After you drive west out of Fort Nelson and begin to enter the BC Northern Rockies, the roadside scenery becomes spectacular.
You’ll want to stop for photos at Summit Lake (Mile 373; Km 601) in Stone Mountain Provincial Park for two reasons:
1) Summit Lake is gorgeous, with clear water and mountainous shorelines
2) You’re now parked at the highest point on the Alaska Highway
You’re at 4,250 feet in elevation.
That’s not as high as some of the summits you might have scrambled (and it doesn’t compare to roads in Bolivia, Tibet and India at more than 18,000 feet), but as far as major highways are concerned, it’s up there.
“So what can we do here?” you might find yourself asking.
Many hiking trails from the highway’s edge lead to beautiful views. Here are the ones closest to your stop at Summit lake:
Summit Ridge Mile 372; Km 600 (hike)
This moderate 4.5 km hike offers a panoramic view of the Northern Rockies and looks down onto Flower Springs Trail and Summit Tower Road on one side, and an unnamed river valley on the other.
Flower Springs Trail: Mile 373; Km 601 (hike)
Take this 5 km walking path through valleys of alpine flowers to a lake and waterfall at the base of Mt. St. George.
Summit Peak Trail Mile 373; Km 601 (hike)
Summit Mt. St. Paul with a 5 km hike. Enjoy panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains. Keep an eye out for camouflaged rock ptarmigan.
Summit Tower Road: Mile 373; Km 600 (hiking/biking/riding)
This is a moderately easy 12 km walk following a decommissioned road through alpine landscapes to views of the McDonald valley and the Northern Rockies.
What else can you do up here?
You can fish! Anglers can try their luck for rainbow trout, lake trout and mountain whitefish in Summit Lake. Motorized boats are allowed and there’s a cement launch. There are also multiple highway-accessible sections of the McDonald River, where you can fish for Arctic Grayling and Dolly Varden.
Read “Hiking the Summit Peak Trail in Stone Mountain Park,” a blog post by Murray Lundberg with good reviews.
What can you expect?