Stone Mountain Provincial Park is 87 miles (140 km) west of Fort Nelson along the Alaska Hwy. Much of the park lies in the alpine tundra biogeoclimatic zone, which means that trees are scarce and mountains of little more than solid rock reach for the sky. The contrast with the rolling, tree-covered foothills farther south is startling.
Summit Lake Provincial Campground is located on the Alaska Hwy inside Stone Mountain Provincial Park. This is one of the most exposed campgrounds in the province and also one of the most beautifully situated. All sites sit within open view of each other, the highway, and the surrounding smooth summits of the Stone Mountain Range. The campground is located just north of the highest point of elevation on the Alaska Hwy (4,249 feet/1295 m), and also just north of one of the last remaining sections of unpaved highway. If you’ve been travelling north, this is a good place to pull off and relax. If you’re here around sunset, the sight of the Stone Mountains reflected on the lake’s surface is mesmerizing. (Note: There are three Summit Lakes in northeastern British Columbia: one near Prince George, another near Pine Pass between Prince George and Dawson Creek, and this one. Don’t confuse the three; they are separated by many miles of highway.) The park is open from May to September and fees are collected during this time.
The defining feature of Stone Mountain Provincial Park is the mountains: great humps of raw stone rising from the valleys below, where only the barest plant life, lichen, grasses, moss, survive. You wouldn’t expect to find much in the way of wildlife here, and in truth, you won’t find much on the bare slopes. But the valleys are a different matter. Mountain caribou and Stone sheep winter in some of the lower valleys, and mountain goats, moose, and grizzly and black bears also frequent the valleys. A number of bird species live in the park, none more magnificent than the golden eagle. Watch for Stone sheep beside the Alaska Hwy between here and Liard River Hotsprings.
Plan on 7 to 14 days to complete a 44-mile (70-km) loop through the headwaters of MacDonald Creek and the adjacent Wokkpash Provincial Recreation Area. Much of the route follows well-trodden game trails laid down by caribou but adhered to by all, as attested to by the wide variety of scat encountered along the way. A horse trail (moderate; 30 miles/50 km return) follows the north side of MacDonald Creek from the trailhead at Mile 400 (Km 645) on the Alaska Hwy.
Hoodoos in the Wokkpash Gorge are one of the scenic features at the 7.5-mile (12-km) point along this route. Other highlights in Wokkpash include Forlorn Gorge, an 80-foot (25-m)-wide, 490-foot (150-m)-deep canyon, whose steep-sided slopes should be attempted only with great caution.
As well as offering tremendous wilderness hiking for the experienced backpacker, Stone Mountain Provincial Park also features several shorter hiking trails more suited to a quick day trip. These include the Summit Peak Trail (strenuous; 6 miles/10 km return) and the Flower Springs Lake Trail (moderate; 7 miles/12 km return), to an alpine lake sublimely situated in the folds of the Stone Mountains. Both trailheads are well marked and begin from pullouts on the east side of Hwy 97.
Stone Mountain Provincial Park is located 140 km west of Fort Nelson along the Alaska Highway.
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