Town hitz!! The Mt. MacPherson fingers alpine touring trailhead is a quick 10 minute drive from Revelstoke, making it a super convenient yet epical day in the mountains! You can have a lazy start and still be back home to do your Sunday afternoon vacuuming 😉 Take note, although Mt. MacPherson is mellow by Revelstoke standards, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Experience skiing powder and avalanche safety training are musts and if you are new to ski touring, start with a test run at one of the nearby backcountry cross country skiing spots where it is typical to see people on touring setups testing out their gear, taking their dog for a walk or just getting out for some fresh air.
Back to the town hitz! Start on skis/split board from the plowed nordic skiing parking lot, see driving directions below. There is a fee to park here to offset the cost of plowing the lot and maintaining the nordic trails that are key for touring access, if you’re not into that then find a spot to pull off the highway and get bushwhacking – good luck with that!
Take a quick look at the nordic trail map at the lodge if you want to see the nordic trails you will be using. Head uphill from the lodge on ‘Main Loop’. There are a few trail junctions near the lodge, just check the sign blades to make sure you stay on ‘Main Loop’. After the first little uphill evens out, one side of the trail is set aside just for ski tourers and split boarders, how sweet is that?!! Just past the yellow 1km distance marker on ‘Main Loop’, hang a left onto ‘Mountain Climb’ trail. There is a little kiosk at this junction with avalanche terrain rating info. After a short distance you will reach another trail junction, carry on straight, following signs for ‘Fingers Aceess’, to come to a creek with a bridge over it. After crossing the bridge you will start up an old skid road that is the access and collector trail for all the alpine touring runs on the mountain.
Mt. MacPherson is your oyster! There are so many different route options, the five primary ones are the Fingers, the Womb, the Summit, Burnt Knob, and Fuzzy Knob – check out the marked up photo below. There are two primary up tracks, one is in the forest just below the Fingers to access the first three options, the other one is a significant distance further along the skid trail to access Burnt Knob and Fuzzy Knob. The Fingers are avalanche paths! However, if you use your avy skilz, they are a great fun option and the quickest to reach.
From where the skin track leaves the skid road (GPS coordinates below), it is about an hour to get to the top of the Fingers. Keep the creek on your right and stay in the trees for avy protection. The Womb and the Summit share the same up track as the Fingers before gaining the ridge above the Fingers and traversing towards the summit, and get a bit more serious! To reach Burnt Knob and Fuzzy Knob, go another HOUR (2.5km) further up the skid road from the Fingers up track start, you finally reach the up track for both Burnt Knob and Fuzzy Knob. The up track goes right between the middle of the two, with Burnt Knob on looker’s left and Fuzzy Knob on looker’s right. Still ANOTHER 1.5-2 hours of skinning up from here! Once you reach the top of the gully, make your pick for Burnt or Fuzzy. In both cases you continue by traversing a bit further to reach the ideal drop in spots. In total it will be about 4 hours of skinning! The Burnt Knob is much steeper and serious than it looks! The Fuzzy Knob has great mellower terrain.
RAD adventure tip: this is a super popular spot for alpine touring! Start mega early to beat the crowds and score the fresh tracks!
Cost: parking fee for the nordic trailhead ($6)
When to go: early December to early April, with stable avalanche conditions and fresh POW
Trip rating: B3-C3
Access: from Revelstoke, drive South on Hwy 23S. After about five minutes of highway driving, you will see a green highway sign indicating Mt. MacPherson Trails 400m ahead. There is a big green sign for Mt. MacPherson Trails hanging in a timber frame at the entrance to the parking lot.
Check out the Fingers page on Backcountry Skiing Canada for more terrain details.
- Nordic parking lot: N50° 56.592′ W118° 13.336′
- Fingers, Womb and Summit uptrack start from skid trail: N50° 56.482′ W118° 14.329′
- Burnt Knob and Fuzzy Knob uptrack start from skid trail: N50° 57.378′ W118° 15.684′