In summer time this is nothing more then a steep slog uphill as you follow the unmaintained trail past the established network of trails. In winter time depending on the route you take it can be quite the adventure.
According to the map the unmaintained trail starts right near the Kovach trail and Aspen trail. I unfortunately was day dreaming when passing this and ended up going right past it and continued on for over a kilometer. Upon realizing and turning back I took the first sign of tracks into the forest and realized soon afterwards that the real trail was another 500m south of that location at least. At this point I did not feel like turning around again and continued onwards. I have no idea if the 'correct' trail had any better conditions but the route I took will definitely test your fitness level. There was about a meter and half of snow and large amount of forest that required constant change of direction. You can either push your way through at times or backtrack and go around. Adding to that, you also have to break trail in the powdered puffy snow uphill the entire way. To say I could feel it when I got to the top would be an understatment.
On this day the visibility was very bad with wind and snow. The view still looked nice at times so I would imagine on a clear day it could look rather remarkable and a lot more rewarding!
Former Mount Kidd Fire Lookout Trip Log
The trail head starts on the north end of the parking lot. There is a sign shortly thereafter that shows a map of the trail system. The goal is basically straight across the system of trails on the opposite side from the parking lot. Don't forget to be courteous and not walk on the groomed ski trail. Walk to the side.
As there are many ways to reach the opposite end, I chose to make a left and after a few hundred meters there was a snowshoe trail on the right side that when followed, would actually lead right to the west end.
The narrow snowshoe trail is easy to follow as it is marked with snowshoe signs and flagging tape every 50-100 meters.
As mentioned earlier, if you cross reference my entrance point to the unmaintained trail on the map, you'll see that it is a few hundred meters north of that. I ended up back tracking for over a kilometer due to missing this since I didn't check the map until I was further up the slope. There might be more of an established line up the hill on that side but it was too late for me to find that out as I put on my snowshoes and away I went into the bush. There are a couple pieces of flagging tape tied to the trees at this point but have been weathered by the elements and are no longer the bright color they once were.
Soon after leaving the ski/snowshoe trail you come face to face to trees and have to start contorting yourself to get by.
About 250 meters after the following these footsteps, the footsteps ended, turned around and headed back. At this point I figured I backtracked enough and since this route does require some bush whacking I ventured onwards. The terrain quickly steepens and the snow deepens. There was about a meter and half of snow on the day I went.
After passing the first steep slope the terrain does become a little easier to traverse. At no point does it level off but the steepness does fluctuate making it a little easier.
One of the challenges you encounter is finding the easiest route amongst the trees. The forest is rather thick at times which does make you go back and forth trying to find the easy point. The clearings are always a nice relief and there are a few along the way. You want to stay clear of being too far south in the open as that slope has a much higher avalanche possibility.
GPS Plotted Route
The descent is a better indication of the profile for this trip as the way there has about an extra 3km hike on the way up. The waypoint of "entrace" is where I went off the established trail and headed uphill.
Click here to download the GPS route in GPX format. You may have to right click and select "Save Link As" if your browser does not download it automatically. Be sure to save it as a .gpx file.
What were your experiences snowshoeing Former Mount Kidd Fire Lookout?
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