Mt Myra Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
- Distance: From parking lot to summit is about 8.5kms, with 1500m of elevation gain.
- Difficulty: From parking lot to Tennent lake is moderate. From Tennent Lake to summit is moderate/difficult.
- Hiking Time: About 2 hours one-way from parking lot to Tennent Lake. About 3 hours one-way from Tennent Lake to Summit.
- Camping Fees: None.
- How to get there: Take the island highway to Campbell River and turn onto Highway 28 (to Gold River). As you enter Strathcona Park and get to Buttle Lake, do not turn right towards Gold River. Instead, continue heading south along the east side of Buttle Lake to the very south end of Buttle Lake. After reaching the end of the lake, continue up to the Westmin Mine and drive through the mine to the parking lot at the end of the road.
- This trail is best between June and October but is also popular in winter. Be aware of snow levels and avalanche conditions in winter/spring.
- The weather can deteriorate quickly at higher elevations. Always dress appropriately and watch the weather carefully.
- Backcountry camping can be done at Tennent Lake or Sandbag Lake, but keep in mind there are no tent pads or outhouses. Please pack out what you pack in.
- There are no fires permitted in this area of Strathcona Park at any time of year.
- There is no cell service anywhere in this area, so make sure you leave a detailed trip report with someone in case you were to get into any trouble.
- Tennent Lake and Sanbag Lake are good sources of water, as well as many alpine tarns along the route to the summit. You may want to filter water from these sources.
- Tennent Lake and Sandbag Lake are great for swimming but very cold.
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Mt Myra is named after the daughter of Price Ellison, one of the early explorers of Strathcona Park whose expeditions helped lead to the creation of BC’s first provincial park. The mountain sits at the south end of Buttle Lake directly above the Wesmin Mine and provides some great view of the tallest peaks within Strathcona.
From the parking lot you start walking down a gated gravel road and will pass by the trailhead for Phillips Ridge and Upper Myra Falls before crossing a bridge over Tennent Creek. Right after the bridge you take the trail on your left, which leads through some great old-growth forest before heading up the mountainside. This is the remains of an old bulldozer road, and is by far the worst part of the hike. It is fairly steep and covered in loose rocks, which is not much fun on the way down after a long hike. The road eventually crosses a small bridge over Tennent Creek and then heads up alongside a ravine flowing out of the dam at the north end of Tennent Lake.
From the dam, the trail heads southeast over a small bluff to a flat area below Mt Myra’s west face. This area has many small trails weaving through it and it can be hard to stay on the correct one. The best way is to look for rock cairns that lead the way. From this flat area the trail takes you towards a large series of bluffs that lead onto Myra’s ridge (see photo). There is a bushy gully that you need to climb to gain the ridge that can be quite wet and slippery. Once on top, the trail comes to a very important junction where you want to turn left (see photo). Going straight will take you towards Mt. Thelwood.
After a bit more elevation gain you arrive at Sandbag Lake. This is an amazing alpine tarn with beautifully coloured water when not frozen and a great place for a swim on the way down on a hot day. It would also be a great place to camp, with spectacular views to the west. From Sandbag Lake the trail continues up the ridge following a worn trail and rock cairns to a spot just below and south of the false summit. From here you basically head north towards a col just below the main summit. The trail from the Col to the summit leads up a steep and somewhat exposed gully (see photo). Once at the top of the gully it is fairly straightforward hiking up a rocky slope to the summit at an elevation of 1810m.
On a clear day it is a fairly spectacular view in all directions, and you may need to walk around the summit to get better views of certain areas. To the north you can see Phillips Ridge and the route to the Golden Hinde. Looking west provides views down to Sandbag and Tennent Lake, and to the southwest you see the massive glacier on Mariner Mountain. To the east you can see Flower Ridge rising up above Buttle Lake leading towards Mt Septimus and Big Interior.
Mt Myra Trail map
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