Mount Mara from the Northeast
Posted on: June 4, 2019 10:27 pm
by: Doug Smith
I have hiked to the top of Mount Mara about 50 times over 4 decades. The view from the summit is wonderful with vistas of the river valleys and all the hills surrounding them. We vary the route most times to explore, but most often we go to the top from the northeast side, parking at the end of the Pruden Pass Road. There is a gate there and then we immediately veer left, climbing the open hillside, bearing southwest up a steep slope. There is no trail but the route is open grasslands or open forest so we just choose a path and climb. Our first goal is to get to a bench halfway up the mountain.
As we crested the slope onto the bench we aimed for a pond next to an old homestead. The Damgaards lived there from 1912 – 1919. We visited some of the remnants of the buildings then aimed south to pick up a trail which starts on a small ridge.
The trail is steep but quite distinct for the route to the top, but then it disappears here and there so we know we have to aim at a long angle to the deep gully where we pick up the trail again. Once on this trail we follow it all the way to the front side of the mountain. The actual summit of Mount Mara is to the northeast and we have been there lots of times, but it is more treed and so the views are more limited so we always seem to have lunch on the south side of the mountain.
To the east is the Tranquille River Valley with Red Plateau extending west around the north side of Kamloops Lake.
To the southwest Battle Bluff juts out to Kamloops Lake from the Dewdrop Range. The rugged hills surrounding Kamloops Lake are visible to Six Mile Point.
To the est is the City of Kamloops lying around the confluence of the South Thompson and the North Thompson Rivers.
On top of the mountain I was pleased to find Okanogan fameflower in bloom, a bit of a rate occurrence in our area.
There were other wildflowers in bloom too on the grassland slopes, in glades, on the rocky mountaintop, and in the douglas fir forest.
The up and back route from the northeast requires some navigating (and confidence), but anyone can just bear southwest to the front of the mountain and then pick up parts of the trail coming back. The distance is about 8.3 km with some steep sections, but all routes to the top are steep. The route from the northeast has the least elevation gain (448m) and is more forested.
There are several articles on this website about this same route, but also on the route up the south side and the west side, all good options for a day of hiking on Mount Mara.