Suzanne and I finally made the hike up Saddle Mountain near Nakusp on the Arrow Lakes. The drive to Nakusp over the Monashee’s from the Okanagan is always a treat (but not if your passenger is tired and trying to sleep!). The winding road over the summit is always fun to drive and view wildlife as you zoom by. Then the free Needles ferry ride over the Arrow Lakes allows you to relax after dodging all the dear, bear and squirrels.
How to get to Saddle Mountain Lookout Trail:
From Nakusp, travel southwest on Highway 6 toward Burton for 21 kms. You will see a turn lane and a sign that says “Arrow Park” before you need to turn.
Take the Arrow Park cable ferry across the lake, making note of return crossing times.
Turn right and follow the 2wd Saddle Mountain Road for 9 km. This road is filled with pot holes. Turn left onto Lookout Road, marked with a brown, wooden signpost, and follow the rough 2wd road for 8 km to the Branch 75 fork (GPS P ). Park to the side, as the road is well used. The trailhead is 20m further up the road right behind the sign that says Saddle Back Lookout Trail.
The Trail is located exactly at the sign. If you follow the forest service road past the sign, you can drive over the top of small brush and through a couple road deactivations for about 2 km and at the end of that road you can park and walk about 15 meters through the trees located at the end of the road and be on the main trail up the mountain. If you do take that short cut, you will cut off 1. 3 km. I suggest that you walk the entire trail from the trail head though because the cedar grove and surrounding flora and fauna is absolutely gourgeous.
The Trail distance one way is 5.3 km and the return trip should take about 5 hours for an average hiker but could be done a lot quickler.
After we conquered Saddle Back, we headed to Halcyon hotsprings between Nakusp and Galena Bay and paid $30!!!! to get a pass for a swim which included towels and a loonie for the locker lock. We had hoped to stay the night but did not pre book so were out of luck. This trip is a great way to start the fall hiking season!
After I wrote the above trip plan in 2009, clouds moved in and we canceled our trip since the whole purpose is to enjoy the incredible view from the summit of Saddleback. (the name is officially Saddle Mtn but ever since I was a kid living in Nakusp I have only heard folks call it Saddleback)
So, five years later we are doing the hike, so far only my wife and I will be going up, see you there Saturday morning on Oct 4th!