Mount Nkwala

Elevation Gain: 453m
Distance: 5.45km
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Date: June 1st, 2022

Mount Nkwala is a small 1019m peak just North of Penticton and located on a First Nations Reserve, but accessible to the public. I had just completed a summit of Border Lake Peak, near Eastgate with Steven, Elise and Phil and driven out to Penticton to meet up with a friend before their afternoon meeting. I was slated to head to Kelowna after, but the weather was perfect and I figured why not try and get some summit views somewhere. I was running on about 1 hour of sleep from this mornings trip, but with a healthy dose of coffee I found the energy to give Mount Nkwala a try. I found it on AllTrails after scanning around for something close by with a not too committing hike up.

I drove the ten minutes over the trail head that started at 600m, disposing with the majority of the elevation gain to the top. It’s a short hike, so I just brought one pole and a water bottled before I started along the well maintained trail. I was using the AllTrails GPS track initially, but I didn’t like the long meandering route it took to the reach the summit. The route called for a long switch back up to the 710m mark and then a more direct line up to the summit, but it seemed unnecessary. Thankfully near the lower section around 605m, I found a faint trail that appeared to go straight up the slope in a more direct line to the summit.

At the trail head
A few junctions here and there that necessitated watching the GPS more closely
Some cool features along the way
Now heading up that more direct trail. It was faint initially and became more established higher up
Here it’s faded out again

I followed it up and soon linked up with the more direct section. From here the trail had some loose rocks and dirt, but with a hiking pole it was straight forward. A few points along the way offered great views of Penticton and the steep section tapered off to a flattish bench at around 860m. From the bench I climbed up one more steep section of trail and then linked up with a service road at the top. I took the road the rest of the way to the top, where a set of comms towers lay in wait. The true summit was unoccupied thankfully and I hopped from high point to high point as it wasn’t clear which was the tallest.

Now linked up with trail as marked on the GPS recording I was using
Typical terrain on the upper section
Nice views just before the bench
Heading up the last steep stretch
Nice a flower field along the way! Not expected, but pleasantly surprised
Getting artsy
Looking back the last steep portion below the comms towers
A few more meters to go
On that service road with the comms towers at the top
Looking back from one of the true high points
A summit cairn watching over Penticton. I wasn’t convinced this was the highest bump so I walked along everything

After a very short rest, I descended my ascent path back to the bench and then continued along until 650m or so. There I got a bit off track and reconciled with my GPS to get back to the faint track. Once I rejoined with the trail it was an easy return to the truck. A super easy hike and I was happy to still have some energy to get out for one more set of views. I drove the rest of the way to Kelowna after and arrived just in time for dinner. A great day all around.

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