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Posted By: photoboi
- Mon Jul 04 07:57:51 UTC 2016
CommentDon't know how to edit my review- I said this hike was about 5 hours; it's more like 3.5 round trip but I extend it to 5 by stopping for photography. Not sure how the originator says it is a 2-hour hike; maybe I'm way out of shape or don't remember because it's been two years but I'm pretty sure it's longer than that. I'd be impressed if someone could do it in 2 hours round-trip.
Posted By: photoboi
- Mon Jul 04 07:51:59 UTC 2016
UpsideIncredible views of the Similkameen valley; lots of beautiful and unique desert plants, insects, and animals; great workout; excellent basalt column formations. Hot and dry. DownsideRocky, heat could be a problem for some. Need to carry a LOT of water. CommentOne of my very favourite hikes. I try to do it at least once a year, if I can get out to the Okanagan (ok, technically the Similkameen...). It's a long, hot slog up a couple of south facing mountains, so arrive extremely hydrated and carry a lot of water as it is usually in the high 30s in summer. If you like to sweat, this is the place. The views out over the valley are incredible, as is the desert flora and fauna. This hike is about 5 hours but I usually extend it to take some time for photography. There are rattlesnakes around, likely a few bears and cougars although I've only seen snakes. The trail is fairly easy to follow; start at the parking lot off Liddencoat road and climb towards the weather station at the top of the first mountain. Shortly after passing the weather station, there is one main junction with a fork that splits off to another part of the area (also worth exploring if you have time). To reach the Columns, head left at the fork. You're getting close when you go through a gate and reach a stand of birch trees on your right. Interesting to watch the desert foliage change with elevation. Passing the birch trees, you'll head left through what is private land with a herd of cows that you may encounter. You will eventually enter a bit of forest, follow the path as it heads left to the columns. As it is so hot, not many people hike all the way up here but you might see or hear ATVs or off-road bikes, maybe the occasional 4x4. Definitely a tough workout and a killer on the knees on the way down. When you get back to the parking lot, head left at the highway and stop at the Bears fruit stand for some fresh, ice-cold spring water from the pump out back!