Mount Trudeau, Valemount
A friend of mine first took me up this trail many years ago and I fell in love with the location. It’s a beautiful sub-alpine meadow with lush forest, towering waterfalls, and utter tranquillity. Rarely will you catch another person on the trail, and access to the meadow is relatively quick.
I’ve hiked this trail more times than I can count yet I am still infatuated with the area. A few years ago we got separated from our dog and spent an entire week hiking the trail on a daily basis trying to bring him home. Since he is epileptic and medicated for his epilepsy, I was so worried about him, but on day 6 he was found by a couple of tourists, and while he was certainly a little skinnier, he was in perfect health.
Most recently I was able to share this beautiful hike with my daughter and her friends, but as mother nature is unpredictable we did end up getting caught in a thunderstorm complete with thunder, lightening, and hail. The kids were confident and sure-footed despite having to walk through streams and the trail flooding. They sang their way down the mountain while my dog cowered between my legs continuously tripping me as I tried to navigate the steep muddy slope.
The trailhead is located approximately 14 kilometres down an unpaved forest service road. The road is in fantastic shape and 4x4 is not required. The trail begins with a small incline to a creek crossing that requires you to balance on a log or walk through the cold water. After the creek the incline increases and the climb begins. This whole section can get quite muddy, especially after a heavy rainfall.
Just when you wonder if you’re going to be staggering up this steep incline for the rest of your life or if there is actually ever going to be any payoff, the forest spits you out into a beautiful meadow. While undeniably wet, the walk from here on out is relatively flat. The trail peeks in and out of the trees and if you don’t keep track of the flags, it’s easy to lose your bearings. Keep on going because pretty soon you will reach the first lake. I want to say this is a good lunch spot, but if the mosquitos are out in full force, they may deter you.
After lunch you can either return to your truck or scramble up the face to reach a stunning plateau. Be aware though that there is no trail from here, it is an actual hands and knees scramble to get past the first lake. I don’t recommend going on a wet day as the vegetation becomes quite slippery. Hiking poles and waterproof hiking shoes with good grip are invaluable. My preferred route of choice is looker’s left. Once you reach the first plateau you will be able to bask in the glorious views. It is also possible to continue up to the second plateau. Looker’s left has a plateau dotted with wildflowers while the plateau on looker’s right is blessed with a second series of lakes. Once again this is a hands and knees scramble that I only recommend to experienced hikers.
Return distance to meadow: 6.4 km
Time required: 4-6 hours to meadow including the drive from Valemount to trailhead
Elevation Gain: 1400 ft
For Kids: I would say 8 & up strong hikers can manage the hike to the meadow.
What to bring: All the usual hiking & safety gear (first aid kit, emergency supplies, rain coat, extra layers, lunch & snacks) plus hiking poles to navigate the creek crossings and steep sections; waterproof hiking shoes with strong ankle support; long pants and sleeves due to the various swarms of mosquitos that frequent the area; and a camera of course!
For more info visit Valemount Trails.
If you want to continue past the meadow, I recommend an early start as it is a full day adventure. I would not suggest bringing a child beyond the meadow.