Sunday a small group of us pilled into my Delica and drove east past Hope for a snowshoe adventure. I didn’t intend to go so far for the first snowshoe of the year, but due to a severe lack of snow on all of the local Vancouver mountains, it was either here, or somewhere out near Squamish.
The trailhead for Zoa Peak is located at exit 221 (Falls Lake) on the Coquihalla Highway heading east out of Hope pretty close to the summit. As you take exit 221 take your first left which will lead you under the highway. On the other side of the highway, you can park on the side of the road, and start your hike in towards the Falls Lake parking lot. Just follow the road up until you get to the parking lot. Once at the parking lot continue up over the small creek towards the clearing with a fence. Now you have a choice:
- Follow that starts beside the fence going up the clearing, which is a bit steep but is the quickest route.
- Continue on the pipeline road until you see a small trail cut into the woods, which is the most moderate incline of routes.
- Keep following the pipeline road until it reaches an extremely steep switchback, and start your climb.
Unfortunately we forgot the instructions on how to get to Zoa, and ended up following the pipeline road until the steep switchback. It probably added a good couple kilometres to our snowshoe, and forced us to climb one extremely steep hill.
All threes paths converge on another pipeline road. Basically from this road you should find a marked trail leading up towards Zoa (however there will likely be many paths leading up). Take one you feel comfortable with or blaze a new trail. It is a little steep at first, but once you hit the alpine it will begin to level off and you will start to see some of the killer views of the mountains all around you (Nak, Yak and Zopkios will be the closest peaks, while in the distance across the highway you should be able to spot Needle Peak).
As you trudge a bit further up you will eventually get to the top of the smaller Zoa Peak. From here you can get some great 360 degree views of the peaks all around you and of Falls Lake below. This was where we stopped, broke for lunch, and decided to head back down to our car. If we hadn’t taken the long detour around on the pipeline road, we probably would have continue on via the ridge, down into the gulley and onto the second (and true) Zoa peak. I haven’t done it, but from what I have read, it is a nice trip down to do the hike to the second peak, then loop down to around to Falls Lake and out. Something to try on our next adventure up Zoa now that we know the proper way to get up!
Overall this is a good snowshoe for beginners, and a really fun and beautiful outing when there is no snow on the local mountains.
Here are a few additional photos from our Zoa Peak snowshoe adventure.