees break 3/4 of the way up and you get a bit of a sneak peak at the views from the top but hardly anything before that.
The trail was hard to follow. I found the way no problem since I just had to go up but the flagging left a bit to be desired. I removed some flagging from dead brush on the ground and placed it higher up in the trees. Some of the flagging had been placed when there was a ton of snow so they were 12 or 15 feet in the air and tough to see from the ground. I’m assuming there isn’t much traffic up there since the trail was hardly visible. Some sections resembled a trail but it could have been where the water runs down the hill.
What gear to take up Mount Gemini
Breakfast on Gemini Mountain
I only spent a few hours on Gemini so I had minimal gear. I was wearing my full Scarpa Baron hiking boots to get them ready for more hiking later on this summer. They proved very helpful with kickstepping in the snow and keeping my feet warm and dry. The stiff soles made the ascents through the snow nice and easy. Anything from runners up to full mountain boots would work for this trail.
On my back I had my Osprey Talon 33 pack which has served me so well the last 2 years. I was just carrying some food, water and a shell for the top so there wasn’t much weight in it. I used a platypus water bladder to keep hydrated on the go. I find I rarely need to stop for a break unless it’s incredibly steep so I just drink on the fly.
The sun was out blazing and with the snow doubling it’s effect sunglasses and sunscreen are a must. I had my Julbo Nomad’s with Zebra anti-fog lenses on my eyes and some cheap sunscreen. They both did their job well.
Get out and hike Mount Gemini
Even with the numerous bugs competing for blood as I trudged up he steep hill, the views at the top were worth every second of it. If there weren’t so many other hikes in the area that I haven’t done yet, I’d be out exploring Gemini more.
As always, if you have any questions or comments about hiking Gemini or any of the mountains in the Nanaimo Lakes area, please let me know. You can email me at [email protected], use the Contact Form or leave a comment on this post.