Mount Saint Benedict
ElevationAscent: 3,290' 1,003 m
Descent: -3,290' -1,003 m
High: 4,163' 1,269 m
Low: 873' 266 m
GradeAvg Grade: 17% (10°)
Max Grade: 65% (33°)
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“Enjoy a great trail for nearly all seasons, with panoramic views from the peak of Mount Saint Benedict.”— Tony Redford
This trail is great for the summer and fall, and can be snowshoed in winter and spring, as there is little to no avalanche risk.
The first section of the trail (Mount St. Benedict Trail - South) is well-groomed and marked, and it connects you to another forest service road (Murdo Creek Forest Service Road). This road goes for another 1.7 km to where it meets the trail again. Turn left onto the forest service road and follow it upwards, ignoring any branches to the right. You'll pass another small, recently logged area to the right. After about 30 minutes of uphill, the road becomes less steep. Watch carefully on the right-hand side of the road for trail markers. The junction is not obvious, and it can be missed. If you find yourself at the creek, you went too far along the road.
The trail leaves the forest service road before Murdo Creek and continues uphill through second-growth forest. After roughly half an hour of hiking up this trail, you'll emerge at McKay Lake. This small but beautiful lake lies at the foot of a tall cliff beneath Mount St. Benedict. The trail skirts around the lake to the left for a few paces before it hits the point where Murdo Creek drains out of the lake. Several logs have dammed the mouth of the lake, which you must hike across before continuing up the trail.
Now the trail leaves the lake and quickly becomes very steep. It climbs straight up through the forest to a saddle between Mount St. Benedict and a peak to the north. From here, you get your first glimpse into the neighboring valley to the east (presumably with Cascade Creek at the bottom). The trail now leads to the right along a ridge and flattens out to a pond and very small meadow at the base of another steep cliff. The final peak of Mount St. Benedict looms overhead. The trail leads to the left of the pond, and curls around the side of the cliff, climbing to the top of Mount St. Benedict.
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