The hills above Lions Head are a surprisingly pleasing area to hike. There are many rock-faced hills one above the other with open forest and grassy slopes between. There were a few mostly-dry ponds in sheltered pockets. We started our hike on a side road that follows the transmission lines north up the hill, working our way up to get above private lands below.
We were prepared to bushwack our way up through the hills, but we found trails all the way up to the top of the hills at 2800 feet. The trails are there, but hikers must stay alert and make some route-finding decisions.
After 4 km of climbing, we picked an open hilltop for lunch in the sun. Martin Mountain dominated the skyline to the south with a mantle of November snow in front of the sun. The hills to the north continued on towards McGregor Hill above Pinantan.
The Lions Head Hills are Crown Land, but there are some private lands close to Shuswap Road and just off McNulty Road to the north. That leaves about 20 square kilometers of hiking in between (with some ingenuity a 12- 15 km loop can be done). We saw little evidence of cattle grazing in the area, but if cattle are encountered, respect grazing rights by steering around them, closing gates (we didn’t see any), and observing any posted signage.
There are potential routes all along this long ridge from Lafarge to the grasslands by the transmission lines, an area 10km in an east-west line and an average of 2km in a north south direction. North of McNulty Road there are also large sections of Crown land all the way to the Pinantan Road and beyond too, but anyone wanting to explore should check land status maps and watch for fences and signage, especially next to McNulty Road.
The hills have been subject to a lot of beetle kill and some small areas of lightning-caused fires so fallen trees are the norm. We found it quite reasonable for hikers but it would be problematic for mountain bikers and motorized vehicles.
We will explore this area again in the spring so watch for a new article at that time.