July in July – Kamloops Trails
Posted on: August 13, 2019 12:52 am
by: Doug Smith
We hiked to the summit of July Mountain in the Coquihalla Summit Area in July. Access to the trailhead is off the Coquihalla Highway onto the Juliet Creek FSR. The road is good for a ways as it climbs up the valley, bearing west. At 4.5 km, the road drops down to the creek, crosses a bridge (the sign says it is closed) then arrives at a junction. The road to the right is an ATV route, rough and long. The track to the left is the right route. It traverses a ridge bearing south then southwest for 8 km. The last time we drove up there we found some of the waterbars to be deep and rough so we parked and hiked the last part of the road. On this trip, we also found the old road to be grown in (and rougher yet) so we again parked and hiked the last section of the road. Without some attention to brush clearing, this road will be inaccessible to high clearance vehicles in 2 years and the whole route will be too long to hike.
We passed the trailhead sign (BC Rec Sites and Trails) after hiking about 1.5 km and continued along an old road track, now becoming grown in on both sides.
The trail starts as an easy hike along the remains of an old track, then follows the creek upstream as a single track. At one point the trail winds through a series of wet meadows with cotton grass and bog orchids growing in the open spots.
From the forest, the trail emerges into a rock slope below the ridge on the north side. This part is steeper and takes about an hour to climb to subalpine meadows near the lake.
After hiking about 4.5 km, the trail disappears near Drum Lake. The route to the summit goes around the right side of the lake, then up a rock gully to the ridge above. Drum Lake is a fine spot for lunch, to camp, or just to explore.
The trail winds along the ridge, going around a number of small rocky hills that collectively comprise the summit of July Mountain. The highest point is to the south, past two small tarns.
From the summit Drum Lake sits at the bottom of the cirque 0.5 km below.
July Mountain has one of the best viewpoints in the Interior of BC. To the west is the Anderson Range, with Coast Range peaks beyond. More photos are provided in a news article on this website – July Mountain Vistas.
Our hike from the chosen parking spot along the old road to the top of the mountain and back by the same route was 11.5 km, taking about 5 hours. The climb was 810 m (2657 feet). the lower trail is a good one and the upper trail is rocky and steep, with some route-finding required.