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Mt Moriarty Trail Guide - photos & guide by Lonny Barr  


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Boulders on the Ridge - Mt Moriarty Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Mt Moriarty Trail Guide and photos by Lonny Barr

Info:

  • Distance: From parking lot to summit is about 4km, with 700m of elevation gain
  • Difficulty: Moderate-Difficult, steep trail up to the ridge, then a 2km long ridge to the summit. A few minimal-exposure scrambles required just before gaining the ridge.
  • Hiking Time: About 2.5-3 hours one-way from parking lot to summit. Makes a great day hike.
  • How to get there: Follow Highway 4 east of Port Alberni up the hump and turn right on the logging road that is marked “Arrowsmith Ski Area” (Loon Lake Main). Reset your odometer here. After a couple kms you will come to a “T” junction, turn left onto Cameron Main. Follow this logging road, cross over Cameron River Bridge and keep right at the fork around 10km (going left goes up Arrowsmith). Continue following Cameron mainline in an eastern direction. At about 15km go left at the fork, and at around 20km keep to the right at the fork. After a few more km you will come to one last fork that you keep to the left, and soon you will see a good pullout spot on your right to park. The trailhead is marked with a sign saying “Labour Day Lake” about 10m further up the road on the right.
  • UPDATE – as of 2016 there has been new logging alongside the trail, and there is now a large number of trees and debris covering the trail, making it difficult to follow. Until the trail is restored, an easier route is to drive past the regular trailhead and into the cutblock and take the right bend. From you can park or drive to near the end of the road before hiking into the timber. There is some blue ribbon at the end of the cutblock, and from here you have to bushwhack through the blowdown and debris into the forest at an angle of about 45 degrees. At some point you will intersect the regular trail so keep a close eye out for a path or flagging heading uphill. Hopefully in the coming years the trail from Labour Day Lake will be re-established.
Trail around Labour Day Lake - Mt Moriarty Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Trail around Labour Day Lake
Steep Trail Up - Mt Moriarty Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Steep Trail Up
Gaining the Ridge - Mt Moriarty Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Gaining the Ridge
Bluffs on the Southern part of the Ridge - Mt Moriarty Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Bluffs on the Southern part of the Ridge

Remarks:

  • This trail is probably best in summer and early fall, as there is considerable snowpack until late July/early August. The route can be taken in winter, but avalanche safety must be considered. The weather can deteriorate quickly at higher elevations. Always dress appropriately and watch the weather carefully.
  • Labour Day Lake itself is a great destination, with an easy trail looping around the entire lake and a few great spots for camping. It is also a fun place to go fly-fishing.
  • Pack your own water up the mountain as there is limited access to creeks on this trail
  • The gates leading into this area are sometimes locked in the summer if the risk of forest fires is high

Lonny and Bryce at the Summit (Arrowsmith in Background) - Mt Moriarty Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Lonny and Bryce at the Summit (Arrowsmith in Background)
View from Summit - Mt Moriarty Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
View from Summit
Ridge View from Summit with Baker in Background - Mt Moriarty Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Ridge View from Summit with Baker in Background

Mt Moriarty is one of the more prominent summits of southern Vancouver Island, and is easily seen from the Parksville area. The approach to the summit from Labour Day Lake is a great hike with some great views of the East Coast of Vancouver Island, the Strait of Georgia, and the small lakes below.

The route begins by following the trail down to Labour Day Lake from the end of Cameron Mainline. Once you reach the lake, you will reach a fork in the trail that circumnavigates Labour Day Lake. Keep to the left and follow the shorline until you come across an obvious campsite. Shortly after the campsite, look for a flagged route on your left that will lead up the steep mountainside.

The trail leads east and is a steady climb for about an hour or so through some nicely forested hillside. The path is easy to follow in summer, and there is also flagging along the way. Just as the trail reaches the subalpine it starts to level out a bit and veer south. Though the trail appears to continue straight here, keep a close eye for a bunch of flagging on your left, which leads east up the final steep section before gaining the ridge. This section has a few scrambly sections with minimal exposure, and the view will improve dramatically as you get to the top.

Once you reach the top, the route now begins heading north following the long ridge to the summit. There are some big bluffs early along the ridge on the western side, which can be heavily corniced if there is significant snow on the ridge and should be avoided. The views from all along the ridge are great,;to the east you can see across to the Coast Mountains on the mainland and on a clear day can even see Mt. Baker. In the summer there are some nice patches of alpine flowers up there as well. The summit stands at 1610m, and has a Cairn with a summit register to sign. If you climb across some of the giant boulders west of the cairn, you have a great view of Labour Day Lake and Indian Lake below. To the north, you look directly at Mt. Arrowsmith, and the Cameron Valley, with peaks from the Alberni Valley and Strathcona in the distance.

Overlooking Labour Day Lake - Mt Moriarty Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Overlooking Labour Day Lake
Lonny and Bryce at the Summit - Mt Moriarty Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Lonny and Bryce at the Summit
Fishing at Labour Day Lake - Mt Moriarty Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Fishing at Labour Day Lake
Mt Moriarty Map - Mt Moriarty Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Mt Moriarty Map


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