“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like Autumn leaves.”
― John Muir,
Mount Bowman dominates the views of the Jesmond Valley for about 40 kilometres. Mature, broad and hefty, its peak is often covered in snow in late June. At over 7300 feet, it is the highest mountain for a good stretch--and so, for anyone who loves the outdoors and a physical challenge, a climb to the summit is a siren call they can't resist.
Surprisingly, Mount Bowman is easily accessible and a hike to the summit may be done by most hikers in a 7 hour return day trip. The Bowman trail is not officially maintained, however, in summer local volunteers, residents and hiking clubs often pitch in to keep the trail marked and clear of dead fall and debris. Our neighbour, The Circle H Ranch, is a great place to access the trail head. Introduce yourself to the friendly Care Takers for permission to cross their land and ask to be shown how to access the trail by way of a cross country ski route which crosses the power line's clear cut to enter the forest.
From here, the trail is a moderate 4 kilometre hike, gradually climbing uphill alongside a creek until you reach a camp site at the trail junction. The eastward trail continues on to Kicking Horse Ridge and Mount Kerr, while the northern trail (on your left) turns abruptly to follow a stream up hill. This is the Mount Bowman Trail and it is marked with pink ribbons and trail blazers on trees to help you find your way.
The trail climbs alongside the limestone infused creek through forests, passes the established 'Bowman Camp Site', and then reaches an open and wet meadow. At this point, hikers are rewarded with their first clear view of the mountain's eastern face and summit. In early summer, the meadow is full of wildflowers such as Jacob's ladder, Fireweed, Columbine and Tiger lilies. Continuing to climb, the trail reaches a dazzling ridge line, consisting of a dry meadow plateau situated above tree line. Views of the surrounding Marble Mountains and valleys are stunning. There are several camp-sites here, some amongst the trees which provide a wind break and others are out in the open.
To gain the summit, follow the trail to the highest point of the meadow. The trail proceeds up the steep scree slope and becomes more steep and technical. Be on the lookout for pink ribbons which mark the most efficient way up. Be wary of mistaking natural scree shoots for the trail as they will lead you astray.
Nearing the top you pass the tree line and from here the trail to the summit is marked by rock cairns. At the summit you will be able to see the entire Marble Mountain range, the Fraser River and beyond to the often snow covered mountains of the Chilcotin, the Cayoosh and Shlaps. The Ridge line of the summit is worth exploration, so plan to spend a good hour or more at the top.
The trails of the Marble Range are rough and steep, not maintained and only very infrequently patrolled. Please practice “Leave No Trace”and carry enough water for the duration of your trip. All hikers and mountain bikers are advised to plan ahead, prepare accordingly and travel at their own risk.