Distance: 11 km
Elevation gain: 1320 mView mapDownload GPS track
At 3140 m, Mist Mountain is the highest mountain east of Highwood Pass and thus, of course, offers outstanding views of the area. It is also a very easy scramble, requiring no more than stamina and a tolerance for scree.
The common hikers route up Mist Mountain begins at a grassy pullout (currently no grass, just mud) on the north side of Highway 40, 13 km south of Highwood Pass or 25 km west of Highwood Junction. However, this route entails following a severely
overgrown logging road for one kilometer and crossing a flood damaged stream. On our return we ignored this logging road, instead continuing south on an excellent and obvious trail beginning where the old logging road intersects the trail starting up Mist Mountain. We reached the highway 600 m east of the usual starting point and noted that the beginning of this trail was marked with a piece of flagging on a small aspen tree. It is a far superior option to the usual route and there is plenty of space to the side of the highway to park. There is also an odd paved pullout about 300 m east of this point; I suppose you could park there too.
From this starting point the trail ascends north for 3 km, first gently through forest and then more steeply up a grassy valley to a pass between "Nameless Ridge
" to the east and a southern ridge of Mist Mountain to the west. From the pass ascend the grassy bump to the left (west) and then follow a good trail along scree slopes towards the rocky bowl south of Mist Mountain.
Shortly past where a stream materializes from the scree near the entrance to the rocky bowl begin ascending Mist Mountain. You have your choice of loose small scree, big mostly stable scree, or solid, grippy bedrock on which to ascend 500 m. It's tedious, but technically easy. If all goes well, you'll arrive on top of the southeastern ridge of Mist Mountain. The summit ridge extends to the northwest and from this vantage looks impossibly steep, but at its steepest is no steeper than what you just ascended. Just choose your route carefully as similar scree qualities exist as did earlier on the ascent. Also note that the actual summit is not what appears to be the summit from this vantage, but is rather just a short distance further.
It is possible to descend the summit via scree slopes that begin just to the southeast of the summit and deposit you at the back of the rocky bowl in which you started the final ascent. This route, however, was snow covered while we were there and thus we chose to descend the same way as we ascended, sticking as much as possible to the small loose scree to make the descent much faster and more fun.