Distance: 8 km
Elevation gain: 720 m View map Download GPS track
For our second adventure of the long weekend we chose to hike to Falls Lookout, an active fire lookout located west of Ram Falls. This is not a popular summit whatsoever, and while I had information on two routes to its summit, neither seemed ideal for us. It didn’t seem like it would be that difficult to find our own route up, however, so I figured we’d improvise as we went along.
We parked at the end of the Hummingbird Creek Road and started hiking along a trail on the righthand side of the creek flowing down from the western slopes of the mountain (the beginning of the trail seems like a continuation of the road so it’s impossible to miss). Upstream long sections of the trail have been wiped out by flooding, but by sticking to the righthand side of the drainage we always picked it up again. We had to cross the meandering creek countless times, but each crossing was nothing more than an easy rock-hop. I imagine the creek would be dry later in the year.
The trail became more defined as it entered forest, following the righthand bank of the easternmost of three major drainages that converged into the one we’d been following. After crossing a prominent gully with a small stream in it we left the drainage and started ascending a steep but stable rubble and grass slope to our right (east). It was hard work, but nothing more than a hike.
Less than two hours after starting out we topped out on the ridge a short distance west of the lookout. We had a snack here, then sidehilled around a minor bump on the ridge as we made our way towards the lookout. Just 30 m below the summit we reached the crux of the trip: A narrow, but very long and steep snow-filled gully. Had it been icy there would’ve been no safe way to cross, but it was soft enough today that we were able to kick-step into it. When dry it looks like there might be a small cliff band here, but there would likely be an easy way down.
It was then a very short hike to the summit and lookout buildings. As we got closer I called out to the attendant to avoid startling her and she came out and chatted briefly with us. The view was very nice and much better than that from Ram Lookout, and it was exciting to see the seemingly infinite number of possible scrambles and hikes in this isolated area.
We descended the way we came up, except dropped down to the creek further upstream than where we’d left it. The slope was less steep this way and the upper creek was interesting with several tiny waterfalls, so if you’re following our track I’d recommend ascending via our descent route. Really anything would work in this easy terrain, however.
An easy walk back out along the main creek then returned us to our truck, and after another night of incredibly peaceful camping we headed back to the city. It was perhaps the best long weekend we’ve ever had!