“But I don’t even know where Green Mountain is?!?” That’s exactly what I said when I first heard about it. I thought I knew the area around Nanaimo fairly well. Mount Benson is right there. Blackjack ridge is right behind it. There’s a bit of a hill that some call Rutherford ridge, or Rutherford flats, or that empty area of bush that’s beside the Quilted Duck. Those were the places to hike around Nanaimo, or so I thought a couple years ago.
As soon as I heard about Green Mountain I wanted to go. It used to be an old ski hill. I thought there would be an abundance of information on this place on the internet but there seems to be very little. We never did see the lodge, or what’s left of it as it was quite foggy and our route didn’t take us close enough. Next time.
As for the rest of the hike….it was fantastic. The drive is quite long. It look us just over an hour to drive from the main manned gates to the ‘parking lot’ where you start to hike from.
It takes you on the right-hand side of first and second lake and then across a bridge and along the left-hand side of fourth lake. From there you turn off the main logging road and uphill towards Green Mountain. Most of the side road is treed but you get a glimpse every now and again of the hills that rise up all around you.
The road up the mountain is quite tame for the most part. You could go a fair ways in a car even. There are a few washouts though that even my Toyota Tacoma had to work a bit at though so I wouldn’t recommend anything less than a 4×4 for the trip. Once you get to the ‘parking lot’ you’ll be able to see the ferns that cover the open hills of Green Mountain.
We hiked for a while up the hill (it’s a steep one, you’re hiking up a ski hill) when it started to rain, and then snow. About 500 metres from the top we stopped and had lunch. We were so close to the top but had to turn around because of time. The gates into the Nanaimo Lakes area closed at 5pm on Sundays. I believe this is the summer schedule so it might change during the winter. To get to the top and back out in a day, I’d recommend either driving like crazy on the pothole-riddled roads or leaving quite early in the morning. I haven’t yet been stuck in the gates there after hours and don’t plan to push my luck.
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