Legend has it that Toad Mountain got its name when a prospector was staking his land claim, looked down, saw a toad, and… that was that. Nevertheless, Toad is a legendary ridge-line hike just outside of Nelson. And the view from the summit? Toad-ally awesome.
Trailhead: Unnamed road, off of Gold Creek Road
Distance, Round Trip: 8km
Driving to Toad requires courage. The trailhead is reached in less than 45 minutes from Nelson, but the access roads are quite something.
The first road is Gold Creek Road and that sucker is being actively logged. Yep, that meant encountering massive logging trucks edging their way down the mountain. The second road is an unnamed turn-off that carries on another 5km up the hill. This second road is bumpy, lumpy, steep and probably requires a 4WD high clearance situation.
Anyways, the trailhead is really just the area of the road that widens enough to allow for vehicle parking. Stopping the car, you’ll see a helpful sign on the ground:
You then follow the road on foot for another ten minutes. It worsens, narrows and you’ll be glad you walked.
The proper trailhead comes into view:
Up to Summit One
The trail climbs up to Summit One, along to Summit Two, and then edges a ridge to Summit Three: Toad Mountain.
The climb up to Summit One is the most challenging parts of the hike. The trail is well-defined, but involves steep, vertical stepping through the forest. Eventually, the trees break away into rocky outcroppings.
Once you get to the top, the views start in full force! You’ll be able to see Kokanee, Nelson, Ymir, and up ahead: Toad Mountain!
Now that you’re up high, you’re ridge-line hiking! Enjoy the views!
The trail dips down before it starts to climb Summit Two, and it was here that we saw the namesake of our hike:
The fall colours were in full-force for our sunny September 26th day:
The Final Ridge
There is something exciting about summiting! The final ridge to Toad levels out for a while, giving you a chance to recover before the proper summit:
Toad Mountain Summit
The summit, like most summits, is spectacular. The nice thing about Toad though is that you can look around and scry plenty of local landmarks, the geography is an epic twist on a familiar landscape. Nelson with its Big Orange Bridge, the Kokanee mountains, distant Valhallas, nearby Ymir and Whitewater. It’s all there.
We had lunch at the summit, spotted as many peaks as we could remember, then headed back down the ridge for the return home.