Skip Mountain

Photo Credit: Morgan Hite

Skip Mountain

🕔Nov 06, 2017

words by Matt J. Simmons, map by Morgan Hite This is a serious peak and it offers one hell of a view from its summit. There are alpine lakes, countless minor summits and endless forests, creeks, rivers, and streams. The indefatigable Skeena River cuts a swath through the jagged mountainous terrain. Haida Gwaii floats lazily in the ocean beyond the Hecate Strait. The Alaskan Panhandle dips down into Canada, almost touching our northern shores. Closer, there’s Work Channel, drifting its tidal waters inland to meet up with old dusty logging roads. Mount Hays, a tiny bump on a very big landscape, hides the coastal town of Prince Rupert from view.

Skip Mountain is a short scramble from the Skeena and arguably the best hike within half an hour from Rupert. There are two ways to access the summit:

The first is directly opposite the Tyee viewpoint on the Skeena River, the point where the highway first descends down to meet the river if you’re coming from Rupert, or climbs up and away from it if you’re coming from Terrace. Park at the viewpoint and carefully cross the highway to access the old road. Follow the road to its end and look for a flagged trail/route on the right. Follow the route up the long south-facing flank of the mountain into the open subalpine and eventually, to the alpine.

The second route, and the one depicted in the map, is 30.8 km from Galloway Rapids Bridge. Coming from Rupert, continue east past the Tyee viewpoint and along the Skeena River for roughly six km. There is a small quarry on the left. Park in the pullout and follow a very old overgrown road up the ridge. Once on the road, the route, though brushed in, is easy to follow. Eventually it leads to a subalpine bog where it’s wet in summer and icy in winter. Follow the flagging up into the alpine. The trail leads to a spectacular lake, nestled into rocky ridges and towering cliffs. From the trailhead to the lake is about five km. Technically, the trail ends here. To access the summit of Skip Mountain, scramble the ridge on the right-hand side of the lake (northern shore) for another two km. At the peak there is a summit cairn and an unforgettable view.