You won’t be disappointed, standing atop the highest peak in the Rossland Range. At 2377m, Old Glory towers above the visible world and offers spectacular views of the nearby Monashee mountains. Most of this hike is done up high, along alpine meadows and ridge lines, so your trek will be bordered by wildflowers and the hazy blue of distant horizons.
Trailhead: Highway 3B
Distance, Round Trip: 17km
Old Glory Mountain has always been a great lookout. From the 1940’s to 60’s, Old Glory hosted Canada’s highest weather station on its summit, with 3 men living up there year round. The summit also had a fire lookout that was manned in the summer months. Today, ruins of these structures still remain on Old Glory as broken stone foundations and rusted iron scraps. An old cabin still sits atop the summit, cabled down on all sides against the wind.
The trailhead is a pull-out off of highway 3B, north of Rossland. There is lots of room to park though the gravel lot is a little rough.
Now, you have a choice of trails and have to make a decision. Both the Old Glory trail and the Plewman trail will take you up to Unnecessary Ridge. Plewman is a harder 4.8km trek up the Hannah Creek valley. Old Glory is a gentler 6.8km trail and spends the last 3km walking the alpine meadows of Unnecessary Ridge. We decided to do a loop: Plewman up, Old Glory down.
Up the Plewman Trail
The Plewman trail crosses Hannah Creek twice and then takes you steadily up the valley. It’s a hard march upwards, but as the cedars fade away and you get higher towards Unnecessary Ridge, a welcome series of switchbacks start up.
Don’t forget to turn around and look back. An awesome view is opening up behind, with the City of Trail twinkling far below.
The Plewman Trail ends on top of Unnecessary Ridge where you’ll meet the Seven Summits Trail. The view from Unnecessary Ridge is great – you can look over both sides and see all around! You’ll also see Old Glory for the first time, rising up to the north-west.
Onwards to the Summit!
In order to go up, you have to go down. That is probably why it is called Unnecessary Ridge: it adds an unnecessary climb in the way of Old Glory.
Anyways, it’s about 3km down and up to Old Glory and you’ll quickly see just where you’re headed:
The trail wraps around the gentler south slope of Old Glory, and as it climbs, you’ll be treated to some awesome views!
On top of Old Glory!
The summit is a dizzy, spectacular place to be. We walked around the old cabin so we could enjoy the north-east view. The spiky Valhalla mountains were edging the horizon along with the big old Kokanee glacier.
Down the Old Glory Trail
The walk back down was hot. The sun came out and reminded us how there’s no shade on these alpine slopes. We each packed 3L of water though, and that was the right amount.
Back on Unnecessary Ridge, we turned right to take the longer Old Glory trail back. At first, this was awesome, because we followed the Seven Summits Trail for 3km along the sunny paradise of the ridge with soft valley views on either side. The birds were singing, the flowers blooming, the wind sighing a gentle summer breeze.
But once we turned onto Old Glory Trail to head off the ridge and down to the car, we had regrets. At first, this was because the Old Glory Trail was steep and covered in loose slippery rocks. Then, we had regrets because we were tired and had chosen a longer return route. Then, we had regrets because we saw this:
Yup, those scratches had wet beads of sap along the claw marks. They were fresh. A bear was in the area and suddenly we realized how long it had been since we saw any other humans.
Well, what can you do? We finished our hike with lots of loud talking and vigilance and a touch of bearanoia.