Elevation gain: 2000ft to the lookout, and 4000ft to Mt Hankin summit and back.
A short but steep trail leads to a well maintained fire lookout from the trailhead at about 2900ft. Initially the trail goes across an overgrown cutblock, but soon enters a mature forest where it is easy to follow and is well marked with orange markers.
I found the trail in good shape even after much rain, except for some short muddy sections through meadows.
The cabin provides a fabulous view over the lakes and mountain ranges of the area. To the west the rugged peaks of the Seven Sisters park are seen with many glaciers. Storms come from the west and head across Mt Hankin, while the cabin provides a comfortable place to rest and photograph this great panorama.
A narrow trail continues past the cabin, downhill and through a dense forest. It is marked with ribbons and orange markers. After a short descent, it starts an uphill climb towards Mt Hankin summit. Treeline reached near meadows, and a creek. Follow the open ridges to your right to reach the top, while avoiding some small cliffbands.
The summit is cold and windy, and contains a large Inukshuk shaped cairn. This is one of the highest points west of Smithers. UTM of summit is: 09U 593462 6080973
The cost of staying overnight in the fire lookout is $5.00 payable in advance at Outdoor Essentials in Smithers. For cabin bookings or questions please contact: Doug Hooper at 250-847-4708 or Marcell Lavigne at 250-877-7792. Maintenance is done by the Bulkley Valley Backpackers in Smithers. Guidebook to the area trails has been published by Einar Blix of Smithers, who is planning an updated version for release in 2007, check in the local bookstore for copies.
The hut fees help with the maintenance and propane fuel costs. The lookout contains a fully equipped kitchen, stove, fridge and propane heater. Bunks for 8-10 people and a few foamies. This is a popular hut with hikers, so keep it clean.
Drive west from Smithers on hwy 16 about 25km and turn left on Kitseguecla Lake road. There is a sign here for Rocky Ridge Resort. Follow the forestry road across the railway tracks and continue for 15km.
There is a junction here. To the left is Taltzen lake, a great camping spot and fishing site.
Continue straight for 1.5km and take the left fork. Drive on this narrow road for 9km and note there is a sign for Mt Hankin - to the left. Continue on this left fork for another 1km and you come to a rather poorly maintained bridge. It is possible to drive across and park at the decrepit trail sign, or if you prefer, just turn around here and park on the roadside.
The Hankin lookout trail starts 150 meters past the old parking lot and abandoned sign (straight on the overgrown road that continues for a bit) and look to your left and uphill to spot the final Mt Hankin sign and a very narrow trail into the new growth of the cutblock.
This spot is easy to miss, I walked by it several times before I found it!
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