From Creston, Mt Thompson is the long, sheer wall that creates a dramatic barrier to the southeast. Hang gliders often launch from the lookout. A 5km long trail follows the crest. It has good wildflowers in season and views all year long. There’e no water along the trail. Very challenging road access.
Difficulty: A1 Easy
Elevation gain: 244m (800′)
Key elevations: TH 2138m (7013′); Trail’s end 2,180m (7150′).
Distance: 5km one-way
Time: 3-4 hours total
Season: July through October
Access: very challenging
Map: 82F/1 Yahk
Drive: Very steep, rough, high clearance, 4WD. Climbs from 680m (2230′) just outside Creston to 2138 (7011′) at the Mt Thompson communication towers.
From downtown Creston, drive east for 3km on Hwy 3 to Erickson Elementary School. Zero odometer.
0.0 Start east on Hwy 3
2km Turn right SE onto Canyon-Lister Road. Cross Goat River.
3km Go left on Whimster Road.
3.8km Angle left onto Mt Thompson Lookout FSR. Pavement ends and road deteriorates.
4.1km Three roads converge. Take middle one. 4.7km – go right; 5.5km – go left
7.8km Go right on a tight switchback beneath cliffs. 4WD may be necessary.
12.3km Curve right forking onto the larger road. 1838m (6030′). Ascend left on many switchbacks.
14.5km Mt Thompson communication towers. Pass them to reach the TH 2138m (7013′).
Trail: Walk generally south on the narrow, distinct “Rim Trail”. Many gentle ups and downs. At one hour, reach the first major bump 2060m 6757′. A steep ascent goes to a 2153m (7062′) bump. Finally ascend to the high point, a repeater cone, and trails’s end at 5km, 2,180m (7150′). Views are down to the Kootenay River as it snakes its way past Creston into Kootenay Lake.
What to do?
1. Continue south. The trail does not go past the high point. To cross to and climb the next bump on the ridge to the south, descend and then walk through open meadow and bushy game trails. A lake is below the saddle. The top is covered with trees and has no views. The north slope drops into Camp Run Creek drainage.
2. Walk the ridge to the east from the lookout. Good hiking too. Possible to camp at the lookout.